Quotes about Freedom and Liberty

Most popular freedom quotes

The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall.  He frees himself and shows the way to others.  Freedom and slavery are mental states.

Indian independence movement slavery

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be.
It's no trick to support the free speech of somebody you agree with or to whose opinion you are indifferent. The defense of free speech begins at the point when people say something you can't stand.

freedom of speech

Freedom is the right to choose the habits that bind you.


In a free state, tongues too should be free.

freedom of speech

I am a lover of my own liberty and so I would do nothing to restrict yours.
What is freedom of expression?  Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.

censorship freedom of speech

Freedom is not enough.
He who is brave is free.
Freedom lies in being bold.
Man is condemned to be free.
Freedom always entails danger.
Freedom belongs to the strong.
A hungry man is not a free man.


Freedom is a hard-bought thing.
Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.
Freedom means choosing your burden.
Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.


Freedom is a rare and delicate plant.
Every law is an infraction of liberty.
Freedom to reject is the only freedom.
Free is not the same as free and easy.
They have rights who dare defend them.
There is no such thing as part freedom.
Better starve free than be a fat slave.
Let freedom never perish in your hands.
Freedom is the last, best hope of earth.
So free we seem, so fettered fast we are!
Better to starve free than be a fat slave.
The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.
— Graffiti

ideas open-mindedness

That sweet bondage which is freedom's self.
No man is free who is not master of himself.


No one worth possessing can be quite possessed.


Him that I love, I wish to be free—even from me.


Liberty is a different kind of pain from prison.
We gain freedom when we have paid the full price.
The function of freedom is to free somebody else.


Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.


You have freedom when you're easy in your harness.
You can cage a bird, but you cannot make him sing.
— Jewish proverb

Jewish proverbs proverbs

The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree.
Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen.
Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves.
Life without liberty is like a body without spirit.
The blindness of spirit prevents us from being free.


Good government is no substitute for self-government.


Most people want security in this world, not liberty.


The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.
No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.
After you get your freedom, your enemy will respect you.
We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
Liberty: One of Imagination's most precious possessions.
We are in bondage to the law in order that we may be free.


Your liberty to swing your arms ends where my nose begins.
Genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom.

genius individuality

I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.


We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.


This is the struggle of every person: be free or be a slave.


Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong.
Liberty means responsibility.  That is why most men dread it.


It's a poor kind of man that won't fight for his own freedom.
We know the road to freedom has always been stalked by death.


Caged birds accept each other but flight is what they long for.
The enemies of Freedom do not argue; they shout and they shoot.
Liberty is always dangerous—but it is the safest thing we have.
I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.
The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.


Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches.
Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.
Too little liberty breeds stagnation, and too much brings chaos.
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.
Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.


The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself.


For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?
The censor's sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression.

censorship freedom of speech

Liberty is obedience to the law which one has laid down for oneself.
The tree of liberty only grows when watered by the blood of tyrants.
We, the free, must set about our unfinished tasks of freeing others.
Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.
We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.
The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.
In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.
Liberty is the one thing no man can have unless he grants it to others.
Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.


Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you give it to others.
We have to call it 'freedom': who'd want to die for 'a lesser tyranny'?
Order without liberty and liberty without order are equally destructive.


You cannot be free with your opinion if you are not free with your time.
Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.
Freedom comes from human beings, rather than from laws and institutions.
A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.
We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.
Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.


A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty
Is worth a whole eternity in bondage.
A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you.
The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of government power.

government regulations

History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
Freedom is not constituted primarily of privileges but of responsibilities.
Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.
For every man who lives without freedom, the rest of us must face the guilt.
Freedom always carries a burden of proof, always throws us back on ourselves.
To be free, you must be the customer, except of course in times of shortages.
You become free when there is no distinction between journey and destination.
My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
The History of the World is nothing but the development of the Idea of Freedom.


Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.
We feel free when we escape—even if it be but from the frying pan into the fire.
Liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is slavery.
The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power.
A man is either free or he is not. There cannot be any apprenticeship for freedom.
It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.
The vile habits often acquired in a state of servitude, are not easily thrown off.
Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.


Freedom has a thousand charms to show,
That slaves, howe'er contented, never know.
I grew up like a neglected weed - ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it.

African-Americans personal slavery

If everything would be permitted to me, I would feel lost in this abyss of freedom.
Freedom has a thousand charms to show, 
That slaves, howe'er contented, never know.
The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression.
Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others.


The love of liberty is the love of others. The love of power is the love of ourselves.


The oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed. You have to work for it.

civil rights movement

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.


Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.


Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.
Freedom suppressed and again regained bites with keener fangs than freedom never endangered.
Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.

desire self-control

You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.
One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.

oppression society

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
Either we must attain freedom for the whole world or there will be no world left for any of us.
We anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves.
If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Power is so apt to be insolent and Liberty to be saucy, that they are very seldom upon good terms.


Nations grown corrupt ... Love bondage more than liberty; Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty.
To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one's freedom.
Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.
Free discussion that was the 'only necessary Constitution—the only necessary Law to the Constitution.
A country free enough to examine its own conscience is a land worth living in, a nation to be envied.
In order to be free I must not believe anything. Then all things can be freely commanded in the mind.


A Country can get more real joy out of just Hollering for their Freedom than they can if they get it.
When the People contend for their liberty, they seldom get anything for their Victory but new Masters.
Freedom is man's capacity to take a hand in his own development.  It is our capacity to mold ourselves.
Those who expect to reap the blessing of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.


No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.

abortion feminism women

Liberty unregulated by law degenerates into anarchy, which soon becomes the most horrid of all despotism.
Freedom is a powerful animal that fights the barriers, and sometimes makes people wish for higher fences.
Freedom is that instant between when someone tells you to do something and when you decide how to respond.
You cannot tear up ancient rootages and safely plant the tree of liberty in soil which is not native to it.
The freer and more transparent a society, the more you will hear complaints about freedom and transparency.


Liberty is the soul's right to breathe, and, when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight.

law proverbs

Freedom never yet was given to nations as a gift, but only as a reward, bravely earned by one's own exertions.


Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want rain without thunder and lightning.


The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.


Perfect freedom is as necessary to the health and vigour of commerce as it is to the health and vigour of citizenship.
In fact, a fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right to property.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom: it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.


To be what no one ever was,
To be what everyone has been:
Freedom is the mean of those
Extremes that fence all effort in.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  It is its natural manure.
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
There are two freedoms—the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought.
You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free.
No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.
There are two freedoms: the false where a man is free to do what he likes; the true where a man is free to do what he ought.


For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
It seems almost incredible that the advocates of liberty should conceive of the idea of selling a fellow creature to slavery.
Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one's liberty.


I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.

abolition African-Americans slavery

Most men, after a little freedom, have preferred authority with the consoling assurances and the economy of effort which it brings.


We are free, truly free, when we don't need to rent our arms to anybody in order to be able to lift a piece of bread to our mouths.
Freedom is not won on the battlefields. The chance for freedom is won there. The final battle is won or lost in our hearts and minds.
Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil.

civil rights movement

Intellectual liberty is the air of the soul, the sunshine of the mind, and without it, the world is a prison, the universe is a dungeon.
Freedom is not a gift received from a State or a leader but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and the union of all.
Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.
As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.

oppression society

We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights.
Liberty will not descend to a people, a people must raise themselves to liberty, it is a blessing that must be earned before it can be enjoyed.
The cause of freedom, of the defense of man's conscience, is indivisible. By defending it in one country, we defend it everywhere in the world.
Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.
I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.

abolition African-Americans slavery

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.


I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.  And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

extremism justice moderation

Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.
— Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight.
Liberty . . . is the delicate fruit of a mature civilization; and scarcely a century has passed since nations that knew the meaning of the term resolved to be free.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

adversity attitude choice hopeful positive

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.
We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.


Freedom is the basis of all happiness. Without freedom, there is no happiness. This means freedom from despair, freedom from resentment, freedom from jealousy and fear.

buddhist happiness

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom, and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.
If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.


The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way Get all the details, meaning, context, and even a pretentious factor for good measure.
I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
Religious freedom should work two ways: we should be free to practice the religion of our choice, but we must also be free from having someone else's religion practiced on us.
I, who wish to be free, cannot be so, because around me are men who do not yet desire freedom, and, not desiring it, become, as opposed to me, the instruments of my oppression.
There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
Money is coined liberty, and so it is ten times dearer to the man who is deprived of freedom. If money is jingling in his pocket, he is half consoled, even though he cannot spend it.


We only want that which is given naturally, to all peoples of the world, to be masters of our own fate, only of our fate, not of others, and in cooperation and friendship with others.
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed—else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.
Liberty has never come from Government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.
The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.


It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.


Liberty is the only idea which circulates with the human blood, in all ages, in all countries, and in all literature—liberty that is, and what cannot be separated from liberty, a love of country.
You are free if everything you say in private (about public matters) can be made public. You reach the apex of freedom if everything you think in private (about public matters) can be made public.
Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.

conscience happiness health

Liberty is the possibility of doubting, of making a mistake ... of searching and experimenting ... of saying No to any authority—literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, social, and even political.
Where opinions, morals and politics are concerned, there is no such thing as objectivity. The best we can hope for is that freedom will enable subjective points of view to meet and complement each other.

morals objectivity opinions politics

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
My people had used music to soothe slavery's torment or to propitiate God, or to describe the sweetness of love and the distress of lovelessness, but I knew no race could sing and dance its way to freedom.

African-Americans slavery

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
What do men need in order to remain free?  A taste for freedom.  Do not ask me to analyze that sublime taste; it can only be felt.  It has a place in every heart which God has prepared to receive it; it fills and inflames it.
A good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls 'turn-key totalitarianism'.

future technology

The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it's a belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.

ideas open-mindedness

Liberty is the possibility of doubting, the possibility of making a mistake, the possibility of searching and experimenting, the possibility of saying "No" to any authority—literary, artistic, philosophic, religious, social, and even political.
My technique, which I recommend to you, is don't believe anything. If you believe in something, you are automatically precluded from believing its opposite. Therefore you have given up a portion of your freedom, and freedom is the dearest thing we've got.


Many politicians are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim.
Freedom is never given to anybody. For the oppressor has you in domination because he plans to keep you there, and he never voluntarily gives it up. And that is where the strong resistance comes. Privileged classes never give up their privileges without strong resistance.

civil rights movement

"Liberty" sounds awkward on the Canadian tongue; we use "freedom," a more passive-sounding word. When I was a soldier applying for a three-day pass, I asked for "leave," a word that suggests permission. United States G.I.'s were granted "liberty," a word that implies escape.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Here is my advice as we begin the century that will lead to 2081. First, guard the freedom of ideas at all costs. Be alert that dictators have always played on the natural human tendency to blame others and to oversimplify. And don't regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with to free, public, unhampered expression.
The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.
Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying down as self-evident the proposition that no people ought to be free until they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who had resolved not to go in the water until he had learnt to swim. If men are to wait for liberty until they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait for ever.


Real happiness cannot exist when we are not free. Burdened by so many ambitions, we are not able to be free. We are always grasping at something; there are so many things we want to do at the same time, and that is why we do not have the time to live. We think that the burdens we carry are necessary for our happiness, that if they are taken from us we will suffer. However, if we look more closely, we shall see that the things at which we grasp, the things that keep us constantly busy, are in fact obstacles to our being happy.

buddhist happiness letting go

We should be free to experience the happiness that just comes to us without our having to seek it. If you are a free person, happiness can come over you just like that! Look at the moon. It travels in the sky completely free, and this freedom produces beauty and happiness. I am convinced that happiness is not possible unless it is based on freedom. If you are a free woman, if you are a free man, you will enjoy happiness. But if you are a slave, even if only the slave of an idea, happiness will be very difficult for you to achieve. That is why you should cultivate freedom, including freedom from your own concepts and ideas. Let go of your ideas, even if abandoning them is not easy.

buddhist happiness letting go