Quotes on Freedom

Liberty vs. Safety

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)

"Eternal Vigilance"

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" is often misattributed to Jefferson or Franklin, but it is in fact simply a popular saying that probably originated with the following:

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. 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."

- John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election (1790)

Fighting for Freedom

Better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees.

- Dolores Ibarruri (1936)

Churchill on Fighting for Rights

Still if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

- Winston Churchill

Where Freedom Comes From

Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be.

- James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My name (1961)

U.N. View of Rights

These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

- UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 29(3)