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Quotations on Liberty

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1774 July. (A Summary View of the Rights of British America) "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time."[1]

1775 June 26-July 6. (Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms) "Our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty."[2]

1776 July 4. (Declaration of Independence) "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."[3]

1787 Nov. 13. (to W. S. Smith) "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure."[4]

1789 Mar. 24. (to Joseph Willard) "We have spent the prime of our lives in procuring [young men] the precious blessing of liberty. Let them spend theirs in shewing that it is the great parent of science and of virtue; and that a nation will be great in both always in proportion as it is free."[5]

1791 Dec. 23. (to Archibald Stuart) "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."[6]

1811 Mar. 28. (to William Duane) "The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us. We ought, for so dear a state to sacrifice every attachment and every enmity."[7]

1820 Dec. 26. (to Marquis de Lafayette) "The disease of liberty is catching; those armies will take it in the south, carry it thence to their own country, spread there the infection of revolution and representative government, and raise its people from the prone condition of brutes to the erect altitude of man."[8]

1820 Oct. 20. (to Richard Rush) "The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave."[9]

1826 Jun. 24. (to Roger Weightman) "The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God."[10]


  1. PTJ, 1:135.
  2. Ibid, 1:215.
  3. Ibid, 1:429.
  4. Ibid, 12:356.
  5. Ibid, 14:699.
  6. Ibid, 22:436.
  7. Ford, 11:193.
  8. Ibid, 12:190.
  9. L&B, 15:283.
  10. Peterson,Writings, 1517.

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