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Quotes on Liberty / Freedom

The Pledge of Allegiance is Born when a Boston Magazine Published the Words for Youth to Repeat on Columbus Day

The Boston based "The Youth's Companion" magazine published a few words for students to repeat on Columbus Day that year. Written by Francis Bellamy, the circulation manager and native of Rome, New York, and reprinted on thousands of leaflets, was sent out to public schools across the country. On October 12, 1892, the quadricentennial of Columbus' arrival, more than 12 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance, thus beginning a required school-day ritual. At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June 14, 1923, a change was made. For clarity, the words "the Flag of the United ...
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Abraham Lincoln’s Delivers his Gettysburg Address

On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner referred to the most famous speech ever given by President Abraham Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called the Gettysburg Address a "monumental act." He said Lincoln was mistaken that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." Rather, the Bostonian remarked, "The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech." There are five known copies of the speech in Lincoln's handwriting, each with a slightly different text, and named ...
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Daniel Webster: “Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from… the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness & negligence.”

"I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe ... Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger." Daniel Webster, June 1, 1837 ...
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John C Calhoun’s Fort Hill Address

The idea that states have a constitutional right to nullify or veto acts of Congress gained ground with many Americans in the 1820s. One of the most influential and articulate defenses of the doctrine of nullification came from  John C. Calhoun, Senator from South Carolina and Andrew Jackson’s Vice President. Calhoun’s Fort Hill Address set the stage for South Carolina’s nullification of the federal tariffs the following year. President Jackson publicly refuted Calhoun’s arguments and brought a swift end to South Carolina’s threats of secession. Calhoun’s theory of nullification, however, became fact in the minds of many Americans and contributed to the ...
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James Madison: “There are More Instances of the Abridgment of Freedom… by Gradual & Silent Encroachments of Those in Power than by Violent and Sudden Usurpations.”

James Madison (1751-1836) helped frame the Bill of Rights, member of the Continental Congress and rapporteur at the Constitutional Convention in 1776 and 4th President of the United States: In an address to the Virginia Convention he said: 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." A major new biography of the fourth president of the United States by New York Times bestselling author Lynne Cheney Lin-Manuel Miranda's play "Hamilton" has reignited interest in the founding fathers; it features ...
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George Washington: “It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the delegates from so many different states should unite in forming a system of national Government”

In a letter from Washington to Lafayette on 7 Feb. 1788: “It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the delegates from so many different states (which states you know are also different from each other in their manners, circumstances, and prejudices) should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well-founded objections.” - quoted in Catherine Drinker Bowen, Miracle at Philadelphia, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1966, p. xvii. It was a miracle. Consider the setting. The thirteen colonies and three and one-half million Americans who had won independence from the ...
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Samuel Adams: “While the People are Virtuous They Cannot be Subdued; but Once They Lose Their Virtue They Will be Ready to Surrender Their Liberties”

Samuel Adams, in a letter to James Warren: A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader ...
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John Adams: “Posterity! You Will Never Know, How Much it Cost the Present Generation, to Preserve Your Freedom! I Hope You Will Make a Good Use of It.”

Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, Saturday Evening 26 April 1777 I have been lately more remiss, than usual in Writing to you. There has been a great Dearth of News. Nothing from England, nothing from France, Spain, or any other Part of Europe, nothing from the West Indies. Nothing from Howe, and his Banditti, nothing from General Washington. There are various Conjectures that Lord How is dead, sick, or gone to England, as the Proclamations run in the Name of Will. Howe only, and nobody from New York can tell any Thing of his Lordship. I am wearied ...
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John Adams: “…It is Religion and Morality Alone, Which can Establish the Principles upon which Freedom can Securely Stand.”

Letter to Zabdiel Adams (21 June 1776) My dear Sir, Philadelphia June 21.1776 Your Favour of the Ninth of this Month was delivered to me,(1) Yesterday by Mr. Whitney, whose Health I hope will be fully restored by the Small Pox for which he was innoculated the day before. Your Letter, Sir, gave me great Pleasure and deserves my most hearty Thanks. I am fully with you in Sentiment, that altho the Authority of the Congress founded as it has been, in Reason, Honour, and the Love of Liberty, has been sufficient to govern the Colonies, in a tolerable ...
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Thomas Jefferson: “We are Reduced to the Alternative of Choosing an Unconditional Submission to Tyranny, or Resistance by Force. The Latter is our Choice!”

The Continental Congress issued A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North-America, Now Met in Congress at Philadelphia, Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms. This was written by Thomas Jefferson and Pennsylvania lawyer John Dickinson. In response to England sending soldiers to "restore order" in the colonies, Jefferson wrote: We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force.—The latter is our choice—We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery… —Honour, justice, and humanity, ...
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Patrick Henry Gives his ‘Give me Liberty, or Give me Death’ Speech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHo-3LEcgQE On March 23, 1775, less than a month before the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry addressed the House of Burgesses in Richmond, Virginia. He gave a speech that has been remembered popularly as the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. Although Henry’s discourse was not recorded at the time (partially because Henry delivered it extemporaneously), Henry’s biographer, William Wirt, later gathered testimony from people who had heard him speak. Through their accounts, Wirt reconstructed what Henry spoke that day. The motivation behind the speech was to incite the determination of the Virginia House members ...
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Quote: “When an Army is Sent to Enforce Laws, it is Always an Evidence that… they are Oppressive”

A South Carolina newspaper essay, reprinted in Virginia, urged that any law that had to be enforced by the military was necessarily illegitimate: When an Army is sent to enforce Laws, it is always an Evidence that either the Law makers are conscious that they had no clear and indisputable right to make those Laws, or that they are bad [and] oppressive. Wherever the People themselves have had a hand in making Laws, according to the first principles of our Constitution there is no danger of Nonsubmission, Nor can there be need of an Army to enforce them. William ...
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