chain against sky, center of chain transforms to birds flying

Quotations about freedom: civil freedom, personal freedom — the power to choose how to act, speak, and think. Freedom can be a freedom to make one’s thoughts come to fruition in action, and thereby can involve compelling others to act, so that freedom is a power over other people. Or freedom can be to not have others compel us to act. Freedom, at its core, is about autonomy, and some versions of freedom recognize that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others.

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A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.

— Jim Morrison

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

— Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s, Often attributed to Lilla Watson, who said she was “not comfortable being credited for something that had been born of a collective process” — the attribution here is the one she accepted.

I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.

— Abraham Lincoln

No man is good enough to govern another man without his consent.

— Abraham Lincoln

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act, as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails today among human creatures.

— Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)

Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.

— Abraham Lincoln

Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom.

— Aldous Huxley

Love, free as air, at sight of human ties,
Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies.

— Alexander Pope

No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.

— Alexis de Tocqueville

We have the gift of human life, wherever it comes from, and the means of developing what is distinctively human…. When we ask, “What does it mean to be human?”, we find the answer in our ethical nature and in the cultivation of the gifts and possibilities of human beings. For it is the truth and beauty and goodness within human beings, that human beings must fulfill…. To believe in freedom, we have to believe in people.

— Algernon Black

If you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything.

— Alice Walker

Every renaissance comes to the world with a cry, the cry of the human spirit to be free.

— Anne Sullivan

It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.

— Assata Shakur

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!

— Barry Goldwater

As men’s habits of mind differ, so that some more readily embrace one form of faith, some another, for what moves one to pray may move another to scoff, I conclude … that everyone should be free to choose for himself the foundations of his creed, and that faith should be judged only by its fruits.

— Baruch Spinoza

People will never fight for your freedom if you have not given evidence that you are prepared to fight for it yourself.

— Bayard Rustin

You have to join every other movement for the freedom of people. Therefore join the movement as individuals against anti-Semitism, join the movements for the rights of Hispanics, the rights of women, the rights of gays. In other words, I think that each movement has to stand on its own feet because it has a particular agenda, but it can ask other people.

— Bayard Rustin

The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom.

— bell hooks

My story is a freedom song of struggle. It is about finding one’s purpose, how to overcome fear and to stand up for causes bigger than one’s self.

— c

Freedom is not caprice but room to enlarge.

— C. A. Bartol

Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.

— Carl Sagan

A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable.

— Carl Sagan

We must understand that the highest form of freedom carries with it the greatest measure of discipline.

— Cesar Chavez

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You’re free at last.

— Charlie Daniels, written en route to the funeral for his friend, Ronnie Van Zant of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.

— Charlotte Brontë

For there is one thing I can safely say: that those bound by love must obey each other if they are to keep company long. Love will not be constrained by mastery; when mastery comes, the God of love at once beats his wings, and farewell — he is gone. Love is a thing as free as any spirit; women naturally desire liberty, and not to be constrained like slaves; and so do men, if I shall tell the truth.

See who is the most patient in love; he has the greatest advantage. Patience is surely a great virtue, for it vanquished, as these scholars say, things that rigor would never manage. One cannot scold or complain at every word. Learn to endure patiently, or else, as I live and breathe, you shall learn it whether you want or not. For certainly there is no one in the world who doesn’t do or say something amiss. Anger, sickness, or planetary influences, wine, sorrow, or changing of disposition often causes one to do or speak amiss. One cannot be avenged for every wrong; according to the occasion, everyone who knows how, must use temperance. And therefore a wise man, in order to live in comfort, promises his lady forbearance, and she wisely gives her promise to him.

— Chaucer, ‘The Franklin’s Tale’

We are here to claim our rights as women, not only to be free, but to fight for freedom. It is our privilege, as well as our pride and our joy, to take some part in this militant movement, which, as we believe, means the regeneration of all humanity

— Christabel Pankhurst

I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.

— Coretta Scott King

Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.

— Coretta Scott King

Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.

— Coretta Scott King
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