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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Tyranny is always better organized than freedom.

— Charles Peguy

Freedom is a system based on courage.

— Charles Peguy

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

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

— Coretta Scott King

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

Nelson Mandela sat in a South African prison for 27 years. He was nonviolent. He negotiated his way out of jail. His honor and suffering of 27 years in a South African prison is really ultimately what brought about the freedom of South Africa. That is nonviolence.

— Coretta Scott King

My story is a freedom song from within my soul. It is a guide to discovery, a vision of how even the worst pain and heartaches can be channeled into human monuments, impenetrable and everlasting.

— Coretta Scott King

‘Freedom from fear’ could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights.

— Dag Hammarskjöld

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.

— Dean Acheson

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

— Diderot

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

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

There is no true liberty for the individual except as he finds it in the liberty of all. There is no true security for the individual except as he finds it in the security for all.

— Edwin Markham

The more we simplify our material needs the more we are free to think of other things.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Only the educated are free.

— Epictetus

Modern man still is anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of all kinds, or to lose it by transforming himself into a small cog in the machine, well fed, and well clothed, yet not a free man but an automaton.

— Erich Fromm

Is there not also, perhaps, besides an innate desire for freedom, an instinctive wish for submission? If there is not, how can we account for the attraction which submission to a leader has for so many today? Is submission always to an overt authority, or is there also submission to internalized authorities, such as duty or conscience, to inner compulsions or to anonymous authorities like public opinion?

— Erich Fromm

Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

— Eugene V. Debs

To stir the masses, to appeal to their higher, better selves, to set them thinking for themselves, and to hold ever before them the ideal of mutual kindness and good will, based upon mutual interests, is to render real service to the cause of humanity.

— Eugene V. Debs

I abhorred slavery in every form. I yearned to see all men and all women free. I detested the idea of some men being ruled by others, and of women being ruled by men. I believed that women should have all the rights men have, and I looked upon child labor as a crime. And so I became an agitator and this ruling passion of my life found larger expression.

— Eugene V. Debs

Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I’m not backing off.

— Fannie Lou Hamer

When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don’t speak out ain’t nobody going to speak out for you.

— Fannie Lou Hamer

Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.

— Fannie Lou Hamer

Whether you have a Ph.D., or no D, we’re in this bag together. And whether you’re from Morehouse or Nohouse, we’re still in this bag together. Not to fight to try to liberate ourselves from the men — this is another trick to get us fighting among ourselves — but to work together with the black man, then we will have a better chance to just act as human beings, and to be treated as human beings in our sick society.

— Fannie Lou Hamer

If I am truly free, who can tell me how much of my freedom I can have today?

— Fannie Lou Hamer

If I fall, I will fall five-feet four-inches forward in the fight for freedom.

— Fannie Lou Hamer
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