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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There is no history worthy of attention but that of a free people; the history of a people subjected to despotism is only a collection of anecdotes.

— Nicolas Chamfort

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

— Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

Accept the responsibility of being yourself as you are, with all that is good and with all that is bad, with all that is beautiful and that which is not beautiful. In that acceptance a transcendence happens and one becomes free.

— Osho

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace–but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! [March 23, 1775]

— Patrick Henry

Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose — and commit myself to — what is best for me.

— Paulo Coelho

Transformation is only valid if it is carried out with the people, not for them. Liberation is like a childbirth, and a painful one. The person who emerges is a new person: no longer either oppressor or oppressed, but a person in the process of achieving freedom. It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors.

— Paulo Freire

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.

— Paulo Freire

The educator with a democratic vision or posture cannot avoid in his teaching praxis insisting on the critical capacity, curiosity, and autonomy of the learner.

— Paulo Freire

Transformation is only valid if it is carried out with the people, not for them. Liberation is like a childbirth, and a painful one. The person who emerges is a new person: no longer either oppressor or oppressed, but a person in the process of achieving freedom. It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors.

— Paulo Freire

There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.

— Peyton Conway March

I find freedom sexy. I find freedom so sexy, I can’t even explain it to you. You wake up every day and feel like you can do anything.

— Prince

When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.

— Ralph Ellison

For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Laws can embody standards; governments can enforce laws — but the final task is not a task for government. It is a task for each and every one of us. Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.

— Robert F. Kennedy

There can be but little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.

— Robert G. Ingersoll

To be human is to be free. Human existence is the ability to stand back from matter and nature, to transcend it even in ourselves, the ability to consider, judge and make decisions, to create new things, to take responsibility, to change, to make oneself and the world different, and, if possible, better.

— Roger Haight, An Alternative Vision

Freedom does not occur all at once, but is a potentiality that becomes a reality through nurture over time; it grows and develops…. It is at once open-ended but limited by time and space and the life cycle; it has a beginning, a fullness and a tapering off.

— Roger Haight, An Alternative Vision

I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up, and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.

— Rosa Parks

I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.

— Rosa Parks

Here I am showing you the ferocity of my hunger. Here I am, finally freeing myself to be vulnerable and terribly human. Here I am, reveling in that freedom. Here. See what I hunger for and what my truth has allowed me to create.

— Roxane Gay

I bid you awake at dawn and discover I have gone my way and left you free.

— Sara Teasdale

To emancipate woman is to refuse to confine her to the relations she bears to man, not to deny them to her; let her have her independent existence and she will continue none the less to exist to him also; mutually recognizing each other as subject, each will yet remain for the other another.

— Simone de Beauvoir

I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.

— Simone de Beauvoir

Do not allow yourself to be imprisoned by any affection. Keep your solitude. The day, if it ever comes, when you are given true affection there will be no opposition between interior solitude and friendship, quite the reverse. It is even by this infallible sign that you will recognize it.

— Simone Weil

Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.

— Simone Weil

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love.

— Starbucks Coffee, part of a quote from The Way I See It #76, Starbucks Coffee

Integrity is unity of the personality; it implies being brutally honest with ourselves about our intentionality. Since intentionality is inextricably bound up with the daimonic, this is never an easy, nor always pleasant pursuit. But being willing to admit our daimonic tendencies – to know them consciously and to wisely oversee them – brings with it the invaluable blessing of freedom, vigor, inner strength, and self-acceptance.

— Stephen A. Diamond

Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free.

— Stephen Hawking

Independence is happiness.

— Susan B. Anthony

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.

— Susan B. Anthony
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