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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Liberty and freedom are inherently not individual – they are about how we treat one another. One cannot have liberty and freedom unless there’s a responsibility of others to respect, support, and make possible that liberty and freedom.

— Jone Johnson Lewis

We have to recognize that living without limits, without any coercion, is simply itself a kind of delusion.

— Jone Johnson Lewis

All liberation or freedom requires others to limit how they will act.

— Jone Johnson Lewis

Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.

— Kay Redfield Jamison

Freedom is not something that one people can bestow on another as a gift. They claim it as their own and none can keep it from them.

— Kwame Nkruma

Peacemakers who challenge the prevailing concept of peace achieved by violence are often, ironically, called disturbers of the peace. That is only true if peace is defined as an uneasy ceasefire in a world dominated by the corrupt, a tenuous subjugation of the weak by the powerful, a hurting humanity suffering silently en mass for the profit of the bloated few. If, though, peace is defined as freedom, equality, safety, health, opportunity, and a voice for all, then we, the peacemakers, aren’t disturbers of the peace. We are purveyors of peace because we are disturbers of the status quo.

— L.R. Knost

Free is not the same as free and easy.

— Larry Eisenberg

You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them.

— Lauren Oliver

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, a discussion is apt to become worse than useless.

— Leo Tolstoy

For every man who lives without freedom, the rest of us must face the guilt.

— Lillian Hellman, Watch on the Rhine, 1941

When you know who you are you are freer to be who you are not.

— Linda V. Berens

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

— Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438 (1928) (dissenting)

Freedom, I found is not only in the running but in the heart, the mind, the hands.

— Louise Erdrich

Whether it’s racism, homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance or other bias – we demand to live in a country where we can be safe to be who we are, believe what we want and love whomever we want.

— Lucy McBath

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

— Malcolm X

Anytime anyone is enslaved, or in any way deprived of his liberty, if that person is a human being, as far as I am concerned he is justified to resort to whatever methods necessary to bring about his liberty again.

— Malcolm X

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

— Malcolm X

You can’t exist as a writer for very long without learning that something you write is going to upset someone, sometime, somewhere. Whether you end up with a bullet in your neck will depend on many factors—there are lots of bullets, and some necks are thicker than others—but let us pause to remember that the most important meaning of freedom of expression is not that you can say anything you like without any consequences whatsoever but that the bullet should not be your government’s, and it should not be fired into your neck for an expression of political views that don’t coincide with theirs.

— Margaret Atwood

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism: The right to criticize. The right to hold unpopular beliefs. The right to protest. The right of independent thought.

— Margaret Chase Smith

A free race cannot be born of slave mothers.

— Margaret Sanger

What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom “to” and freedom “from.”

— Marilyn Vos Savant

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

— Mark Twain

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?

— Mary Astell, 1706

To free the energies of the human spirit is the high potentiality of all human association.

— Mary Parker Follett

Freedom without the means to be self-supporting is a one-armed triumph.

— Michelle Cliff

What I love about Juneteenth is that even in that extended wait, we still find something to celebrate. Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress.

— Michelle Obama

Breaking out of the fatalistic acceptance of genetic or historical programming requires, at the very least, a belief in freedom and self-determination.

— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
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