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There is only one cure for evils which newly-acquired freedom produces, and that cure is freedom. When a prisoner first leaves his cell, he cannot bear the light of day, he is unable to discriminate colors, or recognize faces. The remedy is, to accustom him to the rays of the sun.
The blaze of truth and liberty may at first dazzle and bewilder nations which have become half blind in the house of bondage. But let them gaze on, and they will soon be able to bear it. In a few years men learn to reason. The extreme violence of opinions subsides. Hostile theories correct each other. The scattered elements of truth cease to contend, and begin to coalesce. And, at length, a system of justice and order is educed out of the chaos.
Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a selfevident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever.-Thomas B. Macauly (1850).
Public officers should owe their whole service to the government and to the people. Rutherford B. Hayes (1876).
A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes, will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished; and that the perfection of machinery to which it has sacrificed everything will in the end avail nothing, for want of the vital power which, in order that the machine might work more smoothly, it has preferred to banish.-John Stuart Mill (1870).
The idea of governing by force another man, who I believe to be my equal in the sight of God, is repugnant to me. I do not want to do it. I do not want any one to govern me by any kind of force. I am a reasoning being, and I only need to be shown what is best for me, when I will take that course or do that thing simply because it is best, and so will you. I do not believe that a soul was ever forced toward anything except toward ruin.
Liberty for the few is not liberty. Liberty for me and slavery for you means slavery for both.-Samuel M. Jones (1890).
A bloody page of history attests the fact that fanaticism armed with power is the sorest evil that can befall a nation.-Historic saying.
Public officers are the servants and agents of the people, to execute the laws which the people have made.-Grover Cleveland (1882).
The elective franchise, if guarded as the ark of our safety, will peaceably dissipate all combinations to subvert a Constitution, dictated by the wisdom, and resting on the will of the people.-Thomas Jefferson (1801).
What the votes of the people have ordained in the last instance is the law. The Twelve Tables of Roman Law (452 B. C.).
No one has power except from the people. This is the condition of a free people, and especially of this chief people, the lord and conqueror of all
nations, to be able to give or to take away by their votes whatever they see fit.-Cicero.
It has been thought that corruption is restrained by confining the right of suffrage to a few of the wealthier of the people; but it would be more effectually restrained by an extension of that right to such numbers as would bid defiance to the means of corruption.-Thomas Jefferson (1782).
Let there be peace so long as every man, rich or poor, black or white, North or South, is allowed a free vote, an honest count, and equal rights before the law. Ulysses S. Grant (1875).
The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental articles of Republican government, and ought not be left to be regulated by the Legislature. A gradual abridgment of the right has been the mode in which aristocracies have been built on the ruin of popular forms. Whether the Constitutional qualification ought to be a freehold, would with him depend much on the popular reception such a change would meet within the States where the right was not exercised by every description of people. Viewing the subject on its merits alone, the freeholders of the country would be the safest depositories of Republican liberty.-James Madison (1787).
Should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights.-Thomas Jefferson (1806).
To violate the freedom and sanctity of the suffrage is more than an evil; it is a crime, which, if persisted in, will destroy the government itself. It should be said with the utmost emphasis that this question of the suffrage will never give repose or safety to the States of the Nation until each, within its own jurisdiction, makes and keeps the ballot free and pure by the strong sanctions of the law. We have no standard by which to measure the disaster that may be brought upon us by ignorance and vice in the citizens, when joined to corruption and fraud in the suffrage.-Jamese A. Garfield (1881).
The foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is the right of the people to participate in their legislative council.-A Resolution of Congress of the American Colonies (1774).
I believe we may lessen the danger of buying and selling votes, by making the number of voters too great for any means of purchase; I may further say that I have not observed men's honesty to increase with their riches.-7'homas Jefferson (1800).
Freedom To Know
Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is to their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.— Thomas Jefferson (1787).
Criminality can only be predicated where there is an obstinate, unreasonable refusal to consider any kind of evidence but what exclusively supports one side of a question.
It follows that errors of the understanding must be treated by appeals to the understanding. That argument should be opposed by argument, and fact by fact. That fine and imprisonment are bad forms of syllogism, well calculated to irritate, but powerless for refutation. They may suppress truth, they can never elicit it.—Thomas Cooper (1800).
The good of mankind is a dream if it is not to be secured by preserving for all men the possible maximum of liberty of action and of freedom of thought.-John M. Robertson (1905).
Of what use is freedom of thought, if it will not produce freedom of action, which is the sole end, how remote soever in appearance, of all objections against Christianity? And therefore the free thinkers consider it an edifice where all the parts have such a mutual dependence on each other, that, if you pull out one single nail, the whole fabric must fall to the ground.— Jonathan Swift (1740).
Science, knowledge and investigation should be free. You must not make hypocrites of our authors and teachers. You must not strait-jacket the human mind.-Louis I. Newman (1925).
The people are the only censors of their governors; and even their errors will tend to keep them to the true principles of their institutions. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs through the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers, and be capable of reading them.—Thomas Jefferson (1787).
Next to life and liberty, we consider education the greatest blessing bestowed upon mankind. The public funds should be appropriated (to reasonable extent) to the purpose of education upon a regular system that shall insure the opportunity to every individual of obtaining a competent education before he shall have arrived at the age of maturity.-Resolutions adopted at Meeting of Mechanics and Workingmen, New York City (1829).
Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.-James A. Garfield (1880).
Universities should be places in which thought is free from all fetters, and in which all sources of knowledge, and all aids of learning should be accessible to all comers, without distinction of creed or country, riches or poverty.-Thomas H. Huxley (1874).
A motion for opening the doors of the Senate Chamber has again been lost by a considerable majority—in defiance of instruction, in security to free men. What means this conduct? Which expression does it carry strongest with it, contempt for you or tyranny? Are you freemen who ought to know the individual conduct of your legislators, or are you an inferior order of being
incapable of comprehending the sublimity of senatorial functions, and unworthy to be instructed with their opinions? How are you to know the just from the unjust steward when they are covered with the mantle of concealment? Can there be any question of legislative import which freemen should not be acquainted with? What are you to expect when stewards of your household refuse to give account of their stewardship? Secrecy is necessary to design and a masque to treachery; honesty shrinks not from the public eye.
The Peers of America disdain to be seen by vulgar eyes, the music of their voices is harmony only for themselves and must not vibrate in the ravished ear of an ungrateful and unworthy multitude. Is there any congeniality excepting in the administration, between the government of Great Brittain and the government of the United States, The Senate supposes there is, and usurps the secret privileges of the House of Lords. Remember my fellow citizens, that you are still freemen; let it be impressed upon your minds that you depend not upon your representatives but that they depend upon you, and let this truth be ever present to you, that secrecy in your representatives is a worm which will prey and fatten upon the vitals of your liberty.-Philip Freneau (1792).
Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression of both mind and body will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.-Thomas Jefferson (1816).
To enjoy our rights and liberties, we must understand them; their security and protection ought to be the first object of a free people; and it is a well established fact that no nation has ever continued long in the enjoyment of civil and political freedom, which has ever continued long in the enjoyment of believing that the advancement of literature always has been, and ever will be the means of developing more fully the rights of men; that the mind of every citizen in a republic is the common property of society, and constitutes the basis of its strength and happiness; it is therefore considered the peculiar duty of a free government, like ours, to encourage and extend the improvement and cultivation of the intellectual energies of the whole.-First School Law enacted in Illinois (1825).
Will anybody deny now that the government at Washington, as regards its own people, is the strongest government in the world at this hour? And for this simple reason, that it is based on the will, and the good will, of an instructed people.-John Bright (1863).
Preach a crusade against ignorance. Establish and improve the law for educating the common people. The tax which is paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles, who will rise up among us, if we leave the people in ignorance.-Thomas Jefferson (1786).
One of the most essential needs of a democratic country, among all of its equalities, is equality of educational opportunity-William Pickens (1939).
The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they
are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument: but facts and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. Very few facts are able to tell their own story without comments to bring out their meaning. The whole strength and value, then, of human judgment, depending on the one property that it can be set right when it is wrong, reliance can be placed on it only when the means of setting it right are kept constantly at hand.-John Stuart Mill (1859).
If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.— Thomas Jefferson (1801).
If this blessed old republic cannot rest upon the free and voluntary support and affection of the American people in time of war as well as in time of peace, if we cannot, as a people, be free to discuss the political problems which involve limb and life, even in time of war, our government rests upon a very brittle foundation.-William E. Borah (1917).
It is a mistake to suppose that the Supreme Court is either honored or helped by being spoken of as beyond criticism. On the contrary, the life and character of the justices should be the object of constant watchfulness by all, and its judgments subject to the freest criticism. The time is past in the history of the world when any living man or body of men can be set on a pedestal and decorated with a halo. True, many criticisms may be, like their authors, devoid of good taste, but better all sorts of criticisms than no criticism at all. The moving waters are full of life and health: only in the still waters is stagnation and death.— David Josiah Brewer (1888).
There is tonic in the things that men do not love to hear; and there is damnation in the things that wicked men love to hear. Free speech is to a great people what winds are to oceans and malarial regions, which waft away the elements of disease, and bring new elements of health; and where free speech is stopped miasma is bred, and death comes fast.-Henry Ward Beecher.
This formidable censor of the public functionaries (free criticism) by arraigning them at the tribunal of public opinion, produces reform peacably, which must otherwise be done by revolution.-Thomas Jefferson (1823).
When you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. It therefore astonished me to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does, and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our counsels are confounded like those of the builders of Babel.— Benjamin Franklin (1787).
If seditious words proceed from levity, they are to be despised: If from folly, to be pitied: If from malice, to be forgiven.-Theodosius (391 A. D.).