“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
The Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson, edited, ratified and signed by him, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, John Hancock, Samuel Chase William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross, Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark, Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkin, William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, and Matthew Thornton.
“It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, independence now and independence forever. “
—-Daniel Webster, U.S. politician and orator
“Liberty is the soul’s right to breathe, and when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight.”
—-Henry Ward Beecher,minister and abolitionist.
“When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that “all men are created equal” a self evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim “a self evident lie” The fourth of July has not quite dwindled away; it is still a great day–for burning fire-crackers!!!”
“Without an unfettered press, without liberty of speech, all of the outward forms and structures of free institutions are a sham, a pretense – the sheerest mockery. If the press is not free; if speech is not independent and untrammeled; if the mind is shackled or made impotent through fear, it makes no difference under what form of government you live, you are a subject and not a citizen.”
—- Senator William Borah (R-ID), 1917
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
“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.”
—- Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
“The Republic may not give wealth or happiness, she has not promised these. It is the freedom to pursue these, not their realization, which the Declaration of Independence claims.”
—-Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist
“The freedom of America is the freedom to live your own life and take your own chances.”
—Thomas Sowell, scholar and social scientist
“Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.”
—–John Phillip Sousa, “The Stars and Stripes Forever”
“Democracy is like sex. When it is good, it is very very good. And when its is bad, it is still pretty good.“
“The real democratic American idea is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance.”
—-Henry Ward Beecher, American preacher
“Democracy is moral before it is political.”
—- Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice
“The experience of democracy is like the experience of life itself…always changing, infinite in its variety, sometimes turbulent and all the more valuable for having been tested by adversity.”
—- Jimmy Carter, President, philanthropist