Online Library of Liberty

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.

Advanced Search

Quotations about Liberty and Power Politics & Liberty

Gouverneur Morris on the proper balance between commerce, private property, and political liberty (1776) Gouverneur Morris 2014-07-21
Tocqueville on centralization as the natural form of government for democracies (1835) Alexis de Tocqueville 2013-11-04
David Hume believes we should assume all men are self-interested knaves when it comes to politics (1777) David Hume 2013-03-11
Germaine de Staël on the indestructible love of liberty (1818) Germaine de Staël 2012-07-14
Benjamin Constant on why the oppressed often prefer their chains to liberty (1815) Benjamin Constant 2012-04-16
Leggett on the tendency of the government to become “the universal dispenser of good and evil” (1834) William Leggett 2011-12-14
Socrates as the “gadfly” of the state (4thC BC) Plato 2011-12-05
Ferguson on the flourishing of man’s intellectual powers in a commercial society (1767) Adam Ferguson 2011-11-21
Spooner on the “knaves,” the “dupes,” and “do-nothings” among government supporters (1870) Lysander Spooner 2011-10-03
Jefferson on the right to change one’s government (1776) Thomas Jefferson 2011-07-04
Tocqueville on the spirit of association (1835) Alexis de Tocqueville 2011-06-27
Bastiat on the many freedoms that make up liberty (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-06-13
Bastiat on the need for urgent political and economic reform (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-02-28
Bastiat on the fact that even in revolution there is an indestructible principle of order in the human heart (1848) Frédéric Bastiat 2011-02-14
Shaftesbury on the need for liberty to promote the liberal arts (1712) Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury 2010-11-29
The State of New York declares that the people may “reassume” their delegated powers at any time they choose (1788) Jonathan Elliot 2010-09-20
Georg Jellinek argues that Lafayette was one of the driving forces behind the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) Georg Jellinek 2010-07-12
Lord Acton on the destruction of the liberal Girondin group and the suicide of Condorcet during the French Revolution (1910) John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton 2010-04-26
The Abbé de Mably argues with John Adams about the dangers of a “commercial elite” seizing control of the new Republic and using it to their own advantage (1785) Gabriel Bonnot Abbé de Mably 2009-10-05
Samuel Smiles on how an idle, thriftless, or drunken man can, and should, improve himself through self-help and not by means of the state (1859). Samuel Smiles 2009-09-14
John Adams thought he could see arbitrary power emerging in the American colonies and urged his countrymen to “nip it in the bud” before they lost all their liberties (1774) John Adams 2009-08-23
Benjamin Constant distinguished between the Liberty of the Ancients (“the complete subjection of the individual to the authority of the community”) and that of the Moderns (“where individual rights and commerce are respected”) (1816) Benjamin Constant 2009-08-12
Edward Gibbon called the loss of independence and excessive obedience the "secret poison" which corrupted the Roman Empire (1776) Edward Gibbon 2009-08-03
John Stuart Mill on the need for limited government and political rights to prevent the “king of the vultures” and his “minor harpies” in the government from preying on the people (1859) John Stuart Mill 2009-04-20
Mercy Otis Warren asks why people are so willing to obey the government and answers that it is supineness, fear of resisting, and the long habit of obedience (1805) Mercy Otis Warren 2009-03-16
James Madison on the need for the “separation of powers” because “men are not angels,” Federalist 51 (1788) James Madison 2008-09-22
James Madison on the mischievous effects of mutable government in The Federalist no. 62 (1788) James Madison 2008-09-01
Viscount Bryce reflects on how modern nation states which achieved their own freedom through struggle are not sympathetic to the similar struggles of other repressed peoples (1901) Viscount James Bryce 2007-08-20
Augustin Thierry laments that the steady growth of liberty in France had been disrupted by the cataclysm of the French Revolution (1859) Augustin Thierry 2007-07-30
Condorcet writes about the inevitability of the spread of liberty and prosperity while he was in prison awaiting execution by the Jacobins (1796) Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet 2006-08-28
Catharine Macaulay supported the French Revolution because there were sound "public choice" reasons for not vesting supreme power in the hands of one’s social or economic "betters" (1790) Catharine Macaulay 2006-08-21
Montesquieu was fascinated by the liberty which was enjoyed in England, which he attributed to security of person and the rule of law (1748) Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu 2006-05-01
Edward Gibbon wonders if Europe will avoid the same fate as the Roman Empire, collapse brought on as a result of prosperity, corruption, and military conquest (1776) Edward Gibbon 2006-03-27
J.S. Mill was convinced he was living in a time when he would experience an explosion of classical liberal reform because “the spirit of the age” had dramatically changed (1831) John Stuart Mill 2006-02-27
The Australian radical liberal Bruce Smith lays down some very strict rules which should govern the actions of any legislator (1887) Bruce Smith 2005-08-15
William Emerson, in his oration to commemorate the Declaration of Independence, reminded his listeners of the “unconquerable sense of liberty” which Americans had (1802) William Emerson 2005-03-14
Andrew Fletcher believed that too many people were deceived by the “ancient terms and outwards forms” of their government but had in fact lost their ancient liberties (1698) Andrew Fletcher 2005-02-14
Bernhard Knollenberg on the Belief of many colonial Americans that Liberty was lost because the Leaders of the People had failed in their Duty (2003) Bernhard Knollenberg 2004-08-02
Adam Smith on the Dangers of sacrificing one’s Liberty for the supposed benefits of the “lordly servitude of a court” (1759) Adam Smith 2004-06-07
Richard Price on the true Nature of Love of One’s Country (1789) Richard Price 2004-05-24
George Washington on the Difference between Commercial and Political Relations with other Countries (1796) George Washington 2004-05-10

All Quotations