Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Today, this 4th of July, we celebrate our independence. Below are a series of quotes from those who gave us, or gave voice to, our freedom.

The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.
George Washington

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.
Thomas Jefferson

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
John Adams

Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
Alexander Hamilton

If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
James Madison

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
Benjamin Franklin

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!
Patrick Henry

Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.
Samuel Adams

There, I guess King George will be able to read that.
John Hancock

I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.
Nathan Hale

I have not yet begun to fight!
John Paul Jones

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Thomas Paine

Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes!
Colonel William Prescott (Battle of Bunker Hill)

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Paul Revere's Ride

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg Address

Give me your tired, your poor.
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
Send these, your homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Emma Lazarus – The New Colossus (On the Statue of Liberty)

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July,
but the democrats believe every day is April 15.
Ronald Reagan
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