Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. We here highly resolve that the 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, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.
What do we mean by setting a man free? You cannot free a man who dwells in a desert and is an unfeeling brute. There is no liberty except the liberty of some one making his way towards something. Such a man can be set free if you will teach him the meaning of thirst, and how to trace a path to a well. Only then will he embark upon a course of action that will not be without significance. You could not liberate a stone if there were no law of gravity -- for where will the stone go, once it is quarried?
Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security! The solution for America's problem is not in terms of big government, but it is in big men over whom nobody stands in control but God.
It is not one man nor a million, but the spirit of liberty that must be preserved. The waves which dash upon the shore are, one by one, broken, but the ocean conquers nevertheless. It overwhelms the Armada, it wears out the rock. In like manner, whatever the struggle of individuals, the great cause will gather strength.
The history of liberty is the history of the limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it. When we resist the concentration of power we are resisting the powers of death. Concentration of power precedes the destruction of human liberties.
It would seem that man was born a slave, and that slavery is his natural condition. At the same time nothing on earth can stop man from feeling himself born for liberty. Never, whatever may happen, can he accept servitude; for he is a thinking creature.
It is not true that democracy will always safeguard freedom of conscience better than autocracy. Witness the most famous of all trials. Pilate was, from the standpoint of the Jews, certainly the representative of autocracy. Yet he tried to protect freedom. And he yielded to a democracy.
How false is the conception, how frantic the pursuit, of that treacherous phantom which men call Liberty: most treacherous, indeed, of all phantoms; for the feeblest ray of reason might surely show us, that not only its attainment, but its being, was impossible. There is no such thing in the universe. There can never be. The stars have it not; the earth has it not; the sea has it not; and we men have the mockery and semblance of it only for our heaviest punishment.
An educational method that shall have liberty as its basis must intervene to help the child to a conquest of liberty. That is to say, his training must be such as shall help him to diminish as much as possible the social bonds which limit his activity.
Then we are assured by Sartre that owing to the final disappearance of God our liberty is absolute! At this the entire audience waves its hat or claps its hands. But this natural enthusiasm is turned abruptly into something much less buoyant when it is learnt that this liberty weighs us down immediately with tremendous responsibilities. We now have to take all God's worries on our shoulders --now that we are become men like gods. It is at this point that the Anxiety and Despondency begin, ending in utter despair.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
The slaves of power mind the cause they have to serve, because their own interest is concerned; but the friends of liberty always sacrifice their cause, which is only the cause of humanity, to their own spleen, vanity, and self-opinion.
I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation.
The ingrained idea that, because there is no king and they despise titles, the Americans are a free people is pathetically untrue. There is a perpetual interference with personal liberty over there that would not be tolerated in England for a week.