I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.
Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is the highest political end.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.
Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think.
When the goal of political action is no longer the defense of liberty, no word other than demagoguery can describe the despicable nature of politics.
Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.
I’m convinced that you never have to give up liberties to be safe. I think you’re less safe when you give up your liberties.
The more powerful the national government grows, the less free Americans will become.
He is free who knows how to keep in his own hands the power to decide at each step, the course of his life, and who lives in a society which does not block the exercise of that power.