Happy Independence Day, America! To celebrate our nation’s birthday, we’ve selected eighteen quotations from novelists, poets, and other men and women of letters reflecting on freedom, democracy, and independence. Bas Bleu‘s editors are taking today off to commemorate this special occasion with family and friends, but we’ll be back in action on July 5, hard at work on our upcoming Autumn 2018 edition!
“Oh God, the terrible tyranny of the majority. We all have our harps to play. And it’s up to you to know with which ear you’ll listen.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
“Here’s what we’re not taught [about the Declaration and Constitution]: Those words at the time they were written were blazingly, electrifyingly subversive. If you understand them truly now, they still are…You are not taught – and it is a disgrace that you aren’t – that these men and women were radicals for liberty; that they had a vision of equality that was a slap in the face of what the rest of their world understood to be the unchanging, God-given order of nations; and that they were willing to die to make that desperate vision into a reality for people like us, whom they would never live to see. ” ― Naomi Wolf, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.” ― Abraham Lincoln
“Freedom is dangerous but it’s precious, too. You can’t just throw it away or let it slip away. You can’t sell it for bread and pottage.” ―Octavia E. Butler, The Parable of the Sower
“Liberty is the breath of life to nations.” ―George Bernard Shaw, A Treatise on Parents and Children
“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” ―Peter Marshall
“The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.”
—Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of color remains chained.” —Audre Lorde, “The Uses of Anger”
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” ―Voltaire
“Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.” ―Albert Camus
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’” —Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”
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