Fourth of July Quotes
Founders' Wisdom: quotations from signers of the Declaration of Independence
Compiled by Elizabeth Olson
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.
That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
Richard Henry Lee (1732–1794)
There, I guess King George will be able to read that.
John Hancock (1737–1793)
Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments. If we can get rid of the former, we may easily bear the latter.
Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right…and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.
While Gen'l Howe with a Large Armament is advancing towards N. York, our Congress resolved to Declare the United Colonies free and Independent States. A Declaration for this Purpose, I expect, will this day pass Congress...It is gone so far that we must now be a free independent State, or a Conquered Country.
Abraham Clark (1726–1794)
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance.
Equal and exact justice to all men…freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected,these principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us.
We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.