Famous Florence Ellinwood Allen Quote

“Liberty cannot be caged into a charter or handed on ready-made to the next generation. Each generation must recreate liberty for its own times. Whether or not we establish freedom rests with ourselves.”

~ Florence Ellinwood Allen

This Constitution of Ours, 1940

Ratings and Comments

heather, ohio

i think she is all right.

Wade Smith, Broken Arrow, Ok

This quote is so powerful and true that it brought tears to my eyes. No quote has ever done that to me before.

E Archer, NYC


Mike, Norwalk

The first 2 lines of the quote are true. The third line is what gives us tyranny in all its innumerable forms and glory. He who forgets history is doomed to relive it. Liberty is a stand alone absolute that needs no 'recreating'. The administration of liberty is that which from time to time needs tuning, If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The next generation's escalating volume of legislation slams home the point. The last line should read, "... reestablish freedom, once gone, rests with ourselves."

helorat, Milton

Concur with Mike, and emphasize his point of the second sentence being pure BS and destroying the sum of the whole. His modification would make it completely true. If we were continually recreating liberty, all our laws would sunset in some short fixed period of time, perhaps 5-20 years, and then need to be re-passed which would be wonderful; or we would be having a revolution and destroying our country every 20 years, and letting the external dictator of the hour come in and dominate us, very bad.

Phil, Canada

She's saying each generation must fight for Liberty and Freedom against those who would take power and choice away from us. Where people don't fight for their liberty, tyrants and dictators rule. Liberty cannot be given, from one country to another or even from one generation to another. Only when everyone stands up and declares for Liberty and Freedom and is willing to put their life on the line for it, will a free society exist.

helorat, Milton

Phil, she is a judge, she is supposed to be somewhat familiar with the english language and its usage. She said what she said and it is BS. Just because you want to twist her words to make them more palatable to yourself does not mean that is what she said or meant any more then the contortions of interpretation the Supreme Dictators have done to our Constituion makes them right. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Choose your words carefully. If you make a mistake admit it and correct it. But don't try to say the words don't mean what they mean.

  • Reply
Anon    5/4/09

Agree with Mike. That third line, as he said, conveys the idea that freedom can be created by us but it also dangerously sets up the crowd that claims the Constitution is a living document that can be altered to fit the times. This idea implies that freedom, based on the natural rights of man, can be altered to fit what government policy considers what rights are and when, where, and how they can be exercised. This is an impossibility because nature will not change for the sake of what human nature wants and so the proof that it is human nature that must readapt to nature's laws instead of the other way around if we are to be free again thus bringing us back to the last line of the quote.

J Carlton, Calgary

Recreating Liberty may be seen as taking a great many forms. Phil may not be all that wrong. If we do not have the resolve to do whatever is necessary, Liberty will be lost.

jim k, austin

Freedom is not free.

Waffler, Smith

What she may be saying is that we are as free as we want to be. What is freedom?To be told who to marry, where to live or work by your parents, friends or government is not freedom at all. To be your own person is true freedom, with it comes the right to choose, to vote, to have your say in matters.Those who don't vote, who feel trapped by friends, society parents or government obviously are not free or at least don't feel free. Being free is more than just a governmental or political thing. Each generation and each person must find and proclaim their freedom.

Mike, Norwalk

Natural / common law definitions of liberty and freedom (the noun, not other parts of speech that would accommodate freedom from or freedom to, such being associated with legal positivism or somewhat interchangeable with liberty) Liberty is: The power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. (Bouviers Law Dictionary)Liberty: exemption from extraneous control. The power of the will, in its moral freedom, to follow the dictates of its unrestricted choice, and to direct the external acts of the individual without restraint, coercion, or control from other persons. Liberty is the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons and property after the manner they judge most consistent with their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men. (1st Blacks Law Dictionary) Freedom is: Autonomy without arbitrium ⋯ the quality or state of being. (De Valles Law Dictionary) The state of being free; (1st Blacks Law Dictionary) With such natural / common law understanding of what freedom IS (I know, Clinton lovers will smile at that - not what freedom does and can do but what it is) it is well illuminated that one can be in a small prison cell and still stand in the organic inalienable inheritance that is freedom, even though the incarcerated individuals liberty has been curtailed. Freedom rests within ourselves. How does one recreate liberty unless it is a new way to ignore tyranny ? ? ?

Mike, Pleasant Hill

Mr. Smith, there is no need to reinvent the wheel every generation.

Ronw13, Yachats Or

We do not recreate the Rock we stand on ! Salvation is from generation to generation, so with the knowledge.

cal, Lewisville, tx

Thomas Jefferson said we should tear up the law book every 20 years and start over. He was our greatest president.


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