Frederick DouglassFrederick Douglass, [Frederick Baily] (1818-1895), escaped slave, Abolitionist, author, editor of the North Star and later the New National Era

Frederick Douglass Quote

“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightning. ”

Frederick DouglassFrederick Douglass
~ Frederick Douglass

'An address on West India Emancipation' (3 August 1857), according to Frederick Douglass : Selected Speeches and Writings, p. vi 

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

I like it, a little agitation now and then keeps us from becoming too static, fine tunes our knowledge and sharpens the senses.

Waffler, Smith

My impression is that the natural law guys and Republic not a democracy type guys are against agitation. After all the natural law is absolutely knowable and can be set down by either the knwo it all framers or as in Iran by The Guardian Council. In these systems of thought and political science aggitation and democracy can just go to hell.

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Anon    6/23/09

The same can be said for those who favor slavery. The storms of contention are coming as evidenced by the ominous effects of the clouds of confusion enveloping America.

J Carlton, Calgary

Bad Guess Waff, your impression is 180 degrees wrong. It was the natural law / republic guys that threw the English into the sea. That spirit still live in the hearts of real patriots. And I think it was Jefferson who said something like: The tree of Liberty must occasionally be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots. I agree.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, your ignorance and level of being wrong never ceases to amaze me; Read my comment immediately prior to yours. I continue to smile while shaking my head. First of all, your impression is wrong as it is derived from some place other than those natural law and Republic not a democracy type guys. Even the founders, through agitation, came up with the Constitution. Most of Natural law is knowable, it is the application for each individual and society that gets to be the problematic issue (or the complete disregard for natural law in states of tyranny and despotism). The Guardian Council system is much more like the Obamunist's fascist theocracy (Czars and all) than the structured authority the founder's left. In fact The Guardian Council system and the Obamunist's fascist theocracy are diametrically opposed to the founders Constitutional Republic (where each individual was sovereign, their representatives unable to do anything their masters could not do - compel the compliance of another, license, issue or enforce victimless crimes, or commit larceny with impunity) The founder's Republic did not directly address the individual sovereign, as their main focus was to limit the representative Republic, while The Guardian Council and Obamunist's systems are omnipotent overlords. Waffler oops! completely wrong again.

jim k, austin

Simply read what Waffler says, believe the opposite and you will always be right.

Al, DC
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Al, DC    6/23/09
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RBESRQ    6/23/09
A.WOODS, Gloucester

Excellent words from Douglass.__ J Carlton, Jefferson referred to refreshing the tree while Lyn Nofziger later referred to watering it. __ ( & respectively.)

Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL

Natural law is absolutely knowable, but fallible humans, including the founders of these united States or the majority of voters, cannot be trusted to "set it down."

E Archer, NYC

The natural law of entropy absolutely defends this quote. Even with the laws of gravity, humankind has managed to lift itself off the ground. Natural laws cannot be broken, we either learn to live, work and play within them or perish. Earthquakes and hurricanes occur because of natural laws -- it doesn't mean humans must fall down because of the law of gravity -- we can get up and find shelter, and those that do, survive, those that don't, don't. Nature is the true equalizer, blind justice, final arbiter, and without appeal. Laws are not compassionate, they are laws, Compassion is what is required from humans, and if we don't exercise it, it simply does not exist. There is a great deal to be joyous for, but it is due to man's ability to be joyous which is a part of our natural make up -- perhaps a gift from the by-products of entropy, but I think it more an indication of the Spirit than matter. Either way, we must work/fight to survive, Nature will have it no other way.

Fred, NH
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Fred, NH    5/5/15

I suspect Douglass said "deprecate" not "depreciate".

Al, DC
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Al, DC    5/5/15
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    Abby    5/5/15

    Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. - See more at:

    Editor, Liberty Quotes

    Fred, the quote has been confirmed and the source added. The word 'deprecate' is a typo and has been replicated across the internet; here's a scan of the printed page from the Library of Congress -- you may have to zoom in to see the 'i':
    'To depreciate' in this context means 'to not appreciate' or to dislike.

    Ronw13, Yachats Or

    Our reality is a result of cause and effect, natural law in observation. It is only natural for the oppressed to become agitated, this once Free Republic, a nation under siege, and has been that way sense the civil war. Property tax, centralized government, centralized banking, credit based economy, FDR payroll tax, stripping away the natural rights of the sovereign Individual and State. Birds of a feather flock together was the intent of Liberty for all. Socialism, communism, and the likes thereof, have no place in a Free Republic. Chophshiy, Eleutheria, and Apeleutheros Liberties ordained by the God of nature. Natural love vs inordinate affection of a Nadiyb tyrannical, grandee mindset. The eventual uprising of the proletariat slave, prophetic in nature, just like gravity. Subjective fact. When tyrants rule the people morn ! Socialism can not be reformed, but only endured !


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