Wendell PhillipsWendell Phillips, (1811-1884) American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, orator, lawyer

Famous Wendell Phillips Quote

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Wendell PhillipsWendell Phillips
~ Wendell Phillips

(frequently misattributed to Thomas Jefferson), in a speech before the Massachusetts Antislavery Society in 1852

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

Eternal vigilance is a price of liberty.

Jack, Brussels (Belgium) - but I'm British !

What Jefferson actually said in a letter of 1787 was "Lethargy [is] the forerunner of death to the public liberty."

Jack, Brussels (Belgium) - but I'm British !

Wendell Phillips was actually referring to a dictum by the Irish politician of the eighteenth century, John Philpott Curran: “It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt” It was such a well-known quotation both then and now that Wendell Phillips would have expected his audience to spot the allusion. There was no question of plagiarism.

Waffler, Smith

And the Feds have to become more vigilant at the SEC, the IRS and all of those other vigilant enforcers. As soon as they lack vigilance we get the Madoff's and 100's of others that will rob us of our liberty, money and lives.

J Carlton, Calgary

While we were deciding whether we wanted the Sony or the Panasonic, the Red Jetta or the Blue Jetta...we lost our liberties. And the Madoff's of the world can only operate with the fascist "paper" system we now endure. Time to wake up America, the White House has become a den of thieves.

jim k, austin

Whoever said it spoke the truth.

jim k, austin

Well spoken, J Carlton.

warren, olathe

The lack of vigilance is why we now have Obama robing us of your liberty money and freedom. If we do not wake up and resist, this country is through.

E Archer, NYC

Only Waffler could twist the meaning of this to be the government's vigilance of enforcing taxes upon the people! Hardly the sentiment intended here. Most everyone knows that the vigilance is in keeping the government in check, not the people obedient to authority.

Waffler, Smith

"Everyone" knows no such thing Archer. No such thing. The failue of you and others to support your constabulary whether local, state, or national is what we need to fear. Lack of such support is the height of ninkcompoop behaviour.

J Carlton, Calgary

That's right, support the ever more "militarized" constabulary and the ever more voracious system of tax extortion. Might as well support the man who came to hang you...for your own good of course.


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