What is Liberty?

Liberty is the state of being free within society in terms of one's way of life. Check out inspiring words and reflections on liberty below!

Reflections on Liberty

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
—Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

Inspiring Words and Reflections on Liberty

Scroll down or click section link for inspiring words and reflections on Liberty that include: 

God's Great Companion Gift

Rare in the history of mankind,
Remote in the lives of men,
Discerned by a few luminaries through the ages,
Coveted by those who never experienced it,
Envied by the enslaved, downtrodden masses,
Under-appraised by the fortunate few who inherit it,
Difficult to define in the 21st Century,
Instantly recognizable in its absence -Liberty!
America's Founding Fathers charged us to ". . . secure the Blessings of Liberty to . . . Posterity . . . ."

George F. Cahill
Chairman Emeritus, PEI

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Bill of Responsibilities

Preamble. Freedom and responsibility are mutual and inseparable: we can ensure enjoyment of the one only by exercising the other. Freedom for all of us depends on responsibility by each of us. To secure and expand our liberties, therefore, we accept these responsibilities as individual members of a free society.

  • To be fully responsible for our own actions and for the consequences of those actions. Freedom to choose carries with it the responsibility for our choices.
  • To respect the rights and beliefs of others. In a free society diversity flourishes. Courtesy and consideration to others are measures of a civilized society.
  • To respect the rights and beliefs of others. In a free society diversity flourishes. Courtesy and consideration to others are measures of a civilized society.
  • To do our best to meet our own and our families' needs. There is no personal freedom without economic freedom. By helping ourselves and those closest to us to become productive members of society, we contribute to the strength of the nation.
  • To respect and obey the laws. Laws are mutually accepted rules by which, together, we maintain a free society. Liberty itself is built on a foundation of law. That foundation provides an orderly process for changing laws. It also depends on our obeying laws once the have been freely adopted.
  • To respect the property of others, both private and public. No one has a right to what is not his or hers. The right to enjoy what is ours depends on our respecting the right of others to enjoy what is theirs.
  • To share with others our appreciation of the benefits and obligations of freedom. Freedom shared is freedom strengthened.
  • To participate constructively in the nation's political life. Democracy depends on an active citizenry. It depends equally on an informed citizenry.
  • To help freedom survive by assuming personal responsibility for its defense. Our nation cannot survive unless we defend it. Its security rests on the individual determination of each of us to help preserve it.
  • To respect the rights and to meet the responsibility on which our liberty rests and our democracy depends. This is the essence of freedom. Maintaining it requires our common effort, all together and each individually.

Freedom Founders

One learns they knew of no other way, As pages of time unfold, Than for kings to rule and others obey And to worship as they were told.

A few by birth took most of the best, Like land and learning for the fullness of life, Leaving the many to vie for the rest, Strive to survive, bear the brunt of any strife.

Now, the people had been loyal To their king across the sea, They paid his taxes royal On their goods and wares and tea.

Yet his troops took any dwelling Where ere they chose to go, With military law compelling And justice atilt and slow.

Some sought a law for redress, That torts be so resolved,But the legislative House of Burgess By the king was then dissolved.

Then leaders of the people had a vision for the land, Untitled but learned, the king they would defy For all to start equal and free to expand And blessings from any would through all multiply.

So their fortunes they gave For principles true and sound, Their honor they would save For the country they would found.

The land was new and the people were too, Come to leave the ways of old; Fighters were few but their numbers grew, The wages were greater than gold.

Near frozen they bled and were scarcely fed, Their fighting done much on the run; But leaders by their side and inspiringly led, Six years, then help, and they had won.

Framing of a paper was the next afoot, Foreseeing the dangers for it to forestall; Eloquently worded but simply put, Freedom, and justice, for all.

Now, the paper still stands with freedom to give To all who take its torch and bear it for, And the wellspring spirit that makes it live Is the steadfast beacon we call America.


Images fading from the classroom wall, Some names from calendars almost cleared, The first to cry Freedom then answer its call, Founding fathers by patriots revered.

If not at times to remember all Let all be seen in one, In he who led and stood so tall, That would be George Washington.

By the late Samuel Lloyd Collins
CAPTAIN, US Navy (Retired)

Copyright 2002 by the late Samuel Lloyd Collins. Publication rights reserved but may be used otherwise, including on web.

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George Washington Man of the Millennium

For more than two centuries, writers and historians have sought the most laudatory words and phrases to capture and project the greatness of the qualities of George Washington, The Father of The United States of America.

Whether Americans by birth or choice, we are beneficiaries of his leadership, spirit and service. The richness of his character is the ultimate role model for free people and enhances the blessings of liberty we inherit. Greatly esteemed in his own day, he should be in ours.

One of the most eloquent and venerable Divines in England, the Reverend William Jay (1769-1853), offered the following, rarely published, tribute to the preeminent American leader:

There dwelt the Man, the flower of human kind, whose visage, mild, bespoke his nobler mind:
There dwelt the Soldier, who his sword ne'er drew but in a righteous cause, to freedom true:

There dwelt the Hero, who ne'er killed for fame, yet gained more glory than a Caesar's name:
There dwelt the Statesman, who, devoid of art, gave soundest counsels from an upright heart:

And, O Columbia, by thy sons caressed, there dwelt the Father of the realms he blessed;
Who no wish felt to make his mighty praise, like other chiefs the means himself to raise;

But there, retiring, breathed in pure renown, and felt a grandeur that disdained a Crown.

© 2000 Patriotic Education Incorporated

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The American's Creed

I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its Flag; and to defend it against enemies.

William Tyler Page written 1917 -- accepted by The United States House of Representatives, 1918

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Our Founding Fathers

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants; Nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, while his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Eillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. noted that the British General, Cornwallis, had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Morris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.

Standing tall, straight and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn't just fight the British; We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your holiday, and silently thank these and other patriots like them. And remember: Freedom is never free!

Paul Harvey

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Sacred Fires of Liberty

"The preservation of the sacred fires of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."

George Washington
First Inaugural Address
April 30, 1789

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America For Me

'Tis fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down Among the famous palaces and cities of renown, To admire the crumbly castles and the statues of the kings, But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.

So it's home again, and home again, America for me! My heart is turning home again, and there I long to be, In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars, Where the air is full of sunlight, and the flag is full of stars.

Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air; And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair; And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and its great to study Rome; But when it comes to living there is no place like home.

I like the German fir woods in green battalions drilled; I like the garden of Versailles with flashing fountains filled; But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her way!

I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack; The past is too much with her, and her people looking back. But the glory of the present is to make the future free. We love our land for what she is and what and what she is to be.

Oh, It's home again, and home again, America for me! I want a ship that's westward bound to plow the rolling sea, To the blessed land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars, Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Henry Van Dyke(1852-1933)

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