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Freedom and Liberty Defined

Luminous▼SovereignJun 10, 2018, 11:47:34 AM

LIBERTY - (Lat. liber, free; libertas, freedom, liberty). Freedom from restraint. The faculty of willing, and the power of doing what has been willed, without influence from without.

liberty, n. {OFr.liberte; L. libertas (-atis), freedom, from liber, free.}
1. freedom or release from slavery, imprisonment, captivity, or any other form of arbitrary control.
[Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary 2nd Ed. (1993)]

Natural 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. 1 Bla.Com. 125. - Ibid.
[Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary 2nd Ed. (1993)]

"The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule."
[Samuel Adams]

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."
[Thomas Jefferson]

Personal liberty consists in the power of locomotion, of changing situation, of removing one's person to whatever place one's inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint unless by due course of law.
[1 Blackstone's Commentaries 134; Hare, Constitution__. 777; Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1914 ed.]

"Civil liberty. The liberty of a member of society, being a man's natural liberty, so far restrained by human laws (and no further) as is necessary and expedient for the general advantage of the public. 1 B1.Comm. 125. The power of doing whatever the laws permit. 1 B1.Comm. 6. The greatest amount of absolute liberty which can, in the nature of things, be equally possessed by every citizen in a state. Guaranteed protection against interference with the interests and rights held dear and important by large classes of civilized men, or by all the members of a state, together with an effectual share in the making and administration of the laws, as the best apparatus to secure that protection. See Civil rights. "
[Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed.]

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
[Preamble to the U.S. Constitution]

"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. 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 to 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."
[The Declaration of Independence (1776)]

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are benificient....The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
[Justice Brandeis in Olmstead v. U.S., 277 US 438, 479 (1927)]

"Those who framed our Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ever aware of subtle encroachments on individual liberty. They knew that 'illegitimate and unconstitutional practices get their first footing.... by silent approaches and slight deviations from legal modes of procedure.'"
[Boyd v. United States, 116 US 616, 635, 29 L.Ed. 746, (1886)]

"The history of liberty has largely been the history of the observance of procedural safeguards."
[Justice Felix Frankfurter in McNabb v. U.S., 318 US 332, 347 (1943)]

"Procedural fairness and regularity are of the indispensible essence of liberty."
Justice Robert Jackson in Shaughnesy v. U.S., 345 US 206, 224]

"Whatever 'liberty' may mean today, the liberty guaranteed by our bill of rights is a reservation to the individual of certain fundamental reasonable expectations involved in life in civilized society and a freedom from arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of the power and authority of those who are designated or chosen in a politically organized society to adjust relations and order conduct, and so are able to apply the force of that society to individuals. Liberty under law implies a systematic and orderly application of that force so that it is uniform, equal, and predictable, and proceeds from reason and upon understood grounds rather from caprice or impulse or without full and fair hearing of all affected and understanding of the facts on which official action is taken."
[Roscoe Pound - "The Development of Constitutional Guarantees of Liberty", Pg. 1]

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
[Benjamin Franklin]


free, a.; {ME. free, freo; AS. freo, frio, frig, free.}

1. (a) not under the control of some other person or some arbitrary power; able to act or think without compulsion or arbitrary restriction; having liberty; independent; (b) characterized by or resulting from liberty.
2. (a) having, or existing under a government that does not impose arbitrary restrictions on the right to speak, assemble, petition, vote, etc.; having political liberty; as a free people; (b) not under control of a foreign government.
3. able to move in any direction; not held, as in chains, etc.; not kept from motion; loose.
4. not held or confined by a court, the police, etc.; acquitted.
5. not held or burdened by obligations, debts, discomforts, etc.; unhindered; unhampered.
6. not confined to the usual rules or patterns; not limited by convention or tradition......
[Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary 2nd Ed. (1983)]


"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget ye were our countrymen."
[Samuel Adams]

"The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health whether bodily, mental, or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to the rest."
[John Stuart Mill "On Liberty"]

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