These are not your typical Fourth Of July patriotic quotes. They are idiosyncratic, honest, harsh at times and inspiring at others. I chose them for these reasons, because when we celebrate the birth of independence and the United States, we must also remember it’s long complicated history that got us here, if only to remind us that the road ahead will not be easy either, but it will be worthwhile if freedom for all people is what we truly believe in.
- Benjamin Franklin on why he disliked the idea of the bald eagle as the symbol of America and wanted a turkey instead:(Writing to his daughter Sally from France in January 1784):
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.”
“ “For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”
- Martin Luther King Jr. on freedom:”In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”
- Abraham Lincoln:“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
- Virginia Wolf, A Room of One’s Own:
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
- Frederick Douglass:from What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?
“ Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history — the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.
“Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost. ….
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. ….
“Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope.“
For more check out:
The full letter of Frederick Douglass on the Fourth of July
Huffington Post – 20 Inspiring Quotes About Freedom and Independence
MSN Living – Fourth of July Fun Facts
Goodreads – Quotes on Freedom