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DISOBEDIENCE, n. The silver lining to the cloud of servitude.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Disobedience,” The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)

Included in The Devil's Dictionary (1911). Originally published in the "Devil's Dictionary" column in the San Francisco Wasp (1882-04-02).
Added on 16-Apr-24 | Last updated 16-Apr-24
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That society is badly arranged which forces nearly all women to be servants.

Henri Barbusse
Henri Barbusse (1873-1935) French novelist, poet, journalist, activist
Light, ch. 23 (1919)
Added on 21-Aug-23 | Last updated 21-Aug-23
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A brave people will certainly prefer liberty, accompanied by virtuous poverty, to a depraved and wealthy servitude.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
Added on 22-Jul-15 | Last updated 22-Jul-15
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If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated 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 sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!

Samuel Adams (1722-1803) American revolutionary, statesman
Speech, State House, Philadelphia (1776-08-01)
Added on 19-Aug-08 | Last updated 6-Mar-24
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Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.

[Namque pauci libertatem, pars magna iustos dominos volunt.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Histories, 4.69.18

    Alt. trans.:
  • "Few men desire freedom, the greater part desire just masters."
  • "Only a few prefer liberty, the majority seek nothing more than fair masters."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Jan-14
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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.

John Philpot Curran
John Philpot Curran (1750-1817) Irish lawyer and politician
Speech before Privy Council, Dublin (10 Jul 1790)

On the right of election of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. Commonly paraphrased: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
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