Revolutionary War Quotes

That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights… namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

— Virginia bill of Rights, June 12, 1776

A government of laws, and not of men.

— 1774, Boston Gazette

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men… [no] controls on government would be necessary.

— James Madison.(chief author of the Constitution)

Tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right … Wherever the power, that is put in … hands for government of the people, and the preservation of their properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the arbitrary and irregular commands of those that have it; there it presently becomes tyranny…

— John Locke

… the present ministry [King George], being instigated by the devil and led by their wicked and corrupt hearers have a design to take away our liberties and properties, and to enslave us forever.

— 1774, some farmers in Farmington Connecticut

Reflect how you are to govern a people who think they ought to be free, and think they are not. Your scheme yields no revenue; it yields nothing but discontent, disorder, disobedience; and such is the state of America, that after wading up to your eyes in blood, you could only end just where you begun; that is to tax where no revenue is to be found, to — my voice fails me; my inclination indeed carries me no farther — all is confusion beyond it.

— Edmund Burke in his speech to Parliament on American Taxation, April 1774

The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered.

— Edmund Burke in his speech to Parliament on American Taxation, April 1774

I am not a Virginian, but an American.

— Patrick Henry in his speech in the First Continental Congress, October 14, 1774

No middle ground exists “between the supreme authority of Parliament and the total dependence of the colonies: it is impossible there should be two independent legislatures in one and the same state.

— Thomas Hutchinson, royal governor of Massachusetts

Why stand we here idle? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

— Patrick Henry – Speech in Virginia Convention March 1775

By my physical constitution I am but an ordinary man… Yet some great events, some cutting expressions, some mean hypocrisies, have at times thrown this assemblage of sloth, sleep, and littleness into rage like a lion.

— From the diary of John Adams April 1779

This is the Fourth?” – Thomas Jefferson, like his colleague, John Adams, died on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence – July 4, 1826

— Thomas Jefferson’s dying words
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