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Slavery cannot tolerate free speech

Wise words from Frederick Douglass – in 1860.

“Slavery cannot tolerate free speech.” It seems to be me that the advocates of free speech are modern-day abolitionists.


“Douglass emphasized that the abolitionist meeting had been invaded not by lowlifes, but by “gentlemen” – by people who proclaimed “their respect for the law . . . while in the very act of breaking the law.” Then came his ringing defense of free speech – especially speech that goes against the interest of those in power and those with the most influence:…”

“No right was deemed by the fathers of the Government more sacred than the right of speech. It was in their eyes, as in the eyes of all thoughtful men, the great moral renovator of society and government. Daniel Webster called it a homebred right, a fireside privilege. Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down. They know its power. Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, founded in injustice and wrong, are sure to tremble, if men are allowed to reason of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come in their presence. Slavery cannot tolerate free speech. Five years of its exercise would banish the auction block and break every chain in the South. They will have none of it there, for they have the power. But shall it be so here?…”

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