1.15.2006

power

Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.
Frederick Douglass, 1857

9 comments:

Granny said...

You'll be convinced I never have an original thought or that I'm lazy but I'm borrowing Mr. Douglas as well.

This country is sunk in apathy. We need a wakeup call.

Thank you.

L-girl said...

Hey, if I had original thoughts, why would I be quoting Mr Douglass? :)

This is one of my all-time favourite pieces of writing - so powerful, so eloquent, so unequivocal. Frederick Douglass was truly one of the greatest Americans.

Quote, quote and quote some more...

James said...

Hey, if I had original thoughts, why would I be quoting Mr Douglass?

Douglass is worth quoting by anyone, original thinkers or not.

L-girl said...

Very true. My silly quip actually came out a little worse for wear. To think I used to proofread for a living!

Wrye said...

I like the new corner banner. Hurrah to the sentiment!

Cornelia said...

Wonderful!!! Thanks so much for quoting him in detail. That really cheers me up...and I need some encouragement right now regarding the still ongoing problems with former boss from the callcenter job and some other trouble and winter hard on the attack over here, LOL...! Once again, thanks so much. It's really great!!!

Cornelia said...

Back then they did have to risk even their very lives because it was so dangerous and terrible. At least it is no longer that awful nowadays, at least for us...And at least I need no longer be bullied and emotionally abused by all the sadists and idiots in my past at school and otherwise for speaking out against honor murder and for women's rights and human rights. So probably we needn't let them intimidate us at all, right?

L-girl said...

Cornelia, you are very welcome!

I take strength and courage from this quote, and I'm so glad it helped you too!!

Cornelia said...

I am happy to hear that, Laura!!!