Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty (Quotation)
From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
Quotation: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
- "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."
Sources consulted: (searching on the phrase "eternal vigilance")
- Papers of Thomas Jefferson Digital Edition
- Ford's Works of Thomas Jefferson
- Lipscomb-Bergh Edition (via Google Books)
- UVA EText Jefferson Digital Archive: Texts by or to Thomas Jefferson from the Modern English Collection
- Thomas Jefferson Retirement Papers
Earliest known appearance in print, attributed to Jefferson: 1888
Other attributions: Patrick Henry, Junius
Status: We currently have no evidence to confirm that Thomas Jefferson ever said or wrote, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" or any of its variants.
Comments: This quotation was well-known in the nineteenth century, and was in fact used by a number of famous figures, including Frederick Douglass and James Buchanan. It is most often traced back, ultimately, to John Philpot Curran's statement, "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." While the form in question, "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," is most often attributed to Wendell Phillips, this form is in fact far older. The earliest appearance in print that we have been able to locate is 1800, and it is clear that this source is quoting yet an earlier (unnamed) source.
- ↑ x
- ↑ To establish the earliest appearance of this phrase in print, the following sources were searched for the phrases, "eternal vigilance" and "price of liberty": Google Books, Google Scholar, Amazon.com, Internet Archive, America's Historical Newspapers, American Broadsides and Ephemera Series I, Early American Imprints Series I and II, Early English Books Online, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, American Periodicals Series Online, JSTOR.
- ↑ A Friend of Temperance, "Non-partisanship;" or, "Do not take temperance into politics" (Philadelphia: Dunlap & Clarke, 1888), 124.
- ↑ See Suzy Platt, ed., Respectfully Quoted (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1993), 200.
- ↑ Ibid., 205.
- UVA EText Jefferson Digital Archive: Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government. "The Safest Depository." http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff0350.htm