Take a look at these freedom of speech quotes that truly demonstrate the importance of unfettered expression.
Do you feel that you are listened to?
Everyone deserves to be heard, but sometimes it is easy to feel like our voices get drowned out.
When people think about their perceived “freedom of speech,” many aspects of that right are misunderstood, and the limits are often overlooked.
Contrary to some people’s belief, the 1st Amendment is not a permission slip to recklessly harass people or go around sharing false information.
For example, any words that are determined to promote incitement, defamation, fraud, or obscenity or are deemed fighting words or threats are not protected under the 1st Amendment.
In this piece, you will find quotes from those with full impunity to say what they want to those who are under-represented and too often silenced.
Hopefully, you will find inspiration or, at the very least, food for thought in these freedom-of-speech quotes.
Freedom of speech quotes from writers
Do you think about your Facebook statuses when you consider free speech?
1. “Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” – Henry Louis Gates
You will also enjoy our article on James Baldwin quotes.
2. “You win a debate with a better argument, not by force.” – Frank Sonnenberg
You will also enjoy our article on Sojourner Truth quotes.
3. “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell
You will also enjoy our article on Immanuel Kant quotes.
4. “Sometimes a people lose their right to remain silent when pressured to remain silent.” –Criss Jami
5. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall
6. “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.” – Oscar Wilde
7. “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”- John Milton
You will also enjoy our article on Sandra Day Oconnor quotes.
8. “It’s not unpatriotic to denounce an injustice committed on our behalf, perhaps it’s the most patriotic thing we can do.”- E.A Bucchianeri
You will also enjoy our article on Ronald Reagan quotes.
9. “Ultimately, saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.” – Edward Snowden
10. “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.” – William O. Douglas
11. “Freedom of speech is unnecessary if the people to whom it is granted do not think for themselves.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
12. “Free speech is unthinkable. All other kinds of freedom are permitted. You are free to be a drunkard, an idler, a coward, a backbiter, a fornicator; but you are not free to think for yourself.” – George Orwell
13. “Hot weather brings out snakes and slaveholders, and I like one class of the venomous creatures as little as I do the other. What a comfort it is, to be free to say so!” – Harriet Jacobs
14. “If my freedom of speech hurts your sentiment, no doubt you are SentiMental” ― Dr. P.S. Jagadeesh Kumar
15. “Having the freedom of speech doesn’t mean saying whatever you want, it means saying what’s humane, hateless and non-prejudicial.”― Abhijit Naskar
16. “I am well acquainted with all the arguments against freedom of thought and speech – the arguments which claim that it cannot exist, and the arguments which claim that it ought not to. I answer simply that they don’t convince me and that our civilisation over a period of four hundred years has been founded on the opposite notice.” – George Orwell
17. “Freedom of speech is a fallacy, it is not absolute. It can be hailed absolute only if the person possessing it, has the conscience to distinguish the right from the wrong, justice from injustice, acceptance from discrimination.” ― Abhijit Naskar
If you enjoy this article, check out our collection of free speech quotes celebrating free expression.
Freedom of speech quotes from politicians
18. “There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.” – Idi Amin
19. “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” – Ben Franklin
20. “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.” – Thomas Jefferson
21. “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington
22. “Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” – Ben Franklin
23. “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” – Harry Truman
Freedom of Speech quotes from Inspired Women
24. “Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.” – St. Catherine of Sienna
25. “The thing about freedom is that it defines its own borders.” – Laura Chouette
26. “Having a free press doesn’t mean anyone cares.” – Nell Zink
27. “Cancel culture is a term bounced around by people afraid of accountability. But freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.” – Monisha Rajesh
28. “To view the opposition as dangerous is to misunderstand the basic concepts of democracy. To oppress the opposition is to assault the very foundation of democracy.” – Aung San Suu Kyi
29. “The opinion that one cannot express an opinion, however potentially harmful, is the most dangerous of all.” – Luigina Sgarro
30. “Censors never go after books unless kids already like them. I don’t even think they know to go after books until they know that children are interested in reading this book, therefore there must be something in it that’s wrong.” – Judy Blume
31. “I know what it’s like to live in a place where people have no choices. What happens in a world like that, when you’re unable to speak out against something you think is wrong?” – Mary Lu
32. “The more you talk about something or someone or prevent them from expressing themselves, the more you give them strength, even – and perhaps above all – when you talk about them badly.”- Luigina Sgarro
33. “When my brothers try to draw a circle to exclude me, I shall draw a larger circle to include them. Where they speak out for the privileges of a puny group, I shall shout for the rights of all mankind.” – Pauli Murrag
34. “What else do we have to expose and investigate corruption and maintain informed citizenry? When all levels of government and justice system are abusing power, where can people go with claims of that abuse? Only the press.” – JoeAnn Hart
35. “The right to have the freedom of speech is a high Good, which is there to express ones thoughts and emotions to others in any manner without having to fear to be punished for.” –Vivian Schey
36. The only effective way that I know of to fight an idea that we believe to be potentially damaging to our values, principles, ideals, is to try to support the validity of alternative points of view.”- Luigina Sgarro
37. “Education is the way to move mountains, to build bridges, to change the world. Education is the path to the future. I believe that education is indeed freedom.”- Oprah Winfrey
Freedom of Speech Quotes about Children
38. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss
39. “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”— Margaret Mead
40. “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”— Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
41. “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”— Margaret Mead
42. “Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.”- Jess Lair
LBGTQ Community Members on the Freedom of Speech
43. “If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.” – Zanele Muholi
44. “It is absolutely imperative that every human being’s freedom and human rights are respected, all over the world.”– Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
45. “I am proud, that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.” – Karl Heinrich Ulrichs
46. “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” – Audre Lorde
47. “We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” – Bayard Rustin
48. “If a transvestite doesn’t say I’m gay and I’m proud and I’m a transvestite, then nobody else is going to hop up there and say I’m gay and I’m proud and I’m a transvestite for them.” – Marsha P. Johnson
49. “Only by speaking out can we create lasting change. And that change begins with coming out.” – Deshane Stokes
50. “It is against this God who kills that we are fighting and resisting.” – Alexya Salvador
Freedom of speech quotes about its importance
51. “Freedom of speech is a human right and the foundation upon which democracy is built. Any restriction of freedom of speech is a restriction upon democracy.” –Deeyah Khan
52. “We have freedom of speech, but you got to watch what you say.” –Tracy Morgan
53. “Freedom of speech and thought matters, especially when it is speech and thought with which we disagree. The moment the majority decides to destroy people for engaging in thought it dislikes, thought crime becomes a reality.” –Ben Shapiro
54. “We all have the right of freedom of speech under the First Amendment. We all don’t have to agree with one another on our opinions. Everyone in my circle, that I run around with, we all feel the same about God, country, integrity and character.” –Luke Scott
55. “Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion all have a double aspect – freedom of thought and freedom of action.” –Frank Murphy
56. “While people can differ on the issues, no one should seek to discourage freedom of speech.” –Stan Van Gundy
57. “Standing up for what you believe in, to me, is freedom of speech. And that’s a right that every American citizen has and what makes this country great.” –Will Muschamp
58. “There is no ageism or ‘youthism’ when it comes to freedom of speech. We are all citizens.” -Jacques Parizeau
59. “Being offended by freedom of speech should never be regarded as a justification for violence.” –Alan Dershowitz
60. “I fight, and have fought, for political freedom, for justice and for fairness and freedom of speech.” –Teresa Heinz
Freedom of Speech Quotes To Best Express Yourself
61. “The freedom of speech is an important yardstick for a society’s level of civilization.” ― Ai Weiwei
62. “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” ― Frederick Douglass
63. “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
64. “There is nothing more wonderful than freedom of speech.” ― Ilya Ehrenburg
65. “Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.” ― Salman Rushdie
66. “It is easy to believe in freedom of speech for those with whom we agree.” ― Leo McKern
67. “We do have freedom of speech, but if you say the wrong word, it looks like it makes headlines. So everybody has to be very careful.” ― Joe Arpaio
68. “The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum.” ― Adlai E. Stevenson
69. “Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend people.” ― Brad Thor
70. “I think freedom of speech is important but coupled with responsibility.” ― Brandon Boyd
Freedom Of Speech Quotes To Convey Your Right Of Free Speech
71. “Freedom of expression is a basic expression of freedom.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
72. “It is clear that not in one thing alone, but in many ways equality and freedom of speech are a good thing.” — Herodotus
73. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right.” — Anthony Horowitz
74. “Free speech is the cornerstone to every right we have.” — Mark Thomas
75. “Without freedom of speech there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.” — Ai Weiwei
76. “We don’t have the freedom of speech to talk about the weather. We have the first amendment so we can say some very controversial things.” — Ron Paul
77. “There is no such thing as free speech for some. You either have free speech for everyone or you don’t have free speech at all.” ― Thor Benson
78. “he first amendment protects free speech, but if you don’t have freedom of thought, do you really have freedom of speech?” — Rob Kampia
79. “Free speech and debate are essential in our search for the truth.” ― Frank Sonnenberg
80. “In a free state there should be freedom of speech and thought.” — Tiberius
Freedom of Speech Quotes To Best Express Yourself
81. “Freedom of speech encompasses precisely the freedom to annoy, to ridicule, and to offend.” ― Robert Spencer
82. “The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right to not agree, not to listen, and not to finance one’s own antagonists.” ― Ayn Rand
83. “We have to uphold a free press and freedom of speech – because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth.” ― Barack Obama
84. “Of what use is freedom of speech to those who fear to offend?” ― Roger Ebert
85. “Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.” ― George Orwell
86. “Where there is no freedom of speech, there is no conscience.” ― Ayaan Hirsi Ali
87. “It is not so much freedom of speech but the right to truth that great men protect.” ― Criss Jami
88. “Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth.” ― Liu Xiaobo
89. “A man is entitled to say whatever he wants to say. It’s America, freedom of speech.” ― Reggie Evans
90. “Freedom of speech gives you the right to stay silent.” ― Neil Gaiman
What did you learn from these freedom of speech quotes?
Most people would agree that the freedom to express themselves without hindrance is important to them.
As humans, we are innately creative beings and it is natural to desire full autonomy in how we choose to express ourselves.
However, we do live in a world where our expressions are accountable to the audiences we address.
Even though many people are well-intentioned in their speech, as a collective, we are all evolving how we address ourselves and each other.
It says a lot about humanity that more and more people are getting to share their voices.
After reading the expressions of those who have experienced the challenge of sharing their voice regardless of the difficulty, what do you think?
Do you feel free or limited in how you express yourself?
If there are limitations, are they self-imposed or from an outside source?
These are all great questions we can ask ourselves when thinking about our own freedom of speech.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these freedom of speech quotes and sayings?
Do you have any other inspirational quotes to add?
Let us know in the comment section below.