John Adams: "The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in the state."Commentary

The Free Press

“We hold it therefore our duty and safety whilst we are about the further establishing of this Government to collect and express all such freedoms as for present we foresee may concern us, and our posterity after us, And to ratify them with our solemn consent.”
Nathaniel Ward, pastor of Ipswich, in The Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641)

“The first human subject and original of civil power is the people…and when they are free, they may set up what species of government they please. The end of all good government is to cultivate humanity and promote the happiness of all, and the good of every man in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, honor, etc., without injury or abuse done to any.”
Rev. John Wise, Chebacco Parish of Ipswich (Essex), circa 1700

This afternoon, I have taken a long walk through the Neck, as they call it, a fine tract of land in a general field. Corn, rye, grass, interspersed in great perfection this fine season. I wander alone and ponder. I muse, I mope, I ruminate. We have not men fit for the times. We are deficient in genius, in education, in travel, in fortune, in every thing. I feel unutterable anxiety. God grant us wisdom and fortitude! Should the opposition be suppressed, should this country submit, what infamy and ruin! God forbid. Death in any form is less terrible!”
John Adams, writing from Ipswich, June 25, 1774

“The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth.”
John Adams, Samuel Adams, James Bowdoin (1780). Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Constitution of the United States, Amendment I

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Freedom of conscience, of education, of speech, of assembly are among the very fundamentals of democracy and all of them would be nullified should freedom of the press ever be successfully challenged.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as important as ever.”
President Ronald Reagan

“From this rock, tradition asserts that resisting the tyranny of Sir Edmund Andros, Major Samuel Appleton of Ipswich spoke to the people in behalf of those principals which later were embodied in the Declaration of Independence.”

Inscription on a plaque at Appleton’s Pulpit near the Saugus Iron Works. On September 19, 1687, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Samuel Appleton of Ipswich for being “factiously and seditiously inclined, and disaffected to his Majesty’s government.”

Categories: Commentary

Tagged as: ,