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Q: historic statements ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: historic statements
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: sweetfa-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 08 Dec 2003 19:45 PST
Expires: 07 Jan 2004 19:45 PST
Question ID: 285137
What American said "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" and
what Roman emperor said "Why are you so eager to be slaves?"

Request for Question Clarification by juggler-ga on 09 Dec 2003 00:49 PST
You might consider breaking this up into two separate questions. 
Quite a bit of information is available for the source of the first
quotation. If the two were separated, a researcher could provide
information to you about the first quote while leaving the second
quote open to other researchers.

Request for Question Clarification by justaskscott-ga on 09 Dec 2003 12:50 PST
I have found a specific source for the first quotation.  If you do
break up the question as Juggler has suggested, I would be happy to
post it as an answer to the first question
Subject: Re: historic statements
Answered By: hlabadie-ga on 09 Dec 2003 14:50 PST
Both of these quotations have known authors, but in both cases the
authors are paraphrasing earlier statements.

1) What American said "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" was written by Wendell
Phillips in a speech delivered January 28, 1852. Phillips acknowledged
that the sentence was attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but that it had
not been found in any of Jefferson's works. Jefferson, it appears, was
of a similar sentiment, stating in several places that government
could not be trusted always to preserve freedom unless the people were
educated about the affairs of government and were ever vigilant in
their superintendence. Another source that is cited as having
contributed to Phillips' sentence is a speech delivered by John
Philpot Curran before the Privy Council on the election of the Lord
Mayor of Dublin, Ireland, July 10, 1790.

Requests for Information related to Thomas Jefferson Quotation

""Lethargy [is] the forerunner of death to the public liberty."
--Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787.

"We, I hope, shall adhere to our republican government and keep it to
its original principles by narrowly watching it." --Thomas Jefferson
to ------, March 18, 1793.   ME 9:45

"I do most anxiously wish to see the highest degrees of education
given to the higher degrees of genius and to all degrees of it, so
much as may enable them to read and understand what is going on in the
world and to keep their part of it going on right; for nothing can
keep it right but their own vigilant and distrustful superintendence."
--Thomas Jefferson to Mann Page, 1795.  ME 9:306"

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations.  1989.
NUMBER: 1054
AUTHOR: John Philpot Curran (1750-1817)

"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance;"

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations.  1989.
NUMBER: 1073
AUTHOR: Wendell Phillips (1811-84)

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty - power is ever stealing
from the many to the few."

World of Quotes - Liberty Quotes

2)what Roman emperor said "Why are you so eager to be slaves?"

"Why are you so eager to be slaves?", like the first quote, is not a
direct quotation. It appears to be derived from an interview given by
Gore Vidal, who was himself paraphrasing two sentences from the Roman
historian Tacitus. Vidal, in relating a supposed incident in the
relationship of Tiberius with the Senate early in his principate, said
that Tiberius, observing the subservience of the Senate, remarked with
disgust, "How eager they are to be slaves."

In fact, Tacitus relates in the Annals, Book III.65, that Tiberius,
offended by the habitual sycophancy of the Senate, was reported to
have remarked in Greek on more than one occasion upon leaving the
Senate House, "Oh, men ready for slavery!" (Tacitus gives only the
Latin translation, "O homines ad servitutem paratos!") This same
sentiment appears earlier in the Annals, Book I.2, where Tacitus
himself observes that the condition of the Senatorial class following
the Civil War won by Augustus Caesar was such that, "the remaining
nobles, the readier they were to be slaves, were raised the higher by
wealth and promotion..." ("...ceteri nobilium, quanto quis servitio
promptior, opibus et honoribus extollerentur...")

Gore Vidal, interviewed by Doug Henwood

"...Tiberius, who was a very brilliant man, and a patriot in his way.
When he became Emperor, the Senate passed a bill, assuring him that
any legislation that he sent them would be automatically accepted, and
become law. He sent back word and he said, "You're crazy. Suppose,
suppose the Emperor is mad, suppose he's ill, suppose there's a palace
coup and somebody else is sending things in his name? How can you be
so certain that what you're passing is really his, or should be
passed?" They sent it back: "Anything your Imperial Majesty sends us
is law for us." And Tiberius said, "How eager they are to be slaves.""

The Annals by Publius Cornelius Tacitus
Book 1 - (A.D. 14-15)

"He [Augustus] was wholly unopposed, for the boldest spirits had
fallen in battle, or in the proscription, while the remaining nobles,
the readier they were to be slaves, were raised the higher by wealth
and promotion, so that, aggrandised by revolution, they preferred the
safety of the present to the dangerous past."

Book 3 - (A.D. 20-22)

"So corrupted indeed and debased was that age by sycophancy that not
only the foremost citizens who were forced to save their grandeur by
servility, but every exconsul, most of the ex-praetors and a host of
inferior senators would rise in eager rivalry to propose shameful and
preposterous motions. Tradition says that Tiberius as often as he left
the Senate-House used to exclaim in Greek, "How ready these men are to
be slaves." Clearly, even he, with his dislike of public freedom, was
disgusted at the abject abasement of his creatures."

Latin text from:

Cornelii Taciti, Annalium, C.D. Fisher ed., Oxford University Press,
London, 1906-1963




Subject: Re: historic statements
From: hlabadie-ga on 09 Dec 2003 12:17 PST
Both of those quotations have been attributed, but are more properly
paraphrases. The second is certainly a combination of sentiments found
in Tacitus.


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