“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

The quote “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is often mistakenly attributed to the Irish lawyer and politician John Philpot Curran and frequently to Thomas Jefferson. In fact, Curran’s line was somewhat different. What he actually said, in a speech in Dublin on July 10, 1790, was:        “The condition upon which God … Read more

March 4th: a good day for famous presidential quotes – until 1933…

The date for the United States presidential inauguration was not specified in the original U.S. Constitution. In 1788, the Continental Congress set Inauguration Day as March 4. Then, in 1933, the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution changed it to January 20, reducing the outdated four-month lag between the time a president was elected and took … Read more

“A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing” for “the tree of liberty”…

In 1786, the new democratic government of the United States of America wasn’t quite working out like some Revolutionary War veterans had expected. Many had not been paid for their military service in local state militias or the Continental Army as promised. And, when they went back to their family farms, they found they were … Read more

Jefferson’s bloody “Tree of Liberty” quote still fertilizes freedom and fanaticism

One of the signs held by a gun-toting protester against the Democratic health care proposal earlier this year said “IT IS TIME TO WATER THE TREE OF LIBERTY!” This is a shorthand reference to an oft-used and abused quotation by Thomas Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the … Read more