The Best Wendell Phillips quotes

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Phillips was born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 29, 1811. He was one of five children born to a family of abolitionists. Phillips attended Harvard University, where he became involved in the movement to abolish slavery. After graduating from Harvard in 1833, Phillips began practicing law. He quickly became a leader in the abolitionist movement and worked tirelessly to end slavery. In 1841, Phillips delivered a powerful speech entitled The Constitution on Trial that helped solidify his reputation as an eloquent and passionate advocate for abolitionism. Thanks to his tireless work, slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865. Phillips passed away on February 2, 1884 at the age of 72.

Discover the best Liberty, Agitation, World quotes from Wendell Phillips, and much more.


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About Wendell Phillips

birth of the author

November 29, 1811

death of the author

February 2, 1884

college of the author

Alma Mater:
Boston Latin School Harvard University Harvard Law School

occupation of the author


knownfor of the author

Known For:
Abolitionism, Advocacy For Native Americans


Eternal vigilence is the price of liberty. โ€” Wendell Phillips


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External vigilance is the price of liberty. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Whether in chains or in laurels, liberty knows nothing but victories. โ€” Wendell Phillips

The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten. โ€” Wendell Phillips

eternal vigilence is the price of liberty Wendell Phillips quote

The republic which sinks to sleep, trusting to constitutions and machinery, to politicians and statesmen, for the safety of its liberties, never will have any. โ€” Wendell Phillips

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Liberty knows nothing but victories. Soldiers call Bunker Hill a defeat; but liberty dates from it though Warren lay dead on the field. โ€” Wendell Phillips


Agitation is the atmosphere of the brains. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Our agitation, you know, helps keep yours alive in the rank and file. โ€” Wendell Phillips

agitation is the atmosphere of the brains Wendell Phillips quote

Agitation prevents rebellion, keeps the peace, and secures progress. Every step she gains is gained forever. Muskets are the weapons of animals. Agitation is the atmosphere of the brains. โ€” Wendell Phillips

The work resembles a breech deliveryโ€“one which is expressed in rhythmic lurches, stabs of phrase and vocal ornamentation designed to express agitation rather than decorative grace. โ€” Wendell Phillips


Right is the eternal sun; the world cannot delay its coming. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Every step of progress the world has made has been from scaffold to scaffold, and from stake to stake. โ€” Wendell Phillips

The best education in The world is that got by struggling to get a living. โ€” Wendell Phillips

right is the eternal sun the world cannot delay its coming Wendell Phillips quote

What the Puritans gave the world was not thought, but action. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Government arrogates to itself that it alone forms men. Everybody knows that government never began anything. It is the whole world that thinks and governs. โ€” Wendell Phillips

The slowest of us cannot but admit that the world moves. โ€” Wendell Phillips

There is nothing stronger than human prejudice. โ€” Wendell Phillips

If there is anything in the universe that can’t stand discussion, let it crack. โ€” Wendell Phillips

the best education in the world is that got by struggling to get a living Wendell Phillips quote

How prudently most men creep into nameless graves, while now and then one or two forget themselves into immortality. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Inspiring Phrases From Wendell Phillips

It is but the littleness of man that seeth no greatness in trifles. โ€” Wendell Phillips

The heart is the best reflective thinker. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Popular opinion is oftenest, what Carlyle pronounced it to be, a lie! โ€” Wendell Phillips

What is fanaticism today is the fashionable creed tomorrow, and trite as the multiplication table a week after. โ€” Wendell Phillips

it is but the littleness of man that seeth no greatness in trifles Wendell Phillips quote

To be as good as our fathers we must be better, imitation is not discipleship. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Politics is but the common pulseโ€“beat, of which revolution is the feverโ€“spasm. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Immoral laws are doubtless void, and should not be obeyed. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Various Statements From Wendell Phillips

Wants awaken intellect. To gratify them disciplines intellect. The keener the want the lustier the growth. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Let me make the newspapers, and I care not what is preached in the pulpit or what is enacted in Congress. โ€” Wendell Phillips

never forgive at the ballot box Wendell Phillips quote

Never forgive at the ballot box! โ€” Wendell Phillips

Redundant Thematics

In Wendell Phillips Statements


One on God’s side is a majority. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Seldom ever was any knowledge given to keep, but to impart; the grace of this rich jewel is lost in concealment. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Physical bravery is an animal instinct moral bravery is much higher and truer courage. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Today it is not big business that we have to fear. It is big government. โ€” Wendell Phillips

one on god s side is a majority Wendell Phillips quote

More Phrases From Wendell Phillips

I will utter what I believe today, if it should contradict all I said yesterday. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Baron Grimm declared that, as a rule, it was easy for little minds to attain splendid positions, because they devoted all their ability to the one object. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Truth is one forever absolute, but opinion is truth filtered through the moods, the blood, the disposition of the spectator. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Law is nothing unless close behind it stands a warm, living public opinion. โ€” Wendell Phillips

We measure genius by quality, not by quantity. โ€” Wendell Phillips

i will utter what i believe today if it should contradict all i said yesterday Wendell Phillips quote

Government is only a necessary evil, like other goโ€“carts and crutches. Our need of it shows exactly how far we are still children. All governing overmuch kills the selfโ€“help and energy of the governed. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Peace, if possible, but justice at any rate. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Deeper Quotes From Wendell Phillips

Write on my gravestone: ‘Infidel, Traitor.’, infidel to every church that compromises with wrong; traitor to every government that oppresses the people. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Exigencies create the necessary ability to meet and conquer them. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Hearts are stronger than swords. โ€” Wendell Phillips

exigencies create the necessary ability to meet and conquer them Wendell Phillips quote

Though plunged in ills and exercised in care, Yet never let the noble mind despair. โ€” Wendell Phillips

I think the first duty of society is justice. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Difference of religion breeds more quarrels than Difference of politics. โ€” Wendell Phillips

Let us always remember that he does not really believe his own opinion, who dares not give free scope to his opponent. โ€” Wendell Phillips


Wendell Phillips said, โ€œEqual rights are a matter of justice. If we do not have justice, we will not have equal rights. This is something that rings true for the modern age. We still have a lot of work to do in order to achieve equality, but it is important that we fight for it every day. And what better way to honor Wendell Phillips than by continuing his work and fighting for justice? Check out our courses page and find one that speaks to you. We can help you learn more about how to make change in your community and become an advocate for equality.

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