Sunday, June 24, 2018
Opinion

For July 4, forefathers' defense of a free press

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.

Benjamin Franklin, July 1722

There is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a free press.

Samuel Adams, Boston Gazette, 1768

The freedom of speech may be taken away —and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter.

George Washington, to officers of the Army, 1783

Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power, and to withhold from them information without which power is abused. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.

James Madison, 1822

There's a terrific disadvantage not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily to an administration. Even though we never like it. Even though we wish they didn't write it. Even though we disapprove, there still isn't any doubt that we couldn't do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.

John F. Kennedy, 1962

Since the founding of this nation, freedom of the press has been a fundamental tenet of American life. There is no more essential ingredient than a free, strong and independent press to our continued success in what the founding fathers called our noble experiment in self-government.

Ronald Reagan, 1983

© 2017 New York Times

     
 
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