International Endowment for Democracy
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The Significance of Emancipation

By Frederick Douglass
August 3, 1857

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters... Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."


Source: "The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies." Speech, Canandaigua, New York. 
  
 
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