Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.
—Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) Indian Head of State
Be your own palace, or the world is your jail.
—John Donne (1572–1631) English Poet, Cleric
Elevated levels of confidence are omnipresent among history’s greatest overachievers. Benjamin Franklin, one of the most famous men in the world even before he signed the Declaration of Independence once lamented about humility, “I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue”.
—John Eliot (b.1971) American Psychologist, Academic
There’s no one to stop you but yourself.
—R. David Thomas (1932–2002) American Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
The first of earthly blessings, independence.
—Edward Gibbon (1737–94) English Historian, Politician
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.
—Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969) American Head of State, Military Leader
Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.
—Louis Brandeis (1856–1941) American Jurist
The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
The word independence is united to the ideas of dignity and virtue; the word dependence, to the ideas of inferiority and corruption.
—Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) British Philosopher, Economist
Independence may be found in comparative as well as in absolute abundance; I mean where a person contracts his desires within the limits of his fortune.
—William Shenstone (1714–63) British Poet, Landscape Gardener
There is often as much independence in not being led as in not being driven.
—Tryon Edwards American Theologian
I don’t need anyone to rectify my existence. The most profound relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves.
—Shirley MacLaine (b.1934) American Actor, Dancer, Author, Activist
Help yourself, and Heaven will help you.
—Jean de La Fontaine (1621–95) French Poet, Short Story Writer
The beauty of independence, departure, actions that rely on themselves.
—Walt Whitman (1819–92) American Poet, Essayist, Journalist, American, Poet, Essayist, Journalist
The best lightning-rod for your protection is your own spine.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
I am lord of myself, accountable to none.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
God loves to help him who strives to help himself.
—Aeschylus (525–456 BCE) Greek Playwright
I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
Those who really desire to attain an independence, have only set their minds upon it, and adopt the proper means, as they do in regard to any other object which they wish to accomplish, and the thing is easily done.
—P. T. Barnum (1810–91) American Businessperson, Entertainer
True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what’s right.
—Brigham Young (1801–77) American Mormon Leader
We carry our homes within us which enables us to fly.
—John Cage (1912–92) American Composer
The longer I am out of office, the more infallible I appear to myself.
—Henry Kissinger (b.1923) American Diplomat, Academician
Let all your views in life be directed to a solid, however moderate, independence; without it no man can be happy, nor even honest.
—Junius Unidentified English Writer
Even as people take pride in their national independence, we know we are becoming more and more interdependent.
—Bill Clinton (b.1946) American Head of State, Lawyer, Public Speaker
Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
—John F. Kennedy (1917–63) American Head of State, Journalist
The experiences of camp life show that a man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress. We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even in the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to life.
—Viktor Frankl (1905–97) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist
Do not depend on others.
In the word of no master am I bound to believe.
—Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BCE) Roman Poet
He is a good man whose intimate friends are all good, and whose enemies are decidedly bad.
—Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741–1801) Swiss Theologian, Poet