We all declare for liberty, but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatable names - liberty and tyranny.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to-day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the processes by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage, hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty.
Abraham Lincoln, Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland, April 18, 1864
Lincoln was talking about slavery, of course. But the analogy can be applied to other things. How about bosses who think they should be able to do whatever they fraking want, as opposed to workers having some rights? That isn’t the end of the possibilities.
The very ground of our Liberties, is the freedom of Elections.
John Adams, from his diary, August 1, 1761
I don’t have to detail who or what might be endangering this, right?
In spite of all the claims and examples of patriotism, which ought by no means to be undervalued, the testimony of all ages forces us to admit, that war is among the most dangerous of all enemies to liberty; and that the executive is the most favored by it, of all the branches of power.
James Madison, Political Reflections, February 23, 1799
On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten, that the vigour of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people, than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government.
Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 1, October 27, 1787