An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





The worst thing about slavery is that the slaves eventually get to like it.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Slavery is so intolerable a condition that the slave can hardly escape deluding himself into thinking that he is choosing to obey his master's commands when, in fact, he is obliged to. Most slaves of habit suffer from this delusion and so do some writers, enslaved by an all too "personal" style.


W. H. Auden (1907-1973, Anglo-American poet)


Men would rather be starving and free than fed in bonds.


Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973, American novelist)


Slavery is a weed that grows on every soil.


Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British political writer, statesman)


Captivity is the greatest of all evils that can befall one.


Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616, Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet)


Slavery can only be abolished by raising the character of the people who compose the nation; and that can be done only by showing them a higher one.


Maria Weston Chapman


It cannot in the opinion of His Majesty's Government be classified as slavery in the extreme acceptance of the word without some risk of terminological inexactitude.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Slavery is no more sinful, by the Christian code, than it is sinful to wear a whole coat, while another is in tatters, to eat a better meal than a neighbor, or otherwise to enjoy ease and plenty, while our fellow creatures are suffering and in want.


James F. Cooper (1789-1851, American novelist)


I pity them greatly, but I must be mum, for how could we do without sugar and rum?


William Cowper (1731-1800, British poet)


The art of being a slave is to rule one's master.


Diogenes of Sinope (c.410-320 BC, Cynic philosopher)


The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable.


Andrea Dworkin (1946-, American feminist critic)


The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable.


Andrea Dworkin (1946-, American feminist critic)


If you are living out of a sense of obligation you are slave.


Wayne Dyer (1940-, American  psychotherapist, author, lecturer)

Author's website:


Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!


Patrick Henry (1736-1799, American orator, patriot)


Slavery is an institution for converting men into monkeys.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Slavery is the first step towards civilization. In order to develop it is necessary that things should be much better for some and much worse for others, then those who are better off can develop at the expense of others.


Alexander Herzen (1812-1870, Russian journalist, political thinker)


To relive the relationship between owner and slave we can consider how we treat our cars and dogs -- a dog exercising a somewhat similar leverage on our mercies and an automobile being comparable in value to a slave in those days.


Edward Hoagland (1932-, American novelist, essayist)


You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation.


Billie Holiday (1915-1959, American jazz singer)


The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it.


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, American President (3rd))


A slave has only one master; an enterprising man has as many masters as there are people who may serve useful in bettering his position.


Jean De La Bruyere (1645-1696, French classical writer)


The man who has no inner life is the slave of his surroundings.


Thomas La Mance


Slavery is founded on the selfishness of man's nature -- opposition to it on his love of justice. These principles are in eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely as slavery extension brings them, shocks and throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


Today the large organization is lord and master, and most of its employees have been desensitized, much as were the medieval peasants who never knew they were serfs.


Ralph Nader (1934-, American lawyer, consumer activist)


If Negro freedom is taken away, or that of any minority group, the freedom of all the people is taken away.


Paul Robeson


Slaves lose everything in their chains, even the desire of escaping from them.


Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778, Swiss political philosopher, educationist, essayist)


Some slaves are scoured to their work by whips, others by their restlessness and ambition.


John Ruskin (1819-1900, British critic, social theorist)


The distinguishing sign of slavery is to have a price, and to be bought for it.


John Ruskin (1819-1900, British critic, social theorist)


The slave is doomed to worship time and fate and death, because they are greater than anything he finds in himself, and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970, British philosopher, mathematician, essayist)


Slavery may, perhaps, be best compared to the infantile disease of measles; a complaint which so commonly attacks the young of humanity in their infancy, and when gone through at that period leaves behind it so few fatal marks; but which when it normally attacks the fully developed adult becomes one of the most virulent and toxic of diseases, often permanently poisoning the constitution where it does not end in death.


Olive Schreiner


Slavery takes hold of few, but many take hold of slavery.


Marcus Annaeus Seneca (BC 3-65 AD, Roman philosopher, dramatist, statesman)


A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.


Lysander Spooner (1808-1887, American lawyer, libertarian)


Nobody had ever instructed him that a slave-ship, with a procession of expectant sharks in its wake, is a missionary institution, by which closely-packed heathen are brought over to enjoy the light of the Gospel.


Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896, American novelist, antislavery campaigner)


So long as the law considers all these human beings, with beating hearts and living affections, only as so many things belonging to the master -- so long as the failure, or misfortune, or imprudence, or death of the kindest owner, may cause them any day to exchange a life of kind protection and indulgence for one of hopeless misery and toil -- so long it is impossible to make anything beautiful or desirable in the best-regulated administration of slavery.


Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896, American novelist, antislavery campaigner)


Talk about slavery! It is not the peculiar institution of the South. It exists wherever men are bought and sold, wherever a man allows himself to be made a mere thing or a tool, and surrenders his inalienable rights of reason and conscience. Indeed, this slavery is more complete than that which enslaves the body alone... I never yet met with, or heard of, a judge who was not a slave of this kind, and so the finest and most unfailing weapon of injustice. He fetches a slightly higher price than the black men only because he is a more valuable slave.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


I cannot be fired. Slaves have to be sold.


Author Unknown


Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.


Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890, Dutch-born French painter)


The fact is, that civilization requires slaves. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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