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Former President Harry S. Truman Speaks on Liberty and Justice in America, Post number 6 of 6

Liberty and justice under the rule of law are primary American principles. Our struggle to understand and execute them in our country never stops.

A beautiful and update restatement of how our Democracy should work comes from Former President, Harry S. Truman, in a little known address he made to Missouri Bar enrollees almost 60 years ago. This blog will serialize his remarks. (Quoted as it was printed in the June 1958 and November 2014 issues of the Journal of the Missouri Bar.)

"Since 1789 we have learned much about controlling the physical world around us. Perhaps our progress in learning the art of government has not been spectacular, but I, for one, believe the great experiment that we call the United States of America has taught much to mankind. We know more than our forefathers did about the maintenance of popular liberty. Hence, it should be easier, not harder, for us to preserve the spirit of the Republic, not in a marble shrine, but in human hearts. We have the knowledge; the question is, have we the will to apply it.

We cannot talk too much about liberty. It costs too much to get, and you cannot get it by asking for it. It takes blood and sweat and tears, as Sir Winston Churchill used to say, to get it, and it takes that to maintain it.


Whether we will preserve and extend popular liberty is a very serious question, but, after all, it is a very old question. The men who signed the Declaration faced it. So did those who wrote the Constitution. Each succeeding generation has faced it, and so far each succeeding generation has answered yes. I am sure that our generation will give the same answer."

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