I Am An American Day Address

  • I Am an American Day Address

  • Learned Hand

    We have gathered here to affirm a faith, a faith in a common purpose, a common conviction, a common devotion.

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  • Some of us have chosen America as the land of our adoption;

  • the rest have come from those who did the same.

  • Learned Hand

    For this reason we have some right to consider ourselves a picked group, a group of those who had the courage to break from the past and brave the dangers and the loneliness of a strange land.

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  • Learned Hand

    What was the object that nerved us, or those who went before us, to this choice?

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  • Learned Hand

    We sought liberty;

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  • freedom from oppression, freedom from wants, freedom to be ourselves.

  • Learned Hand

    This we then sought;

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  • this we now believe that we are by way of winning.

  • What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty?

  • Learned Hand

    I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts.

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  • Learned Hand

    These are false hopes;

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  • believe me, these are false hopes.

  • Learned Hand

    Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women;

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  • when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.

  • Learned Hand

    While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.

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  • Learned Hand

    And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women?

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  • Learned Hand

    It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will;

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  • it is not freedom to do as one likes.