• A free society cherishes nonconformity. It knows that from the non-conformist, from the eccentric, have come many of the great ideas of freedom. Free society must fertilize the soil in which non-conformity and dissent and individualism can grow.
    ~ Henry Steele Commager
  • Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.
    ~ Henry Steele Commager
  • To yearn for a single, and usually simple, explanation of the chaotic materials of the past, to search for a single thread in that most tangled of all skeins, is a sign of immaturity.
    ~ Henry Steele Commager
  • Whether history will judge this war to be different or not we cannot say. But this we can say with certainty: a government and a society that silences those who dissent is one that has lost its way.
    ~ Henry Steele Commager, On Vietnam, 1966
  • History is a jangle of accidents, blunders, surprises, and absurdities, and so is our knowledge of it, but if we are to report it at all we must impose some order on it.
    ~ Henry Steele Commager
  • Our tradition is one of protest and revolt, and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past while we silence the rebels of the present.
    ~ Henry Steele Commager
  • If our democracy is to flourish, it must have criticism; if our government is to function, it must have dissent.
    ~ Henry Steele Commager
  • History is organized memory.
    ~ Henry Steele Commager
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