No Progress Without Struggle!

No Progress Without Struggle! -

No Progress Without Struggle!

by Frederick Douglass

Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reforms.

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions,
yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The
conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being
putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor
freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing
up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the
ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be
both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing
without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people
will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong
which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted
with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed
by the endurance of those whom they oppress.


Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they
get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us,
we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by
sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.


From an address on West India Emancipation, August 4, 1857.