No Struggle, No Progress
Frederick Douglas, 1857
The whole history of progress of human liberty
Shows that all concessions
Yet made to her august claims
Have been born of earnest struggle.
If there is no struggle
There is no progress.
Those who profess to favor freedom,
And yet deprecate agitation,
Are men [and women] who want crops
Without plowing up the ground,
They want rain
Without thunder and lightning.
They want the ocean
Without the awful roar of its 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 any people
Will quietly submit to
And you have found the exact measure
Of injustice and wrong
Which will be imposed upon them,
And these will continue till they are resisted. . .
The limits. . . are prescribed
By the endurance
Of those whom. . [are] oppress[ed].
Men [and Women] may not get all they pay for
in this world, but they pay for all they get.
If we ever get free
from the oppressions and wrong heaped on us,
we must pay for their removal.
We must do this
and if needs be
by our lives and the lives of others