Self-Determination - Perspectives on self-determination



"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

—John Quincy Adams, 4 July 1821—

"We are glad … to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of the people … for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience…. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and freedom of the nations can make them."

—Woodrow Wilson, 2 April 1917—

"This is a principle of the Atlantic Charter—the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live—the restoration of sovereign rights and self-government to those peoples who have been forcibly deprived of them by the aggressor nations."

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1945—

"A despotism of the present Soviet type cannot indefinitely perpetuate its rule over hundreds of millions of people who love God, who love their country, and who have a sense of personal dignity. The Soviet system, which seeks to expunge the distinctive characteristics of nations, creed, and individuality must itself change or be doomed ultimately to collapse."

—John Foster Dulles, 1952—

"The United States doesn't now and never has advocated open rebellion by an undefended populace against force over which they could not possibly prevail."

—Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956—

"We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings…. This is not cultural imperialism, it is providing the means for genuine self-determination and protection for diversity…. It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy."

—Ronald Reagan, 8 June 1982—

"No society, no continent should be disqualified from sharing the ideals of human liberty…. Abandonment of the worldwide democratic revolution could be disastrous for American security."

—George H. W. Bush, 15 December 1992—

"Our dream is that of a day when the opinions and energies of every person in the world will be given full expression in a world of thriving democracies that cooperate with each other and live in peace."

—Bill Clinton, 27 September 1993—



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