„The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history… But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it! Put it into the cold words of everyday! The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination – "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth". It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.“

Origine: 1920s, Prejudices, Third Series (1922), Ch. 8

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Henry Louis Mencken20
giornalista e saggista statunitense 1880 - 1956

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—  Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961

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Contesto: For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens. It’s true, a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, now acknowledge -- including Governor Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise as we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now. Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought -- the cause of slavery -- was wrong -- the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history; a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds. It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better, because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races striving to form a more perfect union. By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace.

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„Confederate soldiers from slaveholding families expressed no feelings of embarrassment or inconsistency in fighting for their own liberty while holding other people in slavery. Indeed, white supremacy and the right of property in slaves were at the core of the ideology for which Confederate soldiers fought“

—  James M. McPherson American historian 1936

Origine: 1990s, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (1997), p. 106
Contesto: These soldiers were using the word slavery in the same way that Americans in 1776 had used it to describe their subordination to Britain. Unlike many slaveholders in the age of Thomas Jefferson, Confederate soldiers from slaveholding families expressed no feelings of embarrassment or inconsistency in fighting for their own liberty while holding other people in slavery. Indeed, white supremacy and the right of property in slaves were at the core of the ideology for which Confederate soldiers fought.

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„All peoples have the right of self-determination.“

—  Alfred de Zayas American United Nations official 1947

Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the right of self determination http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IntOrder/Pages/Reports.aspx.
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„Free government is self-government. A government of the people by the people. The best government of this sort is that which the people think best.“

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„Let us resolve once more that we can best keep his memory bright by confirming our own resolution that government of the people by the people shall never perish on this earth.“

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Contesto: In the remote parts of that countryside where I was born and where old English phrases linger, though they may now be dying, even now I hear among those old people this phrase about those who die "He has gone home." It was a universal phrase among the old agricultural labourers, whose life was one toil from their earliest days to their last, and I think that that phrase must have arisen from the sense that one day the toil would be over and the rest would come, and that rest, the cessation of toil, wherever that occurred would be home. So they say, "He has gone home." When our long days of work are over here there is nothing in our oldest customs which so stirs the imagination of the young Member as the cry which goes down the Lobbies, "Who goes home?" Sometimes when I hear it I think of the language of my own countryside and my feeling that for those who have borne the almost insupportable burden of public life there may well be a day when they will be glad to go home. So Austen Chamberlain has gone home.... he had an infinite faith in the Parliamentary system of this country. Let us resolve once more that we can best keep his memory bright by confirming our own resolution that government of the people by the people shall never perish on this earth.

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„Who does not see that the blame of this return to the feral age is not of the soldiers who become barbaric and fierce in the fury of the battle, but of those powers and governments that, keeping peoples eager for freedom enslaved, make the wars inevitable?“

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Originale: (it) Chi non vede che la colpa di questo ritorno all'età ferina non è dei soldati che nel furor della lotta diventano barbari e feroci, ma di quelle potenze e di quei governi che, tenendo schiavi popoli anelanti a libertà, rendono le guerre inevitabili?

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Contesto: A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the Fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent.
For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, solemnly declare to the world that Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country and in fact it already has been so. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilise all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty.

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—  Alfred de Zayas American United Nations official 1947

Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on the right of self determination http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IntOrder/Pages/Reports.aspx.
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