Who said, "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."?

I think it was Voltaire.... but, well, thats why I'm asking.........

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    In the paragraphs below, including links, I hope to persuade you that *direct* attribution of the quotation to Voltaire is imprecise and without a primary source. Thus, I suggest that attribution of the quote to Voltaire requires either brief explication or a notation indicating that the attribution is made without a primary source or date.

    The famous quote, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," is widely attributed to Voltaire (François Marie Arouet: 1694–1778); HOWEVER, it does not appear in his writings. Further, after research, although I found countless instances where the quote was attributed to Voltaire, I found none that also identified a specific work of Voltaire from which it came or a date that associated the quote and Voltaire.

    Additionally, the terms of the quote vary amongst sources. For example:

    "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it." http://web.archive.org/web/20041010004816/http://w...

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/cyc/l/libert...

    Rather than *direct* attribution to Voltaire, the better explanation appears to be that the variously worded quote is the product of an unknown author, writing after Voltaire, who attempted to capture the essence of Voltair's views on censorship.

    It may well have been a paraphrase of Voltaire's words either from his "Essay on Tolerance" (i.e., "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.") or from a letter he wrote to M. le Riche (i.e., "...I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.'').

    Please see:

    "Voltaire" at http://www.plexoft.com/SBF/V02.html and

    N. Guterman, "A Book of French Quotations," Doubleday & Company: New York (1963).

    It is also informative to read the quote as provided on the page of Professor Susan Shelby's website titled "Censorship / Freedom / Liberty." At that website and page, the quote, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," is shown as found in "The Friends of Voltaire" (1906) written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym S[tephen] G. Tallentyre.

    Please see:

    http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/cyc/l/libert...

    Although illuminating, I shall not include here the arguments of Evelyn Beatrice Hall recounting the imprecision of *direct* attribution of the quote to Voltaire; however, I urge you to read the material under "Voltaire" at the website titled "Stammtisch Beau Fleuve!"

    Please see:

    "Voltaire" at http://www.plexoft.com/SBF/V02.html

  • 5 years ago

    Source/Notes:

    Attributed to Voltaire, but first used by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G Tallentyre in the book "The Friends of Voltaire" (1906), as a summary of Voltaire's beliefs. Variant: "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

    Read more at http://izquotes.com/quote/334856

  • patao
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Evelyn Beatrice Hall

  • Nancy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/awZPM

    The words are not Voltaire's. They were written in 1906 by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in the biography "The Friends of Voltaire". However, Voltaire did write "Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write". I humbly disagree. I am not going to put my neck on the line so that groups like the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church can continue their hateful rants.

    • Bob3 years agoReport

      @Sheena I completely agree. For example: I disagree with many street preaching Christians like the Westbro ones, but I don't think they should be penalized for i, or legally restricted from doing so. To prevent them from picketing funerals, it events like such should be for invitees only for example

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  • 4 years ago

    Abraham Lincoln

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    RE:

    Who said, "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."?

    I think it was Voltaire.... but, well, thats why I'm asking.........

  • 6 years ago

    Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote it in her Biography of Voltaire, called "The Friends of Voltaire". Evelyn Beatrice Hall also wrote under the pen name of "S.G. Tallentyre". She wrote the piece back in 1906. This is why Voltaire is often the one who gets the credit for the saying, but he did not write it and it is not in any of his writings.

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    It depends..

  • 4 years ago

    umm wtf is this **** on about hahahahaha

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