GOVERNMENt quotes, sayings
Few consider how much we are indebted to government, because few can represent how wretched mankind would be without it.
It is better for a city to be governed by a good man than even by good laws.
When any of the four pillars of government, religion, justice, counsel, and treasure, are mainly shaken or weakened, men had need to pray for fair weather.
A republican government is in a hundred points weaker than one that is autocratic; but in this one point it is the strangest that ever existed—it has educated a race of men that are men.
No government ought to exist for the purpose of checking the prosperity of its people or to allow such a principle in its policy.
Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.—It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.—Their passions forge their fetters.
The worst of governments are always the most changeable, and cost the people dearest.
It seems to me a great truth, that human things cannot stand on selfishness, mechanical utilities, economics, and law courts; that if there be not a religious element in the relations of men, such relations are miserable, and doomed to ruin.
The less of government the better, if society be kept in peace and prosperity.
The administration of government, like a guardianship, ought to be directed to the good of those who confer, not of those who receive the trust.
Though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.
A government for the people must depend for its success on the intelligence, the morality, the justice, and the interest of the people themselves.
The only choice which Providence has graciously left to a vicious government is either to fall by the people if they become enlightened, or with them, if they are kept enslaved and ignorant.
Governments are necessarily continuing concerns. They have to keep going in good times and in bad. They therefore need a wide margin of safety. If taxes and debt are made all the people can bear when times are good, there will be certain disaster when times are bad.
The less government we have the better—the fewer laws and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal government is the influence of private character, the growth of the individual.
We settle things by a majority vote, and the psychological effect of doing that is to create the impression that the majority is probably right. Of course, on any fine issue the majority is sure to be wrong. Think of taking a majority vote on the best music. Jazz would win over Chopin. Or on the best novel. Many cheap scribblers would win over Tolstoy. And any day a prizefight will get a bigger crowd, larger gate receipts and wider newspaper publicity than any new revelation of goodness, truth or beauty could hope to achieve in a century.
The proper function of a government is to make it easy for the people to do good and difficult for them to do evil.
The best of all governments is that which teaches us to govern ourselves.
Politics resemble religion; attempting to divest either of ceremony is the most certain method of bringing either into contempt. The weak must have their inducements to admiration as well as the wise; and it is the business of a sensible government to impress all ranks with a sense of subordination, whether this be effected by a diamond, or a virtuous edict, a sumptuary law, or a glass necklace.
All good government must begin in the home.—It is useless to make good laws for bad people.—Public sentiment is more than law.
The surest way of governing, both in a private family and a kingdom, is, for the husband and the prince sometimes to drop their prerogatives.
All government and exercise of power, no matter in what form, which is not based on love, and directed by knowledge, is tyranny.
The actual achievement of democracy is that it gives a tolerably good time to the underdog. Or, at least, it tries; and it is, I think, for this reason that most of us accept it as our political creed.
A mercantile democracy may govern long and widely; a mercantile aristocracy cannot stand.
This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
When Tarquin the Proud was asked what was the best mode of governing a conquered city, he replied only by beating down with his staff all the tallest poppies in his garden.
All free governments, whatever their name, are in reality governments by public opinion; and it is on the quality of this public opinion that their prosperity depends.
The principal foundation of all states is in good laws and good arms.
States are not made, nor patched; they grow: Grow slow through centuries of pain.
He that would govern others, first should be the master of himself, richly endued with depth of understanding and height of knowledge.
The culminating point of administration is to know well how much power, great or small, we ought to use in all circumstances.
Government is only a necessary evil, like other go-carts, and crutches. The need of it shows exactly how far we are still children.—All overmuch governing kills the self-help and energy of the governed.
The punishment suffered by the wise who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of bad men.
A king may be a tool, a thing of straw; but if he serves to frighten our enemies, and secure our property, it is well enough; a scarecrow is a thing of straw, but it protects the corn.
For forms of government let fools contest.—That which is best administered is best.
There be three sorts of government, monarchical, aristocratical, and democratical, and they are to fall three different ways into ruin: the first, by tyranny; the second, by ambition; the last, by tumults.—A commonwealth, grounded on any one of these, is not of long continuance; but wisely mingled, each guards the other and makes government exact.
Men well governed should seek after no other liberty, for there can be no greater liberty than a good government.
A man must first govern himself ere he is fit to govern a family; and his family ere he be fit to bear the government of the commonwealth.
Government owes its birth to the necessity of preventing and repressing the injuries which associated individuals have to fear from one another.—It is the sentinel who watches, in order that the common laborer be not disturbed.
They that govern most make least noise. In rowing a barge, they that do drudgery work, slash, puff, and sweat; but he that governs, sits quietly at the stern, and scarce is seen to stir.
Power exercised with violence has seldom been of long duration, but temper and moderation generally produce permanence in all things.
That is the most perfect government under which a wrong to the humblest is an affront to all.
Society is well governed when the people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the laws.
When men put their trust in God and in knowledge, the government of the majority is, in the end, the government of the wise and good.
The vigorous and growing opposition of organized labor to all schemes of government ownership in industry is one of the most hopeful and encouraging facts in American political life.
It may pass for a maxim in state, that the administration cannot be placed in too few hands, nor the legislation in too many.
If we can develop a class of educated men with nothing else to do but to better government, we ought to use them; and we ought to use them by having the profession of the politician recognized as essential to the welfare of the Republic.
No matter what theory of the origin of government you adopt, if you follow it out to its legitimate conclusions it will bring you face to face with the moral law.
The form of government is unimportant—the spirit everything.
While just government protects all in their religious rites, true religion affords government its surest support.
It is among the evils, and perhaps not the smallest, of democratic governments, that the people must feel before they will see.—When this happens, they are roused to action.—Hence it is that those kinds of government are too slow.
Government is not mere advice; it is authority, with power to enforce its laws.
The aggregate happiness of society, which is best promoted by the practise of a virtuous policy, is, or ought to be, the end of all government.
The very idea of the power and right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.
It is to self-government, the great principle of popular representation and administration, the system that lets in all to participate in its counsels, that we owe what we are, and what we hope to be.
Nothing will ruin the country if the people themselves will undertake its safety; and nothing can save it if they leave that safety in any hands but their own.
No government is respectable which is not just.—Without unspotted purity of public faith, without sacred public principle, fidelity, and honor, no mere forms of government, no machinery of laws, can give dignity to political society.
The true strength of rulers and empires lies not in armies or emotions, but in the belief of men that they are inflexibly open and truthful and legal. As soon as a government departs from that standard it ceases to be anything more than "the gang in possession," and its days are numbered.
Only free people can hold their purpose and their honor steady to a common end, and prefer the interest of mankind to any narrow interest of their own.
No man ever saw the people of whom he forms a part. No man ever saw a government. I live in the midst of the Government of the United States, but I never saw the Government of the United States.
The world must be made safe for democracy.
I resent at any time or any place the attitude that the safety of this country depends on any man holding his job. No man has achieved that strength, and this country has not deteriorated to that weakness.