In politics, merit is rewarded by the possessor being raised, like a target, to a position to be fired at.
The humblest in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error.
It is the misfortune of all miscellaneous political combinations, that with the purest motives of their more generous members are ever mixed the most sordid interests and the fiercest passions of mean confederates.
Some have said that it is not the business of private men to meddle with government,—a bold and dishonest saying, which is fit to come from no mouth but that of a tyrant or a slave. To say that private men have nothing to do with government is to say that private men have nothing to do with their own happiness or misery; that people ought not to concern themselves whether they be naked or clothed, fed or starved, deceived or instructed, protected or destroyed.
By discharging our duty thoroughly and well, subordinating personal desires to principle, and personal ambition to an exalted love of country, we will not only receive the endorsement of the people, but, what is far better, we will deserve their endorsement.
A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation.—A politician looks for the success of his party; a statesman for that of his country.—The statesman wishes to steer, while the politician is satisfied to drift.
Party honesty is party expediency.
Our Government is a government by political parties under the guiding influence of public opinion. There does not seem to be any other method by which a republic can function.
To let politics become a cesspool, and then avoid it because it is a cesspool, is a double crime.
There is no gambling like politics.
Every political question is becoming a social question, and every social question is becoming a religious question.
Cicero was in politics a moderate of the most violent description.
Real political issues cannot be manufactured by the leaders of parties, and cannot be evaded by them.—They declare themselves, and come out of the depths of that deep which we call public opinion.
How little do politics affect the life, the moral life of a nation. One single good book influences the people a vast deal more.
I hate all bungling as I do sin, but particularly bungling in politics, which leads to the misery and ruin of many thousands and millions of people.
He serves his party best who serves the country best.
We shall have to fight the politician, who remembers only that the unborn have no votes and that since posterity has done nothing for us we need do nothing for posterity.
The violation of party faith, is, of itself, too common to excite surprise or indignation.—Political friendships are so well understood that we can hardly pity the simplicity they deceive.
If ever this free people—if this government itself is ever utterly demoralized, it will come from this incessant human wriggle and struggle for office, which is but a way to live without work.
People vote their resentment, not their appreciation. The average man does not vote for anything, but against something.
The politics of courts are so mean that private people would be ashamed to act in the same way; all is trick and finesse, to which the common cause is sacrificed.
I wonder if there is anyone in the world who can really direct the affairs of the world, or of his country, with any assurance of the result his actions would have.
Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.
A politician is like quick-silver: if you try to put your finger on him, you find nothing under it.
To be a chemist you must study chemistry; to be a lawyer or a physician you must study law or medicine; but to be a politician you need only to study your own interests.
Politics is the science of exigencies.
There is no Canaan in politics.—As health lies in labor, and there is no royal road to it but through toil, so there is no republican road to safety but in constant distrust.
Great political questions stir the deepest nature of one half the nation, but they pass far above and over the heads of the other half.
Jarring interests of themselves create the according music of a well-mixed state.
There is an infinity of political errors which, being once adopted, become principles.
There is among you the man who is not bound by party lines. You vote according to your common sense and your calm judgment after hearing each party set forth its program. To you I say that the strength of this independent thought is the great contribution of the American political system.
A politician—one that would circumvent God.
I know not where to look for any single work which is so full of the great principles of political wisdom, as the laws of Moses and the history of the kings of Israel and Judah.
The whole history of reparations has been a fight by the politicians to get paid, and a fight by the industrialists to prevent themselves being paid.
The man who can make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, grow on the spot where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and render more essential service to the country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
Nothing is more deceitful than the statements that what we need in politics is the business man. Politics are a business—at least they are a field in which experience tells for usefulness and effectiveness—and a man who has devoted his entire life to the successful establishment of a business is generally not the man who will be useful to the public in the administration of public business.
For my part, though I like the investigation of particular questions, I give up what is called "the science of political economy."—There is no such science.—There are no rules on these subjects, so fixed and invariable, that their aggregate constitutes a science.—I have recently run over twenty volumes, from Adam Smith to Professor Dew, and from the whole if I were to pick out with one hand all the mere truisms, and with the other all the doubtful propositions, little would be left.
A politician weakly and amiably in the right, is no match for a politician tenaciously and pugnaciously in the wrong.—You cannot, by tying an opinion to a man's tongue, make him the representative of that opinion; and at the close of any battle for principles, his name will be found neither among the dead, nor the wounded, but among the missing.
The strife of politics tends to unsettle the calmest understanding, and ulcerate the most benevolent heart.—There are no bigotries or absurdities too gross for parties to create or adopt under the stimulus of political passions.
Politics I conceive to be nothing more than the science of the ordered progress of society along the lines of greatest usefulness and convenience to itself.
There is scarcely anything more harmless than political or party malice. It is best to leave it to itself. Opposition and contradiction are the only means of giving it life or duration.
I resent at any time or at 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.