Quotes on Government, Governing, Politicians and Politics

“The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government.” Thomas Jefferson
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“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” George Washington
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“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” Patrick Henry
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“The country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institutions and monied corporations, and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy, the few will be ruling and riding over the plundered plowman and the beggar.” Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
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“In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of.” Confucius
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“Democracy [is] when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.” Aristotle
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“The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.” Charles-Louis De Secondat (1689-1755), Baron de Montesquieu, source: The Spirit of the Laws, 1748
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“The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.” Frank Kent
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“In the eyes of empire builders men are not men but instruments.” Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French Emperor
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“The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that the end justifies the means—to declare that the government may commit crimes—would bring terrible retribution.” Justice Louis D. Brandeis
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“The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds-where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough-a modest living-and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.” Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
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“A State divided into a small number of rich and a large number of poor will always develop a government manipulated by the rich to protect the amenities represented by their property.” Harold Laski (1930)
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“The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering - a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons - a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting - three hundred million people all with the same face.” George Orwell, 1984
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“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” J. Edgar Hoover
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“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” Tacitus, Roman senator and historian (A.D. c.56-c.115)
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“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd US president, principal author of the Declaration of Independence
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“Governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deducted from it.” Hebbel (1813-1863), German poet and dramatist
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“If the Soviet empire still existed, I’d be terrified. The fact is, we can afford a fairly ignorant presidency now.” Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
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“The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.” Joseph Stalin, Premier of the Soviet state, 1941-1953
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“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” James Bovard

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Index to Quotes


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