Quotes on Government, Governing, Politicians and Politics

“Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.” Franklin P. Adams (1881-1960), US journalist
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“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), Eldest son of President John Adams and sixth president of the US
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“The people are the ultimate guardians of their own liberties. In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.” Thomas Jefferson
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“The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.” Marie Beyle
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“The soul of our country needs to be awakened …When leaders act contrary to conscience, we must act contrary to leaders.” Veterans Fast for Life
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“The state has, in order to control us, introduced division into our thinking, so that we come to distrust others and look to the state for protection! But the roots of our individualism remind us that what we are is inseparable from the source from which all others derive; that coercive practices that threaten our neighbor also threaten us.” Butler Shaffer
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“The test of every religious, political, or educational system, is the man which it forms. If a system injures the intelligence it is bad. If it injures the character it is vicious. If it injures the conscience it is criminal.” Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881), source: Journal, 17 June 1852
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“The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.” Thomas Paine
(1737-1809)
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“There is absolutely nothing to be said for government by a plutocracy, for government by men very powerful in certain lines and gifted with ‘a money touch,’ but with ideals which in their essence are merely those of so many glorified pawnbrokers.” Theodore Roosevelt
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“There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.” Bertrand Russell
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“The true civilization is where every man gives to every other every right that he claims for himself.” Robert Ingersoll
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“These things I believe: That government should butt out. That freedom is our most precious commodity and if we are not eternally vigilant government will take it all away. That individual freedom demands individual responsibility. That government is not a necessary good but an unavoidable evil. That the executive branch has grown too strong, the judicial branch too arrogant and the legislative branch too stupid. That political parties have become close to meaningless. That government should work to insure the rights of the individual, not plot to take them away. That government should provide for the national defense and work to insure domestic tranquility. That foreign trade should be fair rather than free- That once a year we should hang someone in government as an example to his fellows.” Lyn Nofziger
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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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“This focus on money and power may do wonders in the marketplace, but it creates a tremendous crisis in our society. People who have spent all day learning how to sell themselves and to manipulate others are in no position to form lasting friendships or intimate relationships... Many Americans hunger for a different kind of society—one based on principles of caring, ethical and spiritual sensitivity, and communal solidarity. Their need for meaning is just as intense as their need for economic security.” Michael Lerner
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“Today democracy is a facade of plutocracy. Because the peoples will not tolerate naked plutocracy, power is nominally turned over to them, while real power rests in the hands of the plutocrats. In democracies, whether republican or monarchical, the statesmen are marionettes, and the capitalists are the wire pullers: they dictate the political guidelines, they control the voters by buying public opinion, through business and social connections [they control] higher government officials. The plutocracy of today is more powerful than the aristocracy of the past, because nothing stands above it except the state, which is its tool and helper.” Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, “Pan-european”, publicist and political figure, in his book Praktischer Idealismus (“Practical Idealism”), Vienna, 1925
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“Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals—that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government—that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen’s protection against the government.” Ayn Rand
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“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.” Henry David Thoreau
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“Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations.” Andrew Jackson, farewell address, 04 March 1837
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“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” H.L. Mencken
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“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” John Adams

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Index to Quotes


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