Quotes on Government, Governing, Politicians and Politics

“...because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.” Ben Franklin’s speech at the Constitutional Convention, Pennsylvania 1787
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“...free enterprise, [is] a term that refers, in practice, to a system of public subsidy and private profit, with massive government intervention in the economy to maintain a welfare state for the rich.” Noam Chomsky
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“...There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. ... Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing.” Daniel Webster, June 1, 1837
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“A centralized democracy may be as tyrannical as an absolute monarch; and if the vigour of the nation is to continue unimpaired, each individual, each family, each district, must preserve as far as possible its independence, its self-completeness, its powers and its privilege to manage its own affairs and think its own thoughts.” James Anthony Froude (1818-1894), author and historian, Short Studies on Great Subjects
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“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” James Bovard, Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (St. Martin’s Press: New York, 1994), p. 333
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“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” George Bernard Shaw (1944)
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“A great industrial Nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation and all our activities are in the hands of a few men.
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“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear.” Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), Roman statesman, philosopher and orator, 42 B.C., speech in the Roman Senate
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“A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one!” Alexander Hamilton
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“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” Thomas Jefferson
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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, The Spirit of the Laws, 1748
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“A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it.” John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, 1861
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“A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” James Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, 4 August 1822
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“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.” Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903-1987)
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“A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands—even for beneficial purposes—will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.” John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), English philosopher and economist
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“I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.” Richard Rumbold (?-1626), British Colonel - Source: His final words on the scaffold before he was hanged in 1685.
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“Abolish plutocracy if you would abolish poverty.” Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1877-1881), 19th President of the United States
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“An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, stays bought.” Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Secretary of War
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“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” Plutarch, Mestrius Plutarchus (c. 46 AD- 127 AD) was a Greek historian, biographer, and essayist.
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“Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Index to Quotes


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