Below are some of my favorites political quotes. If you have any recommendations please feel free to share them.
“Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness”
“It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.”
“It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.”
“It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.” “Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence”, Calvin Coolidge, July 5, 1926
“Duty is collective as well as personal. Law must rest on the eternal foundations of righteousness. Industry, thrift, character, cannot be conferred by act or resolve. Government cannot relieve from toil. Do the day's work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand patter, but don't be a stand patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don't be a demagogue. We need a broader, firmer, deeper faith in the people, a faith that men desire to do right, that the government is founded upon a righteousness which will endure.”
“Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. 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.”—Edmund Burke, A Letter from Mr. Burke, to a Member of the National Assembly, 1791, p 68. See also Edmund Burke, The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IV. (of XII), 1887, p 52
“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”—attributed to Abraham Lincoln however I was unable to find a source.
“I once knew a Swedish Clergyman in this city, who told me that when he preached in the Country, he always studied his Congregation first, and Afterwards his sermon. Something like this Should be done by legislators. They should perfectly understand the character of the people whom they represent, and Afterwards suit their laws to their habits and principles. I suspect the present Congress have neglected this important part of their duty.”—Dr. Benjamin Rush, “Letter to James Madison”, March 10, 1790
“Secondly, when believers seek to promote their positions in the public square, their methods and their advocacy should always be tolerant of the opinions and positions of those who do not share their beliefs. We should not add to the extremism that divides our society.”—Dallin H. Oaks, “Truth and Tolerance”, September 11, 2011
“America was long before that time a great and gallant nation. In the estimation of other nations we were so; the beneficent hand of Heaven enabled her to triumph, and secured to her the most sacred rights mortals can enjoy.” —Patrick Henry, ”Argument of Patrick Henry in the British Debt Cause”, 25 Nov 1791, Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches, Vol. 3, William Wirt Henry, p 612.
“Amongst the strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me more pain than the appellation of tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long and have given no decided proofs of my being Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character I prize far above all this world has or can boast." —Patrick Henry, ”Letter to his daughter, Betsy Aylett”, 20 Aug 20 1796
Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches, Vol. 2,William Wirt Henry, p 570.
“So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy. And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.” —Alexander Hamilton, “Federalist #1”,Saturday, October 27, 1787
“They tell us that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when will we be stronger? Will it be the next week or the next year? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature has put into our power.”—Patrick Henry, ”Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”, March 23, 1775
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.“—Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons, October 22, 1945
“… we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained;“—George Washington, Inaugural Address, April 1789
“A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenience above almost all else, and ours does. That has consequences we will explore. Among those consequences', however, is impatience with anything that interferes with personal convenience. Religion, morality, and law do that …”—Robert H. Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, 1996, p 9
“Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”—Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long, 1973
“I never doubted, for instance, the existence of a Deity—that he made the world and governed it by his providence— that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man—that our souls are immortal—and that all crimes will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter.”—Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, p 144-145
“For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896, Uncle Sam’s current running expenses were $352,231,470.28. In round millions pensions cost 139; war 51, navy 27; Indians 12; interest 35 [roughly 10% vs. 40% today]; civil and miscellaneous 87.”—William George Jordan, "The Greatest Nation on Earth", The Ladies Home Journal, Jul 1897
“If the Federal Government may enforce one unconstitutional law, it may enforce every unconstitutional law, and thus all the rights of the States and the people may fall one by one, before the omnipotence of that Government.”—Judge Abel P. Upshur, "An Exposition of the Virginia Resolutions of 1798; … No. VI", 1833
“We need in our country today less politics and more statesmanship, less party and more patriotism. We need an awakening to higher ideals. We need a higher conception of America's place and destiny in the evolution of the world. We need something nobler as a purpose than our self-satisfied complacency at the material prosperity of the nation, for there is a moral and ethical success that is never rung up on a cash-register. We need the scourging of the money changers out of the temple of legislation ― State and national. We need purifying and ennobling of the body politic. We need the clear clarion voice of a great inspiration to rouse the States to their duty ― not the gilded phrases of mere rhetoric, but the honest eloquence of a high and exalted purpose ...”—William George Jordan. "The House of Governors", 1907
"The Law", 1850 (PDF)
Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Daniel Webster On the Constitution and Religion
From a speech entitled “Eulogy on Washington”
delivered in Washington, DC on February 22, 1832.
Download the entire speech (Google Books, PDF)
"But, gentlemen, let us hope for better things. Let us trust in that gracious Being who has hitherto held our country as in the hollow of his hand. Let us trust to the virtue and the intelligence of the people, and to the efficacy of religious obligation. Let us trust to the influence of Washington's example. Let us hope that that fear of Heaven which expels all other fear, and that regard to duty which transcends all other regard, may influence public men and private citizens, and lead our country still onward in her happy career."—Daniel Webster, The speeches of Daniel Webster, and his masterpieces (PDF), 1854, pp. 261-262
"That, your committee are of opinion, considerable difficulties will attend the procuring the types and paper; that, afterwards, the risque of importing them will considerably enhance the cost, and that the calculations are subject to such uncertainty in the present state of affairs, that Congress cannot much rely on them: that the use of the Bible is so universal, and its importance so great, that your committee refer the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, your committee recommend that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the states in the Union:
Whereupon, the Congress was moved, to order the Committee of Commerce to import twenty thousand copies of the Bible”—The Journals of the Continental Congress, Sept 11, 1777