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Henry Clay Quotes


Henry Clay, Sr., was a nineteenth-century American statesman and orator who represented Kentucky in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, where he served as Speaker. He also served as Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829.
(1777 - 1852)

A nation's character is the sum of its splendid deeds; they constitute one common patrimony, the nation's inheritance. They awe foreign powers, they arouse and animate our own people.
 

An oppressed people are authorized whenever they can to rise and break their fetters.
 

Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.
 

Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.
[Government]
 

I have heard something said about allegiance to the South. I know no South, no North, no East, no West, to which I owe any allegiance.
 

I would rather be right than President.
[Presidency]
 

If you wish to avoid foreign collision, you had better abandon the ocean.
 

In all the affairs of life, social as well as political, courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest to the grateful and appreciating heart.
[Politeness]
 

Of all human powers operating on the affairs of mankind, none is greater than that of competition.
 

Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.
 

Political parties serve to keep each other in check, one keenly watching the other.
[Party]
 

Sir, I would rather be right than be President.
 

Statistics are no substitute for judgement.
[Decisions]
 

The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity- unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.
 

The courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest to the grateful and appreciating heart. It is the picayune compliments which , are the most appreciated; far more than the double ones we sometimes pay.
[Courtesy]
 

There is no power like that of true oratory. Caesar controlled men by exciting their fears; Cicero, by captivating their affections and swaying their passions. The influence of the one perished with its author; that of the other continues to this day.
[Oratory]