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Government Quotes


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Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

Politics resemble religion; attempting to divest either of ceremony is the most certain method of bringing either into contempt. The weak must have their inducements to admiration as well as the wise; and it is the business of a sensible government to impress all ranks with a sense of subordination, whether this be effected by a diamond, or a virtuous edict, a sumptuary law, or a glass necklace.

Power exercised with violence has seldom been of long duration, but temper and moderation generally produce permanence in all things.

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.

Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law.

States are not made, nor patched; they grow: Grow slow through centuries of pain.

Talk is cheap - except when Congress does it.

That government is best which governs least.

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.

That is the most perfect government under which a wrong to the humblest is an affront to all.

The actual achievement of democracy is that it gives a tolerably good time to the underdog. Or, at least, it tries; and it is, I think, for this reason that most of us accept it as our political creed.

The administration of government, like a guardianship, ought to be directed to the good of those who confer, not of those who receive the trust.

The aggregate happiness of society, which is best promoted by the practise of a virtuous policy, is, or ought to be, the end of all government.

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.

The best of all governments is that which teaches us to govern ourselves.

The culminating point of administration is to know well how much power, great or small, we ought to use in all circumstances.

The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern: every class is unfit to govern.

The fact that political ideologies are tangible realities is not a proof of their vitally necessary character. The bubonic plague was an extraordinarily powerful social reality, but no one would have regarded it as vitally necessary.


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