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Aldems' Political Quotations: Apt & Otherwise

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Last updated: June, 2004


    "Let them hate, so long as they fear."
       -- Lucius Accius

    "The bedfellows politics made are never strange. It only seems that way to those who have not watched the courtship."
       -- Marcel Achard

    "Washington is like a self-sealing tank on a military aircraft. When a bullet passes through, it closes up."
       -- Dean Acheson

    "Controversial proposals, once accepted, soon become hallowed."
       -- Dean Acheson

    "A memorandum is written not to inform the reader, but to protect the writer."
       -- Dean Acheson

    "The first requirement of a statesman is that he be dull. This is not always easy to achieve."
       -- Dean Acheson

    "I doubt very much if a man whose main literary interests were in works by Mr. Zane Grey, admirable as they may be, is particularly equipped to be the chief executive of this country, particularly where Indian Affairs are concerned."
       -- Dean Acheson,
on Eisenhower

    "The greatest mistake I made was not to die in office. "
       -- Dean Acheson

    "Machiavelli's teaching would hardly have stood the test of Parliamentary government, for public discussion demands at least the profession of good faith."
       -- Lord Acton

    "The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern."
       -- Lord Acton

    "We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them."
       -- Abigail Adams

    "Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could."
       -- Abigail Adams

    "If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation."
       -- Abigail Adams

"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."
       -- Douglas Adams

    "Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody."
       -- Franklin Pierce Adams

    "Practical politics consists in ignoring facts."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central powerhouses. The conflict is no longer between the men, but between the motors that drive the men, and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forces."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "No man, however strong, can serve ten years as schoolmaster, priest, or Senator, and remain fit for anything else."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "A friend in power is a friend lost."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "Power is poison. Its effect on Presidents had always been tragic."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "Politics are a very unsatisfactory game."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "You can't use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!"
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams (quoting an unnamed Senator)

    "As a historian, he felt it his duty to respect everything that had ever been respected, except for the occasional statesman."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence to upset Darwin."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams,
The Education of Henry Adams

    "It is always good men who do the most harm in the world."
       -- Henry Brooks Adams

    "Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society."
       -- John Adams

    "The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries."
       -- John Adams

    "Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak."
       -- John Adams

    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
       -- John Adams,
1770

    "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

    "I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning that you may prepare your mind for your fate."
       -- John Adams

     "Oh! the wisdom, the foresight and the hindsight and the rightsight and the leftsight, the northsight and the southsight, and the eastsight and the westsight that appeared in that august assembly."
       -- John Adams
(on the U.S. Congress)

    "When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking or thinking I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more."
       -- John Adams

    "While all other sciences have advanced, that of government is at a standstill -- little better understood, little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago."
       -- John Adams

    "The Declaration of Independence I always considered as a theatrical show. Jefferson ran away with all the stage effect of that... and all the glory of it."
       -- John Adams,
(Letter to Benjamin Rush, 1811)

    "I must not write a word to you about politics, because you are a woman."
       -- John Adams
(to Abigail)

    "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy."
       -- John Adams

    "All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America rise ... from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation."
       -- John Adams,
1787, from a letter to Thomas Jefferson

    "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


    "Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: 'No man should have so much.' The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: 'All men should have as much.'"
       -- Phelps Adams

    "Advertising men and politicians are dangerous if they are separated. Together they are diabolical."
       -- Phillip Adams,

    "Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason."
       -- Samuel Adams

    "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds…"
       -- Samuel Adams

    "The art of politics consists in knowing precisely when it is necessary to hit an opponent slightly below the belt."
       -- Konrad Adenauer

    "It is folly for an eminent man to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution.
       -- Joseph Addison

    "The post of honor is a private station."
       -- Joseph Addison

    "No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority."
       -- Joseph Addison

    "It is easy to be brave from a safe distance."
       -- Aesop

    "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."
       -- Aesop

    "He collected audiences around him, and flourished and exhibited and harangued."
       -- Aesop

    "If you allow men to use you for your own purposes, they will use you for theirs."
       -- Aesop

    "Any excuse will serve a tyrant."
       -- Aesop

    "He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own."
       -- Aesop

    "Affairs are easier of entrance than of exit; and it is but common prudence to see our way out before we venture in."
       -- Aesop

    "The Truth which makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear."
       -- Herbert Agar,
A Time for Greatness

    "I didn't say I wouldn't go into ghetto areas. I've been in many of them and to some extent I would say this; if you've seen one city slum, you've seen them all."
       -- Spiro T. Agnew, Republican vice-president

    "From early on, everything I did was calculated to being elected to Congress,"
       -- Rep. Carl Albert (D-OK)

    "I very much dislike doctrinaire liberals -- they want to own your minds. And I don't like reactionary conservatives. I like to face issues in terms of conditions and not in terms of someone's inborn political philosophy."
       -- Rep. Carl Albert (D-OK)

    "Sooner or later, I need to begin to do what any candidate does in a presidential race; I need to begin to win."
       -- Lamar Alexander

    "It may be that a more subtle person would find for this thing a reason of greater subtlety: but such is the reason that I find, and that liketh me best."
       -- Dante Alighieri,
La Vita Nuova (1295)

    "The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crises maintain their neutrality."
        -- Dante Alighieri

    "There's not the least thing can be said or done, but people will talk and find fault."
       -- Dante Alighieri

    "Quotes from Mao, Castro, and Che Guevara... are as germane to our highly technological, computerized society as a stagecoach on a jet runway at Kennedy airport."
       -- Saul Alinsky

    "I believe there's something out there watching over us. Unfortunately, it's the government."
       -- Woody Allen

     "He's a politician. That's a notch below child molester."
       -- Woody Allen,
Annie Hall

    "Americans continue to suffer from a notoriously short attention span. They get mad as hell with reasonable frequency, but quickly return to their families and sitcoms. Meanwhile, the corporate lobbies stay right where they are, outlasting all the populist hysteria."
       -- Eric Alterman

    "Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other."
       -- Oscar Ameringer

    "I consider biennial elections as a security that the sober, second thought of the people shall be law."
       - Fisher Ames

    "Growing older, I have lost the need to be political, which means ... the need to be left. I am driven to grudging toleration of the Conservative Party because it is the party of non-politics, of resistance to politics."
       -- Kingsley Amis

    "The incestuous relationship between government and big business thrives in the dark."
       -- Jack Anderson

    "If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals."
       -- Susan B. Anthony

    "Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their

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