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  Political Quotes

Collected Quotes on Politics & Words to Live By


  • The following quotations have been accumulated for various sources and are thought to be accurate.
  • We are going to build a compendium of quotations relating to politics and applicable words to live by: Just for the fun of it!
  • They are listed alphabetically by first word(s), and will be updated and added to periodically.
  • Use your browser search function to find key words and authors.
  • If you would like to add your favorite political quote to the list please send it info @ mcsphones . com. Enjoy!


"A fanatic is one who won't change his mind and won't change the subject." -- Winston Churchill


"A few observations and much reasoning lead to error; many observations and a little reasoning to truth." -- Alexis Carrel

“A lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate.” -- Eric Idle

"Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often." -- Mark Twain

"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one." -- Cato the Elder


"All great changes are irksome to the human mind, especially those which are attended with great dangers and uncertain effects. " -- John Adams


"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" -- Abraham Lincoln


"Anarchism is a game at which the police can beat you." -- George Bernard Shaw


"Any problem can be made unsolvable, if you hold enough meetings to discuss it” -- unknown


"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties." -- Harry S. Truman


"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Sir Winston Churchill


“As always, victory finds a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan.” -- Count Galeazzo Ciano, The Ciano Diaries


"As soon as any man says of the affairs of state, "What does it matter to me?" That state may be given up for lost." Jeanne Jacque Rousseau


"A week is a long time in politics." -- Harold Wilson, British Prime Minister


"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds." -- Francis Bacon


"Be a listener only, keep within yourself, and endeavor to establish with yourself the habit of silence, especially in politics." -- Thomas Jefferson


"Better to be the architect of something you can endorse than the placard waving protagonist standing in the rain." -- Tim Woods, Communications Consultant


"Better to have him inside the tent pissing out, then outside the tent pissing in." -- Lyndon Johnson


"Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” -- Chinese Proverb


"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and Third by experience, which is the bitterest." -- Confucius


"Commitments the voters don't know about can't hurt you." -- Ogden Nash


“Crime is contagious....if the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law.” -- Justice Louis Brandeis


“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” -- George E. Woodberry


"Democracy is a bad system. The only trouble is that it is 8 times better than any other system man ever invented." -- Jubal Harshaw, character in "Stranger in a Strange Land,

Robert A. Heinlein.


“Democracy is too good to share with just anybody." -- Nigel Rees.


"Diplomacy --- the art of saying "Nice doggie" 'til you can find a stick." -- Wynn Catlin


"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking." William Butler Yeats


“Don't hate the media, become the media.” -- Jello Biafra


"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." -- Robert Louis Stevenson


"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war." -- Maria Montessori


"Even a little dog can piss on a big building." - Jim Hightower


"Even the best intentioned of great men need a few scoundrels around them; there are some things you cannot ask an honest ma to do." -- La Bruyere


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower


“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood.” -- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, passed unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in December, 1948


"Experts are just trained dogs." -- Albert Einstein


“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs - even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with these poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much. Be wise, they live in the gray twilight that know not of victory, nor defeat. Nor true sorrow nor true love.”  -- Theodore Roosevelt


"Finality is not the language of politics." -- Benjamin Disraeli


"Fortune may have yet a better success in reserve for you and they who lose today may win tomorrow." -- Cervantes


“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” -- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian


"Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." -- Napoleon Bonaparte


"Great deeds are usually wrought with great risks." -- Herodotus of Helicarnassus (484—424 BCE)


"Great men are very apt to have great faults; and the faults appear the greater by their contrast with their excellencies." -- Gerald J. Simmons


"Great obstacles make great leaders." -- Cree leader, Billy Diamond


“Half of the American people never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.” -- Gore Vidal


"Happiness is the exercise of one's vital abilities along the lines of excellence, in a life that affords them scope." -- Aristotle!


"Hell, I never vote for anybody. I always vote against." -- W.C. Fields


“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression.” -- Thomas Paine


“Highly developed spirits often encounter resistance from mediocre minds.” -- Albert Einstein


“How little my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” – Thomas Jefferson.


"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." -- Winston Churchill


 “Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” -- Douglas Adams


"Human kind cannot bear too much reality." -- T. S. Elliot


“I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” -- Thomas Carlyle


“I don't know exactly what democracy is. But we need more of it.” -- Anonymous Chinese Student, during protests in Tianamen Square, Beijing, 1989


"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson


"I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough." - Clarie Sargent, Arizona senatorial candidate


"I will make him an offer he can’t refuse." - Mario Puzo, The Godfather


"I've seen many politicians paralyzed in the legs as myself, but I've seen more of them who were paralyzed in the head." -- George Wallace


“If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states, then the juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty.” -- Justice Theophilus Parsons, 1788


"If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: PRESIDENT CAN'T SWIM." -- Lyndon B. Johnson


“If it wasn't for lawyers, we wouldn't need them.” -- Unknown


"If politicians lived on praise and thanks they'd be forced into some other line of business." -- Edward Heath, British Prime Minister


“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru' narrow chinks of his cavern.” -- William Blake (1757-1828)


"If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking." --  Lyndon B. Johnson


“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think they'll hate you.” -- Don Marquis


“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” -- Mark Twain


"In joining a political party, people shouldn't have to swear everlasting agreement with every jot and tittle of their party's policy manifesto. Debate, disagreement, argument, are good for democracy, not bad." -- William Watson, Columnist & McGill University Professor


"In political discussion heat is in inverse proportion to knowledge." -- J. G. C. Minchin


"In politics, madame, you need two things: friends, but above all an enemy." -- Brian Mulroney


"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain


"It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." -- Samuel Adams


“In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me--and by that time no one was left to speak up.” -- Pastor Martin Niemoller


"In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant." -- Charles de Gaulle


"In politics, nothing is contemptible." -- Benjamin Disraeli


“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is lord.” -- Machiavelli


“I repeat, that all power is a trust, that we are accountable for its exercise, and that, from the people, and for the people, all springs, and all must exist.” -- Benjamin Disraeli


"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them." -- Mark Twain


“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” -- Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"


“It is not only the juror's right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment and conscience, though in direct opposition to the instruction of the court.” -- John Adams, 1771


“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia – 1787


"It is much easier to be critical than to be correct." -- Benjamin Disraeli


“It is not best that we all should think alike; it is differences of opinion that make horse races.” -- Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)


"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt


“It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.” -- U.S. Supreme Court, in American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382,442


“It is the besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which the masses of men exhibit their tyranny.” -- James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)


"It is unnatural for a majority to rule, for a majority can seldom be organized and united for specific action, and a minority can." -- Jean-Jacque Rousseau


“It may not always be easy, convenient, or politically correct to stand for truth and right, but it is the right thing to do. Always.” -- M. Russell Ballard


“Jurors should acquit, even against the judge's instruction . . . if exercising their judgment with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong.” -- Alexander Hamilton, 1804


“Laws do not persuade just because they threaten.” -- Seneca, A.D. 65


“Leadership is an active, living process. It is rooted in character, forged by experience, and communicated by example.” -- John Baldoni


"Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve." -- Tom Landry


"Lighthouse: A tall building on the seashore in which the government maintains a lamp and the friend of a politician." -- Anonymous


“Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by the dozens.” - Montaigne


"Men are joined by conviction, sundered by opinion." -- Goethe


“Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties:

1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes.

2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests.

In every country these two parties exist, and in everyone where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.” -- Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824.


“Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong.” --Friedrich Nietzsche


"Modest proposals are better than grand designs: they serve the political function of registering concerns, but are too small to provoke opposition." -- Economist


 “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” - Oscar Wilde


“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” -- Abraham Lincoln


"No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country." -- George Smith Patton


"Nobody believes the official spokesman... but everybody trusts an unidentified source." -- Ron Nesen


"Noise proves nothing--often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid." -- Mark Twain


"Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory." -- John Kenneth Galbraith


"Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature." -- Kim Hubbard


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence,, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for awhile and then asked his grandfather "Which wolf wins?" And the grandfather simply replied: "The one you feed."


"One is defeated only when one accepts defeat."  -- Marshall Foch


"One who considers himself as 'middle-of-the-road' -- sets himself up to get hit from both directions!" -- Penny McCracken


"Once again we saw the phenomena of the three kinds of citizens in this country: The activists who campaign hard, the regular citizen who votes but does not otherwise participate and the truly tuned out who never even knows know when an election has been called.” Rod Love, Canadian Alliance campaign strategist


"Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is awfully hard to get it back in." -- H.R. Haldeman


“Once you have made up your mind, facts are but a mere annoyance.” – Unknown


"Opportunity doesn’t knock. You knock, opportunity answers." -- Proverb


"Our elections are free - it's in the results where eventually we pay." -- Bill Stern


"Political necessities sometime turn out to be political mistakes." -- George Bernard Shaw


"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers." -- Nikita Khruschev


"Politics: a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." -- Ambrose Pierce


"Politics are a labyrinth without a clue." -- John Adams


"Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds." Henry Adams


"Politics deserves much praise. Politics is a preoccupation of free men, and its existence is a test of freedom." -- Bernard Crick


"Politics is a game requiring great coolness." -- Sir John A Macdonald, Canadian Prime



"Politics is like football. If you see daylight, go through the hole." -- John F. Kennedy


“Politics is more difficult than physics.” -- Albert Einstein


“Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” -- Ronald Reagan


"Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable." -- John Galbraith


“Politics is the art of the possible.” -- Otto von Bismarck


“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” -- John Quincy Adams


"Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous." -- William Proxmire


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” ["Who will watch the watchers?"] -- Latin proverb


 “Silence gives consent.” -- Canon Law


"Something unpleasant is coming when men are anxious to tell the truth." -- Benjamin Disraeli


"Study the past if you would define the future." -- Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)


"Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get."  --Dale Carnegie


"Success is not a matter of mastering subtle, sophisticated theory, but rather of embracing common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence."  -Patrick Lencioni


“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.” -- Jean B. Colbert


“The believer is happy, the doubter wise.” -- Greek Proverb


"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." -- Winston Churchill


"The civilities of the great are never thrown away." -- Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")


"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." -- Albert Einstein


"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind." -- Sir Winston Churchill


"The golden rule has no place in a political campaign." -- John James Ingalls


"The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it." -- John Ruskin


"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” -- Plutarch


"The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop." P. J. O’Rourke


 “The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.” -- Mark Twain


“The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.” – Stendal


 “The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.” --Will Rogers


"The thing is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving."  -- Oliver Wendell Holmes


“The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.” --Mahatma Gandhi


"The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine. When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead." -- Gen. George S. Patton


“The two most abundant elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” – Robert Heinlein (Note: Also attributed to Harlan Ellison)


"The way my luck is running, if I were a politician I would be an honest man." -- Rodney Dangerfield


“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” -- Bertrand Russell


"There are no small steps in great affairs." -- Cardinal De Retz


"There are two kinds of fool. One says, 'This is old, and therefore good.' And one says, 'This is new, and therefore better’." -- Dean Inge


"There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there." -- Indira Gandhi


“There has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the power and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what is the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their power, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and find all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such laws.” -- Lysander Spooner, 1852


"There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune: Omitted, all the voyage of their lives Is bound in the shallows and in miseries… And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures." -- Shakespeare


"There is no more independence in politics than there is in jail." -- Will Rogers


"There seem to me to be very few facts, at least ascertainable facts, in politics." -- Sir Robert Peel, British Prime Minister


"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and repulse it." Thomas Paine, December 19, 1776


"They worry one another like mastiffs, scrambling for rank and pay like apes for nuts." --  John Adams


"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." -- Alexander Hamilton


"Those who would treat politics and morality apart will never understand the one, or the other." -- John, Viscount of Blackburn


"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." -- Anatole France


"To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice." -- Confucius


"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success."  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Today's headlines are tomorrow's birdcage lining." -- Anonymous


“True Terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


“Two of the gravest general dangers to survival are the desire for comfort and a passive outlook.” -- U.S. Army Ranger Handbook


"You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them." -- Malcolm Forbes


"Washington, D.C. is a city lying in the gutter, wallowing in hypocrisy. It has become a bizarre sinkhole of character assassination and smirking self-righteousness. It will eagerly cast not only the first stone but any other rocks that it can lay it hands on." -- Wall street Journal Editorial


"Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."

--Frank Outlaw


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit." -- Aristotle


“We can never solve our significant problems from the same level of thinking we were at when we created the problems.” -- Albert Einstein


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


"We have seen a growing mismatch between the command of media communication shown by the most talented politicians, and the halting, uneven progress which they can deliver through the machinery of government." -- Tom Bentley, Director of Demos, a British Think Tank


"We have two types of politicians - the incapable and those capable of anything." -- Slogan written on a wall in Paraguay, according to the Economist


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- U.S. Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776


"We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience." -- George Bernard Shaw


“We mean by 'politics' the people's business - the most important business there is.” -- Adlai Stevenson


"We must become the change we want to see in the world." - Mohandas Gandhi


"We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right." -- Nelson Mandela


"We often repent of what we have said, but never, never, of that which we have not." -- Thomas Jefferson


"We'd all like to vote for the best man but he's never a candidate." -- Kim Hubbard


“What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” -- Robert Schuller


When asked to name the chief qualification a politician should have. "It's the ability to foretell what will happen tomorrow, next month, and next year - and to explain afterward why it didn't happen." -- Sir Winston Churchill


“When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other in order that the people may require a leader.” -- Plato


“When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President -- I'm beginning to believe it.” -- Clarence Darrow


"When smashing monuments, save the pedestals – they always come in handy." -- Stanislaw Lec


“Whenever ‘A’ attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon ‘B’, ‘A’ is most likely a scoundrel.” -- H.L. Mencken


"Whenever a fellow tells me he is bipartisan I know he is going to vote against me." -- Harry Truman


“Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” -- Mark Twain, Notebook 1904


“Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat.” -- John Morley


“Wherever PUBLIC spirit prevails, liberty is secure.” -- Noah Webster (1758-1843)


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