Favorite Quotations


“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – generally attributed to Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States (1743-1826)

“Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.” – Thomas Paine, English-born American Revolutionary (1737-1809)


“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 them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, blood and sweat, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with these cold and timid souls who know neither defeat nor victory.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain, too cheap, we esteem too lightly. ‘Tis dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to set a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”The American Crisis, Dec. 4, 1776; Thomas Paine, English-born American Revolutionary (1737-1809)

The greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes when you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes; because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain… Always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember: Others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win, unless you hate them. And then, you destroy yourself.” – Speech to White House Staff before his final departure, Aug. 9, 1974; Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States (1913-1994)

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours … In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.” Walden, 1854; Henry David Thoreau, American Author (1817-1862)

“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”America’s Mission, Feb. 22, 1899; William Jennings Bryan, American Statesman (1860-1925)

“This age will die not as a result of some evil, but from a lack of passion.” – Soren Kierkegaard, Danish Theologian (1813-1855)

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.” – Annual Message to Congress, Dec. 1, 1862; Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (1809-1865)


“What is right is not derived from the rule, but the rule arises from our knowledge of what is right.”  – Julius Paulus, Roman jurist

“God has ordained the two governments: the spiritual, which by the Holy Spirit under Christ makes Christians and pious people; and the secular, which restrains the unchristian and wicked so that they are obligated to keep the peace outwardly….The laws of worldly government extend no farther than to life and property and what is external upon earth. For over the soul God can and will let no one rule but himself. Therefore, where temporal power presumes to prescribe laws for the soul, it encroaches upon God’s government and only misleads and destroys souls. We desire to make this so clear that every one shall grasp it, and that the princes and bishops may see what fools they are when they seek to coerce the people with their laws and commandments into believing one thing or another.”  – On Secular Authority, Martin Luther; German Theologian and Father of The Protestant Reformation (1483-1546)

“Our Constitution was designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” – John Adams, 2nd president of the United States, 1789

…we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, Oct. 11, 1798; John Adams, 2nd President of the United States (1735-1826)

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” – Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents, Apr. 23, 1770; Edmund Burke, Scottish Statesman (1729-1797) (This quote has been popularly paraphrased as “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”)

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” – Martin Niemoller, German Theologian (1892-1984)

“A country is never as poor as when it seems filled with riches.”  – Laozi, founder of Daoism (604-531 BC)


“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (1884-1962)


“They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer- not an easy answer- but simple.”A Time For Choosing, Oct. 27, 1964; Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States (1911-2004)

“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein, German American Physicist (1879-1955)

“A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (1884-1962)


“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.” – Speech at Peoria, Ill., Oct. 16, 1854; Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (1809-1865)

“The bigger the state the smaller the citizen.” – Dennis Prager, American Political Commentator (b. 1948)

“Every helping hand is a controlling hand.”Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift; Paul Rahe, American Political Historian

“The only justifiable purpose of political institutions is to assure the unhindered development of the individual.” – Albert Einstein, German American Physicist (1879-1955)

“Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.” – Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States (1911-2004)

“Man will always be man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there’d be nothing to envy your neighbor. But there’s always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don’t have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.” – Danilov, Enemy at the Gates (2001)

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” – Adrian Rogers, American Theologian (1931-2005)

“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.” – generally attributed to Mark Twain, American Author (1835-1910)

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always vote for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.” – Elmer T. Peterson and H.W. Prentis (generally inaccurately attributed to Scottish Historian Alexander Tytler)

“Some malicious people, who like to meddle in other people’s affairs, try to hinder those who construct buildings from which they can see their neighbors… We do not consider a view of one’s neighbors to be a bad thing. Let he who thinks it is a bad thing take action to secure his own buildings and make them impregnable (to the eyes of strangers) either by installing what we call open railings, or with movable shutters, or in any way he thinks fit…”Book of the Eparch; Julian of Askalon, Byzantine Architect (circa 6th century A.D.)

“Be forewarned, the pooling of property and the redistributing of wealth are despotic and unconstitutional.” – Samuel Adams, American Patriot (1722-1803)

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” – James Madison, father of the Constitution (1751-1836)

“Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the ‘new, wonderful, good society’ which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean: more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher (106-43 B.C.)


“If sinners must be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies… and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay… and if Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned or unprayed for.” – Charles Spurgeon, British Theologian (1834-1892)

“We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” – Walking on Water, 1995; Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007)


“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel, French Fashion Designer (1883-1971)


“Be not careless in deeds, nor confused in words, nor rambling in thought.”Meditations, Book VIII, v. 52; Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (121-180 A.D.)

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (1884-1962)


“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – generally attributed to Mark Twain, American Author (1835-1910)

“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” – Letter to wife Abigail Adams, 1780; John Adams, 2nd President of the United States (1735-1826)


“I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in Politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” – Letter to Francis Hopkins, Mar. 13, 1789; Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States (1743-1826)


“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.” – Conan the Barbarian, in response to the question “What is best in life?” (1982)


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – generally attributed to Mark Twain, American Author (1835-1910)

“The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood.” – Journal Entry, Dec. 2, 1856; Sir Richard Burton, British Explorer

Words to Live By

If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation.” – Epictetus

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