Adlai Ewing Stevenson (1835-1914)

“A beauty is a woman you notice; a charmer is one who notices you.”

“Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs. And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven. You will go away with old, good friends. And don’t forget when you leave why you came.”

“You can tell the size of a man by the size of the thing that makes him mad.”

“I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.”

“It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.”

“All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.”

“She would rather light candles than curse the darkness and her glow has warmed the world.”

“Nature is neutral.”

“Public confidence in the integrity of the Government is indispensable to faith in democracy; and when we lose faith in the system, we have lost faith in everything we fight and spend for.”

“As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end.”

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”

“What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is for the most part incommunicable.”

“In quiet places, reason abounds.”

“The journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step. So we must never neglect any work of peace within our reach, however small.”

“The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.”

“He who slings mud generally loses ground.”

“The definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”

“When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.”

“He is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.”

“We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on it’s vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed, for our safety, to it’s security and peace. Preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love we give our fragile craft.”

“Freedom rings where opinions clash.”

“Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.”

“You will find that the truth is often unpopular and the contest between agreeable fancy and disagreeable fact is unequal. For, in the vernacular, we Americans are suckers for good news.”

“On the plains of hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory lay down to rest, and in resting died.” (it ain’t over till it’s over).”

“A hungry man is not a free man.”

“A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.”

“The time to stop a revolution is at the beginning, not the end.”

“It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”

“Journalists do not live by words alone, although sometimes they have to eat them.”

“Law is not a profession at all, but rather a business service station and repair shop.”

“The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal – that you can gather votes like box tops – is, I think, the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.”

“When you leave here, don’t forget why you came. ( to college graduates)”

“Ignorance is stubborn and prejudice is hard.”

“Flattery is all right so long as you don’t inhale.”

“Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity – in short, of tyranny – and it is committed to making tyranny universal.”

“A diplomat’s life is made up of three ingredients: protocol, Geritol and alcohol.”

“There is a spiritual hunger in the world today – and it cannot be satisfied by better cars on longer credit terms”

“Communism is the corruption of a dream of justice.”

“The relationship of the toastmaster to the speaker should be the same as that of the fan to the fan dancer. It should call attention to the subject without making any particular effort to cover it.”

“For my part I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance.”

“Accuracy to a newspaper is what virtue is to a lady; but a newspaper can always print a retraction.”

“We live in a time when automation is ushering in a second industrial revolution”

“We must recover the element of quality in our traditional pursuit of equality. We must not, in opening our schools to everyone, confuse the idea that all should have equal chance with the notion that all have equal endowments.”

“What do I believe? As an American I believe in generosity, in liberty, in the rights of man. These are social and political faiths that are part of me, as they are, I suppose, part of all of us. Such beliefs are easy to express. But part of me too is.”

“An Independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics.”

“Every age needs men who will redeem the time by living with a vision of the things that are to be.”

“We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.”

“The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty.”

“Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public.”

“It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.”

“I don’t want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school.”

“Man is a strange animal. He generally cannot read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.”

“Change is inevitable. Change for the better is a full-time job.”

“Nature is indifferent to the survival of the human species, including Americans.”

“”Via ovicpitum dura est”, or, for the benefit of the engineers among you: “The way of the egghead is hard.”

“The whole basis of the United Nations is the right of all nations – great or small – to have weight, to have a vote, to be attended to, to be a part of the twentieth century”

“I would rather be guilty of talking over a person’s head than behind his back.”

“Under the wide and starry sky. Dig the grave and let me lie.”

“In the long run, it is not the years in your life, but the life in your years that counts”

“A politician is a statesman who approaches every question with an open mouth.”

“On this shrunken globe, men can no longer live as strangers.”

“To strike freedom of the mind with the fist of patriotism is an old an ugly subtlety”

“The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.”

“Some people approach every problem with an open mouth.”

“Newspaper editors are men who separate the wheat from the chaff, and then print the chaff.”

“The human race has improved everything except the human race”

“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”

“Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.”

“To act coolly, intelligently and prudently in perilous circumstances is the test of a man-and also a nation.”

“The elephant has a thick skin, a head full of ivory, and as everyone who has seen a circus parade knows, proceeds best by grasping the tail of its predecessor.”

“The best reason I can think of for not running for President of the United States is that you have to shave twice a day.”

“That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another.”

“Freedom is not an ideal, it is not even a protection, if it means nothing more than the freedom to stagnate.”

“We have confused the free with the free and easy.”

“Laws are never as effective as habits.”

“A wise man who stands firm is a statesman, a foolish man who stands firm is a catastrophe.”

“Carelessness about our security is dangerous; carelessness about our freedom is also dangerous.”

“It will be helpful in our mutual objective to allow every man in America to look his neighbor in the face and see a man-not a color.”

“The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum.”

“This the first time I ever heard it said that the crime is not the burglary, but the discovery of the burglar.”

“An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff.”

“There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted, but now it happens to everybody.”

“Power corrupts, but lack of power corrupts absolutely.”

“I have tried to talk about the issues in this campaign… and this has sometimes been a lonely road, because I never meet anybody coming the other way.”

“I sometimes marvel at the extraordinary docility with which Americans submit to speeches.”

“In America, any boy may become president and I suppose that’s just one of the risks he takes.”

“Indeed there are some Republicans I would trust with anything – anything, that is, except public office.”

“A lie is an abomination unto the Lord, but a very present help in time of trouble”

“Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy; but good administration can never save bad policy.”

“Eggheads unite! You have nothing to lose but your yolks.”

“I’m not an old, experienced hand at politics. But I am now seasoned enough to have learned that the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.”

“After four years at the United Nations, I sometimes yearn for the peace and tranquillity of a political convention.”

“You know, you really can’t beat a household commodity – the ketchup bottle on the kitchen table.”

“In youth, everything seems possible; but we reach a point in the middle years when we realize that we are never going to reach all the shining goals we had set for ourselves, with what grace we can, to living with our ulcers and arthritis, our sense.”

“The most American thing about America is the free common school system.”

“We mean by ”politics” the people’s business – the most important business there is.”

“I believe that if we really want human brotherhood to spread and increase until it makes life safe and sane, we must also be certain that there is no one true faith or path by which it may spread.”

“I think that one of the most fundamental responsibilities is to give testimony in a court of law, to give it honestly and willingly.”

“What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility… a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”

“You are in the courtroom of world opinion. You have denied they exist, and I want to know if I understood you correctly. I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over. And I am also prepared to present the evidence in this room!”

“The New Dealers have all left Washington to make way for the car dealers.”

“We should be careful and discriminating in all the advice we give. We should be especially careful in giving advice that we would not think of following ourselves. Most of all, we ought to avoid giving counsel which we don’t follow when it damages those who take us at our word.”

“Golf is a fine relief from the tensions of office, but we are a little tired of holding the bag.”

“Nothing so dates a man as to decry the younger generation.”

“The Republicans stroke platitudes until they purr like epigrams.”

“Let us talk sense to the American people. Let us tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains.”

“A society can be no better than the men and women who compose it.”

“That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often become the height of wisdom in another.”

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