President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

“You don’t lead by hitting people over the head-that’s assault, not leadership.”

“Dollars and guns are no substitutes for brains and will power.”

“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”

“There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs”

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog”

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

“Leadership is a word and a concept that has been more argued than almost any other I know. I am not one of the desk-pounding types that likes to stick out his jaw and look like he is bossing the show. I would far rather get behind and, recognizing the frailties and the requirements of human nature, would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.”

“When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”

“Pessimism never won any battle.”

“Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

“Work should be for all of us a word as honorable and appealing as patriotism.”

“Every gun that’s made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms… is spending the genius of its scientists, the sweat of its laborers.”

“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.”

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”

“We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.”

“Don’t join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.”

“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.”

“There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens can not cure.”

“In most communities it is illegal to cry “fire” in a crowded assembly. Should it not be considered serious international misconduct to manufacture a general war scare in an effort to achieve local political aims?”

“If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.”

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

“Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”

“The qualities of a great man are vision, integrity, courage, understanding, the power of articulation, and profundity of character.”

“The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice – their choice.”

“Americans, indeed all free men, remember that in the final choice a soldier’s pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner’s chains.”

“There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.”

“Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.”

“Remember that it is not by a tyrant’s words, but only by his deeds that we can know him.”

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

“I do not believe that any political campaign justifies the declaration of a moratorium on ordinary common sense.”

“The spirit of man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fiber of a nation more than its wealth”

“If the United Nations once admits that international disputes can be settled by using force, then we will have destroyed the foundation of the organization and our best hope of establishing a world order.”

“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”

“Our real problem, then, is not our strength today; it is rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow.”

“I have one yardstick by which I test every major problem – and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?”

“In the final choice a soldier’s pack is not so heavy as a prisoner’s chains.”

“Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.”

“When you are in any contest, you should work as if there were – to the very last minute – a chance to lose it. This is battle, this is politics, this is anything.”

“Don’t join the book burners… Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book.”

“The best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy.”

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.”

“Politics is a profession; a serious, complicated and, in its true sense, a noble one.”

“The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.”

“When the shallow critics denounce the profit motive inherent in our system of private enterprise, they ignore the fact that it is an economic support of every human right we possess and without it, all rights would soon disappear.”

“Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.”

“Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.”

“Morale is the greatest single factor in successful wars”

“I feel like the fellow in jail who is watching his scaffold being built.”

“Legislation to apply the principle of equal pay for equal work without discrimination because of sex is a matter of simple justice”

“Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply held religious belief – and I don’t care what it is.”

“There is, in world affairs, a steady course to be followed between an assertion of strength that is truculent and a confession of helplessness that is cowardly.”

“Why did we drop that god darn thing?”

“Do not needlessly endanger your lives until I give you the signal.”

“Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.”

“The world moves, and ideas that were once good are not always good.”

“The older I get, the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first – a process which often reduces the most complex human problems to manageable proportions”

“Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy.”

“Freedom bestows on us the priceless gift of opportunity – if we neglect our opportunities we shall certainly lose our freedom”

“The purpose is clear. It is safety with solvency. The country is entitled to both.”

“The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.”

“There is no victory at bargain basement prices.”

“From behind the Iron Curtain, there are signs that tyranny is in trouble and reminders that its structure is as brittle as its surface is hard.”

“I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center.”

“An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”

“It is far more important to be able to hit the target than it is to haggle over who makes a weapon or who pulls a trigger.”

“The sergeant is the Army.”

“When you put on a uniform, there are certain inhibitions that you accept.”

“I have found out in later years [that] we were very poor, but the glory of America is that we didn’t know it then.”

“’Worry’ is a word that I don’t allow myself to use.”

“If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it.”

“I deplore the need or the use of troops anywhere to get American citizens to obey the orders of constituted courts.”

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”

“Only Americans can hurt America.”

“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”

“We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it.”

“I feel impelled to speak today in a language that in a sense is new – one which I, who have spent so much of my life in the military profession, would have preferred never to use. That new language is the language of atomic warfare.”

“Few women, I fear, have had such reason as I have to think the long sad years of youth were worth living for the sake of middle age.”

“Our best protection against bigger government in Washington is better government in the states”

“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.”

“The most terrible job in warfare is to be a second lieutenant leading a platoon when you are on the battlefield.”

“The uninspected deteriorates.”

“I believe that without free enterprise there can be no democracy.”

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.”

“The free world must now prove itself worthy of its own past.”

“We face a hostile ideology (communism): global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method.”

“I believe that for the past twenty years there has been a creeping socialism spreading in the United States.”

“Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.”

“We are tired of aristocratic explanations in Harvard words.”

“I thought it completely absurd to mention my name in the same breath as the presidency.”

“I’m saving that rocker for the day when I feel as old as I really am.”

“Don’t think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.”

“I can think of nothing more boring for the American people than to have to sit in their living rooms for a whole half hour looking at my face on their television screens.”

“Things have never been more like the way they are today in history.”

“Some years ago I became president of Columbia University and learned within 24 hours to be ready to speak at the drop of a hat, and I learned something more, the trustees were expected to be ready to speak at the passing of the hat.”

 “We are proud because from the beginning of this nation man can walk upright no matter who he is or who she is. He can walk upright and meet his friend or his enemy… And he does not fear that, because that enemy may be in a position of great power… that he can be suddenly thrown in jail to rot here without charges and with no recourse to justice. We have the Habeas Corpus Act and we respect it.”

“I tell this story to illustrate the truth of the statement I heard long ago in the Army: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency you must start with this one thing: the very definition of ’emergency’ is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning.”

“The world is more like it is now then it ever has before.”

“There are a number of things wrong with Washington. One of them is that everyone is too far from home.”

“This desk of mine is one at which a man may die, but from which he cannot resign.”

“From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty.”

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