Greatest Quotes Ever on America & Democracy

– compiled by Michael Josephson – Lots of cynics and clever pundits take potshots at the deficiencies of democracy ignoring the it great attributes.

Here are my favorite quotes lauding its virtues.

  1. America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.- Harry Truman
  2. It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. – Winston Churchill. –
  3. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. – Bill Clinton
  4. The essence of America — that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion — it is an idea — and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. – Condoleezza Rice
  5. We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. ~Abraham Lincoln
  6. America is great because America is good. If America ever stops being good, she will stop being great. – Alexis de Tocqueville
  7. No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. Abraham Lincoln
  8. The world must be made safe for democracy. Woodrow Wilson
  9. America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. – Abraham Lincoln
  10. It is not enough to merely defend democracy. To defend it may be to lose it; to extend it is to strengthen it. Democracy is not property; it is an idea. Hubert Humphrey
  11. True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
  12. The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy. H. L. Mencken
  13. Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is AMERICANS…~Thomas Paine
  14. America is the place where you cannot kill your government by killing the men who conduct it. Woodrow Wilson
  15. The people’s judgment is not always true: the most may err as grossly as the few. John Dryden
  16. 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
  17. Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people. Harry Emerson Fosdick
  18. The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That’s one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population — the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it’s the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it’s the fools that form the overwhelming majority. Henrik Ibsen
  19. Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold. Archibald MacLeish
  20. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. ~Martin Luther King Jr
  21. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. ~John F. Kennedy
  22. We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth, peace, security, liberty, our family, our friends, our home. . .But when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it is the result of duty done. ~Calvin Coolidge
  23. What we need are critical lovers of America – patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it. ~Hubert Humphrey
  24. This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in. – Theodore Roosevelt
  25. America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact – the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality. ~Adlai E. Stevenson
  26. The things that the flag stands for were created by the experiences of a great people. Everything that it stands for was written by their lives. The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history. ~Woodrow Wilson
  27. Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and its conscious that he gains protection while he gives it ~Andrew Jackson
  28. Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return. ~Colin Powell
  29. The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous. ~Frederick Douglass
  30. America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. – Harry Truman
  31. We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.~Mark Twain
  32. There is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America … there’s the United States of America. ~Barack Obama
  33. The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach. We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer. We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking! ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
  34. Two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. E. M. Forster
  35. Unless democracy is to commit suicide by consenting to its own destruction, it will have to find some formidable answer to those who come to it saying: I demand from you in the name of your principles the rights which I shall deny to you later in the name of my principles. Walter Lippmann
  36. Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. Reinhold Niebuhr
  37. Democracy is not so much a form of government as a set of principles. Woodrow Wilson
  38. 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 is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”- Eleanor Roosevelt
  39. Freedom is never granted. It is earned by each generation… in the face of tyranny, cruelty, oppression, extremism, sometimes there is only one choice. When the world looks to America, America looks to you, and you never let her down. – Hillary Clinton

 

 

 

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