Archive

Quotes

The U.S. presidency is a Tudor monarchy plus telephones.

—Anthony Burgess, 1972

The affairs of the world are no more than so much trickery, and a man who toils for money or honor or whatever else in deference to the wishes of others, rather than because his own desire or needs lead him to do so, will always be a fool.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1774

You have all the characteristics of a popular politician: a horrible voice, bad breeding, and a vulgar manner.

—Aristophanes, c. 424 BC

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

—George Bernard Shaw, 1944

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham.

—Frederick Douglass, 1855

People revere the Constitution yet know so little about it—and that goes for some of my fellow senators.

—Robert Byrd, 2005

To be turned from one’s course by men’s opinions, by blame, and by misrepresentation shows a man unfit to hold office.

—Quintus Fabius Maximus, c. 203 BC

In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1830

I shall be an autocrat: that’s my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me: that’s his.

—Catherine the Great, c. 1796

It is impossible to tell which of the two dispositions we find in men is more harmful in a republic, that which seeks to maintain an established position or that which has none but seeks to acquire it.

—Niccolò Machiavelli, c. 1515

Politics is the art of the possible.

—Otto von Bismarck, 1867

Whether for good or evil, it is sadly inevitable that all political leadership requires the artifices of theatrical illusion. In the politics of a democracy, the shortest distance between two points is often a crooked line.

—Arthur Miller, 2001

You should never have your best trousers on when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.

—Henrik Ibsen, 1882