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Quotes

It is a certain sign of a wise government and proceeding, when it can hold men’s hearts by hopes, when it cannot by satisfaction.

—Francis Bacon, 1625

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

—Anthony Burgess, 1972

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

—George Bernard Shaw, 1944

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

Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.

—Immanuel Kant, 1784

He may be a patriot for Austria, but the question is whether he is a patriot for me.

—Emperor Francis Joseph, c. 1850

No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or dispossessed or outlawed or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him, nor will we send against him except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

—Magna Carta, 1215

Written laws are like spiderwebs: they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful.

—Anacharsis, c. 550 BC

What experience and history teach is this—that nations and governments have never learned anything from history or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.

—Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, 1830

You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.

—Mario Cuomo, 1985

There is nothing more tyrannical than a strong popular feeling among a democratic people.

—Anthony Trollope, 1862

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