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Government quotes and quotations

There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.
Bertrand Russell

Let the people think they govern and they will be governed.
William Penn

Franklin Roosevelt stands like a sharply formed rock in a shapeless sea. spoken on Book TV by a Jackson biographer.
Justice Robert Jackson

For every action there is an equal and opposite government program.
Bob Wells

The true art of government consists in not governing too much.
Jonathan Shipley

Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.
Chester Bowles

You know what's interesting about Washington? It's the kind of place where second-guessing has become second nature.
George W. Bush

Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.
Harry S Truman

You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.
John Kenneth Galbraith

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
P. J. O'Rourke


Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.
Richard M. Nixon

So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
Sir Winston Churchill

States are great engines moving slowly.
Francis Bacon

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
Tom Robbins


It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
Voltaire

The manners of women are the surest criterion by which to determine whether a republican government is practicable in a nation or not.
John Quincy Adams

The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.
H. L. Mencken

After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.
Fred Thompson

I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
H. L. Mencken

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
Will Rogers

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
H. L. Mencken

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
William H. Borah

Fear is the foundation of most governments.
John Adams

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
Will Rogers

The declaration that our People are hostile to a government made by themselves, for themselves, and conducted by themselves, is an insult.
John Quincy Adams

Only a government that is rich and safe can afford to be a democracy, for democracy is the most expensive and nefarious kind of government ever heard of on earth.
Henry Louis Mencken

Let the people think they govern and they will be governed.
William Penn

Governments exist to protect the rights of minorities. The loved and the rich need no protection: they have many friends and few enemies.
Wendell Phillips

So that every wand or staff of empire is forsooth curved at top. [Lat., Adeo ut omnes imperii virga sive bacillum vere superius inflexum sit.]
Francis Bacon

It [Calvinism] established a religion without a prelate, a government without a king.
George Bancroft

A wise government knows how to enforce with temper, or to conciliate with dignity, but a weak one is odious in the former, and contemptible in the latter.
George Greenville

Talk is cheap - except when Congress does it.
Cullen Hightower

Yet if thou didst but know how little wit governs this mighty universe.
Mrs. Aphra Johnson Behn

A great writer is, so to speak, a second government in his country. And for that reason no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Which government is best? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labour of the industrious.
Thomas Jefferson

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
Henry Louis Mencken

"Whatever is, is not," is the maxim of the anarchist, as often as anything comes across him in the shape of a law which he happens not to like.
Richard Bentley

England is the mother of parliaments.
John Bright

A government must not waiver once it has chosen it's course. It must not look to the left or right but go forward.
Otto von Bismarck

The office of government is not to confer happiness, but to give men the opportunity to work out happiness for themselves.
W. E. Channing

The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.
Henry Louis Mencken

I am for Peace, for Retrenchment, and for Reform,--thirty years ago the great watchwords of the great Liberal Party.
John Bright

Not stones, nor wood, nor the art of artisans make a state; but where men are who know how to take care of themselves, these are cities and walls.
John Quincy Adams

So then because some towns in England are not represented, America is to have no representative at all. They are "our children"; but when children ask for bread we are not to give a stone.
John Bright

All government--indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act--is founded on compromise and barter.
Edmund Burke

Well, will anybody deny now that the Government at Washington, as regards its own people, is the strongest government in the world at this hour? And for this simple reason, that it is based on the will, and the good will, of an instructed people.
John Bright

And having looked to Government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them.
Edmund Burke

Support a compatriot against a native, however the former may blunder or plunder.
Sir Richard Francis Burton

Nothing's more dull and negligent Than an old, lazy government, That knows no interest of state, But such as serves a present strait.
Samuel Butler

A thousand years scarce serve to form a state; An hour may lay it in the dust.
Lord Byron

We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it.
Dave Barry

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
Edmund Burke

A good history covers not only what was done, but the thought that went into the action. You can read the history of a country through its actions.
Benjamin L. Hooks

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
William E. Borah

A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master.
George Washington

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom.
Edmund Burke

A government is not an old pair of socks that you throw away.
Boris Yeltsin

Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.
George Burns

A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.
Barry Goldwater

Truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go.
Gerald R. Ford