Citizenship

Quotations: Citizenship

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
— Mohandas Gandhi, Indian nonviolent civil rights leader (1869-1948)

What do I owe to my times, to my country, to my neighbors, to my friends? Such are the questions which a virtuous man ought often to ask himself.
— Johann Kaspar Lavater, German poet and physiognomist (1741-1801)

What the people want is very simple. They want an America as good as its promise.
— Barbara Jordan, American congresswoman and professor (1936-1996)

A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.
— Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third U.S. president (1743-1826), in a letter to George Hammond, 1792

It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.
— Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third U.S. president (1743-1826), in a letter to George Logan, 1816

Public virtue is a kind of ghost town into which anyone can move and declare himself sheriff.
— Saul Bellow, American novelist (b. 1915)

Americanism is a question of principles, of idealism, of character: it is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent.
— Theodore Roosevelt, adventurer, politician and Nobel Prize-winning 26th U.S. president (1858-1919)

If we are forced, at every hour, to watch or listen to horrible events, this constant stream of ghastly impressions will deprive even the most delicate among us of all respect for humanity.
— Cicero (Marcus Tullius), Roman orator, philosopher and statesman (106-43 B.C.)

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, public philosopher and poet (1803-1882)

In a time of social fragmentation, vulgarity becomes a way of life. To be shocking becomes more important—and often more profitable—than to be civil or creative or truly original.
— Al Gore, politician and U.S. vice president (b. 1948)

Like the body that is made up of different limbs and organs, all moral creatures must depend on each other to exist.
— Hindu proverb

Politeness is the art of choosing among one’s real thoughts.
— Adlai Stevenson II, politician, U.S. presidential candidate (1900-1965)

Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value.
— Bertrand Russell, British mathematician and philosopher (1872-1970)

The essence of morality is the subjugation of nature in obedience of social needs.
— John Morley, British statesman and writer (1838-1923)

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, American adventurer and 26th president (1858-1919)

Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.
— John Stuart Mill, 19th-century English philosopher and economist

I believe… that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.
— Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and third president (1743-1826), in a letter to John Adams, 1816

Nine requisites for contented living: Health enough to make work a pleasure. Wealth enough to support your needs. Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them. Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished. Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor. Love enough to move you to be useful to others. Faith enough to make real the things of God. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, dramatist and scientist (1749-1832)

Happiness is knowin’ you’ve done a good job, whether it’s professional or for another person.
— Elvis Presley, American rock ‘n’ roll icon (1935-1977)

[Because power corrupts] Society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
— John Adams, American Founding Father and second U.S. president (1735-1826)

If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that avarice, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little, even at the risk of being heroes.
— Sir Thomas More in the movie A Man For All Seasons (1966, screenplay by Robert Bolt)

Character is the only secure foundation of the state.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th American president (1872-1933)

In a president, character is everything. A president doesn’t have to be brilliant… He doesn’t have to be clever; you can hire clever… You can hire pragmatic, and you can buy and bring in policy wonks. But you cant buy courage and decency, you cant rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him. He needs to have, in that much maligned word, but a good one nonetheless, a vision of the future he wishes to create.. But a vision is worth little if a president doesn’t have the character – the courage and heart – to see it through.
— Peggy Noonan, 20th century American author, speech writer for U.S. President Ronald Reagan

Politics ruins the character.
— Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor, founder of the German nation state (1815-1898)

Political interest [can] never be separated in the long run from moral right.
— Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and U.S. president (1743-1826), letter to James Monroe, 1806

I don’t like people who are in politics for themselves and not for others. You want that, you can go into show business.
— Elvis Presley, American rock ‘n’ roll icon (1935-1977)

You can only govern men by serving them.
— Victor Cousin, French philosopher (1792-1867)

Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy; but good administration can never save bad policy.
— Adlai Stevenson, American politician and presidential candidate (1900-1965)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (1901-1978)

We live in a stage of politics where legislators seem to regard the passage of laws as much more important than the results of their enforcement.
— William Howard Taft, 27th American president (1857-1930)

To insure the adoration of a theorem for any length of time, faith is not enough; a police force is needed as well.
— Albert Camus, French existentialist novelist (1913-1960)

Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police.
— Albert Einstein, Swiss-American mathematician, physicist and public philosopher (1879-1955)

There are not enough jails, not enough police, not enough courts to enforce a law not supported by the people.
— Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th American vice president (1911-1978)

Who will protect the public when the police violate the law?
— Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General (b. 1927)

There is, and always has been, one tremendous ruler of the human race — and that ruler is that combination of the opinions of all, the leveling up of universal sense which is called public sentiment. That is the ever-present regulator and police of humanity.
— attributed to Thomas B. Reed

The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
— Sir Robert Peel, British Prime Minister (1788-1850)

The police must obey the law while enforcing the law.
— Earl Warren, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1891-1974)

The duties which a police officer owes to the state are of a most exacting nature. No one is compelled to choose the profession of a police officer, but having chosen it, everyone is obliged to live up to the standard of its requirements. To join in that high enterprise means the surrender of much individual freedom.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th American president (1872-1933)

Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law nor democratic government will function properly.
— Vaclav Havel, President, Czech Republic

Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
— Sir Robert Peel, British Prime Minister (1788-1850)

Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches people by example. If the government becomes the law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law and invites every man to become a law unto himself.
— Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1856-1941)

He that’s cheated twice by the same man is an accomplice with the cheater.
— Thomas Fuller, English divine and author (1608-1661)

Civilizations should be measured by the degree of diversity attained and the degree of unity retained.
— W.H. Auden, English poet (1907-1973)

Provision for others is the fundamental responsibility of human life.
— Woodrow Wilson, 28th U.S. president (1856-1924)

We demand entire freedom of action and then expect the government in some miraculous way to save us from the consequences of our own acts…. Self-government means self-reliance.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. president (1872-1933)

A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.
— Adlai Stevenson II, American politician, presidential candidate (1900-1965)

There can be no high civility without a deep morality.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist and poet

We can really respect a man only if he doesn’t always look out for himself.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German playwright, poet, novelist (1749-1832)

When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.
— Arapaho (Native-American) proverb

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
— Chief Seattle (1784-1866) of the Duwamish, Suquamish, and allied Native American tribes, in an 1854 letter to President Franklin Pierce

It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.
— Leo Buscaglia, author and university professor (1924-1998)

These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.
— Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president (1809-1865)

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. President (1890-1969)

Cheat the earth and the earth will cheat you.
— Chinese proverb

Fairness is what justice really is.
— Potter Stewart, Supreme Court Justice (1915-1985)

If my neighbor is happy, my own work will go easier, too.
— Macedonian proverb

We’re all in this together.
— English proverb

Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered . . . just one kind word to another person.
— Fred Rogers, American educator and TV host (1928-2003)

Love your neighbor, but don’t tear down your fence.
— German proverb

If you don’t believe in working together, watch what happens to a wagon when one wheel comes off.
— American proverb

Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.
— John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach (1910-2010)

Avoid suspicion: when you’re walking through your neighbor’s melon patch, don’t tie your shoe.
— Chinese proverb

When people plant corn they are saying, let’s stay here. And by their connection to the land, they are connected to one another.
— Anne Raver, writer, environmentalist

In a community, it’s better for every person to have a little of something than for one person to have everything.
— African proverb

When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.
— Ethiopian proverb

Citizenship consists in the service of the country.
— Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian statesman, Prime Minister (1889-1964)

Bad officials are elected by poor citizens who do not vote.
— African proverb

We need to restore the meaning of that old word, duty. It is the other side of rights.
— Pearl S. Buck, American writer (1892-1973)

It never rains on your neighbors without you getting your feet wet.
— Chinese proverb

It is better to be kind to our neighbors than to cross the world to offer incense to our ancestors.
— African proverb

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.
— Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights leader (1929-1968)

Lock your door rather than suspect your neighbor.
— Lebanese proverb

Having drunk the country’s water, one should obey the country’s laws.
— Tibetan proverb

What is hateful to thyself do not do to another. That is the whole Torah [Law], the rest is Commentary.
— Hillel, ancient Jewish religious leader (c.110 B.C.E. – 10 C.E.)

There’s neither success nor efficiency without authority and laws.
— Irish proverb

A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle.
— Japanese proverb

He who slanders his neighbor makes a rod for his own back.
— Dutch proverb

We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed, for our safety, to its security and peace. Preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love we give our fragile craft.
— Adlai Stevenson, 31st Governor of Illinois (1900-1965)

Join the community; the wolf snatches only the stray sheep that wanders off from the flock.
— Hebrew proverb

A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn’t climb over it.
— Arthur Baer, American journalist, humorist (1886-1969)

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
— Aldo Leopold, American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist (1887-1948)

God save me from a bad neighbor and a beginner on the fiddle.
— Italian proverb

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
— Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights leader (1929 – 1968)

Serve your neighbors as you would be served yourself.
— Japanese proverb

A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit.
— Greek proverb

Laws control the lesser person. Right conduct controls the greater one.
— Chinese proverb