Quotations (useful for Debate, etc.)

  • Quotations


    "Ask not what your country can do for you: Ask what you can do for your country."  - John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1961


    "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" - Bible, Mark 8:36


    "The profit on a good action is to have done it." - Seneca, Letters to Lucilius (1st cen.), 81.20, trans. E. Phillips Barker


    "Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds." - George Eliot, Adam Bede (1859), 20


    "Men are all alike in their promises.  It is only in their deeds that they differ." - Moliere, The Miser (1668), I, trans. John Wood


    "There is something better, if possible, that a man can give than his life.  That is his living spirit to a service that is not easy, to resist counsels that are hard to resist, to stand against purposes that are difficult to stand against." -

    Woodrow Wilson, speech, May 30, 1919



    "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." - Shakespeare, As You Like It (1599-1600), 5.1.34


    "Knowledge is power." - Francis Backon, "De Haeresibus," Meditationes Sacrae (1597)


    "Knowledge is the true organ of sight, not the eyes." - Panchatantra (c. 5th cen.), 2, trans. Franklin Edgerton


    "What is it to be a philosopher?  Is it not to be prepared against events?" - Epictetus, Discourses (2nd cen.), 3.10, trans. Thomas W. Higginson



    "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." - Theodore Roosevelt, Labor Day Address, Syracuse, N.Y., 1903


    "There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers, by living productively." - Erich Fromm, Man for Himself (1947), 3  



    "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln


    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt


    "Carpe Diem!" (Seize the day!)


    "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." - Emerson, "Circles," Essays: First Series (1841)


    "That which does not kill me makes me stronger." - Nietzsche, "Maxims and Missiles," 8, Twilight of the Idols (1888), trans. Anthony M. Ludovici


    "Yield not thy neck / To fortune's yoke, but let thy dauntless mind / Still ride in triumph over all mischance." - Shakespeare, 3 Henry VI (1590-1591), 3.3.16


    "Happiness depends upon ourselves." - Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics (4th cen. B.C.), 1.9, trans. J.A.K. Thomson


    "There can be no progress if people have no faith in tomorrow." - John F. Kennedy, address, Inter-American Press Association, Miami Beach, Florida, Nov. 18, 1963


    "They can do all because they think they can." - Vergil, Aeneid (30-19B.C.), 5.231, trans. T.H. Delabere-May


    "There is no success without hardship." - Sophocles, Electra (c. 418-414 B.C.), trans. David Grene


    "Who, except the gods, / can live time through forever without any pain?" - Aeschylus, Agamemnon (458 B.C.), trans. Richmond Lattimore


    "A Wounded Deer - leaps highest." - Emily Dickinson, peom (c. 1862)


    "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller, Optimism (1903), I



    "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." - Chinese proverb


    "It is better to begin in the evening than not at all." - English proverb


    "If a man be self-controlled, truthful, wise, and resolute, is there aught that can stay out of the reach of such a man?" - Panchatantra (c. 5th cen.), 3, trans. Franklin Edgerton



    "As a rule, what is out of sight disturbs men's minds more seriously than what they see." - Julius Caesar, Gallic War (58-52 B.C.), trans. H.J. Edwards


    "He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity." - Ben Jonson, "Explorata," Timber (1640)


    "There is no man in this world without some manner of tribulation or anguish, though he be king or pope." - Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (1426), 1. 22


    "Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men." - Seneca, On Providence (1st cen.), 5.9


    "When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity." - John F. Kennedy, address, United Negro College Fund Convocation, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 12, 1959


    "He that lies on the ground cannot fall." - Yiddish Proverbs (1949)


    "It is folly to drown on dry land." - English proverb



    "It is easy to be brave from a safe distance." - Aesop, "The Wolf and the Kid," Fables (6th cen. B.C.?), trans. Joseph Jacobs


    "Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment." - Napoleon I, Maxims (1804-1815)


    "Courage is the thing.  All goes if courage goes." - J.M. Barrie, Rectorial Address, St. Andrew's, May 3, 1922


    "Courage is not a virtue or value among other personal values like love or fidelity.  It is the foundation that underlies and gives reality to all other virtues and personal values." - Rollo May, The Courage to Create (1975)


    "Fortune favors the brave." - Terence, Phormio (161 B.C.), trans. William A. Oldfather


    "To win without risk is to triumph without glory." - Corneille, Le Cid (1636), 2.2



    "What you are must always displease you, if you would attain to that which you are not." - St. Augustine, Sermons (5th cen.), 150


    "Just as a cautious businessman avoids tying up all his capital in one concern, so, perhaps, worldly wisdom will advise us not to look for the whole of our satisfaction from a single aspiration." - Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930), 2, trans. James Strachey


    "If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it;/ Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth." - Longfellow, "Elegiac Verse" (1881)


    "He who bears in his heart a cathedral to be built is already victorious.  He who seeks to become sexton of a finished cathedral is already defeated." - Saint-Exupery, Flight to Arras (1942), 22, trans. Lewis Galantiere


    "'Tis but a base, ignoble mind / That mounts no higher than a bird can soar." - Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI (1590-1591), 2.1


    "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." - Oscar Wilde, Lady Windemere's Fan (1892), 3


    "There is no object on earth which cannot be looked at from a cosmic point of view." - Dostoyevsky, "Critical Articles: Introduction," Polnoye Sobraniye Sochinyeni (Complete Collected Works, 1895), v. 9


    "Either dance well or quit the ballroom." - Greek proverb



    "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." - Francis Bacon, "Of Studies," Essays (1625)


    "The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries." - Descartes, Discourse on Method (1639), I


    "To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him, and travel in his company." - Andre Gide, "Third Imaginary Interview," Pretexts (1903)



    "Every production must resemble its author." - Cervantes, author's preface, Don Quixote (1605-1615), trans. John Ozell


    "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unhead/ Are sweeter." - John Keats, "Ode to a Grecian Urn" (1819)



    "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it." - George Santayana, The Life of Reason (1905-1906)


    "To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root." - Chinese proverb


    "All bad precedents began as justifiable measures." - Julius Caesar, quoted in Sallust's Conspiracy of Catiline (1st cen. B.C.), 51


    "The man who thinks only of his own generation is born for few." - Seneca, Letters to Lucilius (1st cen.), 79.17, trans. E. Phillips Barker


    "A man is wise with the wisdom of his time only, and ignorant with its ignorance.  Observe how the greatest minds yield in some degree to the superstitions of their age." - Thoreau, Journal, Jan. 31, 1853  


    "History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, revive its echoes, and kindlge with pale gleams the passion of former days." - Winston Churchill


    "To what a degree the same past can leave different marks - and especially admit of different interpretations." - Andre Gide, Journals, Sept. 1931, trans. Justin O'Brien  



    "Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life." - Mark Twain, Notebook (1935)


    "Life's like a play: it's not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters." - Seneca, Letters to Lucilius (1st cen.), 77.20, trans. E. Phillips Barker


    "Life has a meaning only if one barters it day by day for something other than itself." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Wisdom of the Sands (1948), 5, trans. Stuart Gilbert


    "There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." - Christopher Morley, Where the Blue Begins (1922)



    "Self-government requires qualities of self-denial and restraint." - John F. Kennedy, campaign address, Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 1960


    "Democracy is the superior form of government because it is based on a respect for man as a reasonable being." - John F. Kennedy, Why England Slept (1940)


    "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." - Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, House of Commons, November 1947


    "Democracy is when two wolves and a lamb vote on whom to have for lunch." -  Benjamin Franklin



    "Political action is the highest responsibility of a citizen." - John F. Kennedy, campaign remarks, Pat Clancy dinner, Astor Hotel, New York City, Oct. 20, 1960


    "The future lies with those wise political leaders who realize that the great public is interested more in government than in politics." - Franklin D. Roosevelt, speech, Washington, D.C., Jan. 8, 1940


    "All politics is local." - Tip O'Neill, Man of the House (1987)


    "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton, letter to Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1887


    "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion." - Edmund Burke, speech to the Electors of Bristol, Nov. 3, 1774


    "Nothing is more dangerous in wartime than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup Poll, always feeling one's pulse and taking one's temperature." - Sir Winston Churchill, speech, House of Commons, Sept. 30, 1941



    "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." - Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1907), 20


    "Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition." - Jacques Barzun, Teacher in America (1944)


    "Education is the movement from darkness to light." - Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (1987)


    "Only the educated are free." - Epictetus, Discourses (2nd cen.), 2.1


    "The direction in which education starts a man, will determine his future life." - Plato, The Republic (4th cen. B.C.), 4, trans. Benjamin Jowett


    "It is only the ignorant who despise education." - Publilius Syrus, Moral Sayings (1st cen. B.C.), 571, trans. Darius Lyman


    "We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing." - Emerson, Journals, 1839