I really enjoyed reading The Book Of Man by William J. Bennett (you can read my book review here). The topics were very broad, so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite quotes on the different sections in this book over the next few days.
Here are nine quotes about political activity…
“Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” —John D. Rockefeller
Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly . . .
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
“This nation—where the people rule—is governed by the people, for the people, and so long as it is, then the office-holder is but the servant of the people, and the Bible says the servant cannot be greater than the master. The Bible says, ‘He that is sent cannot be greater than Him who sent Him.’ … Greatness consists not in the holding of some future office, but in doing great deeds with little means and the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life. To be great at all one must be great here, now….” —Russell Conwell
“Nothing worth gaining is ever gained without effort. You can no more have freedom without striving and suffering for it than you can win success as a banker or a lawyer without labor and effort, without self-denial in youth and the display of a ready and alert intelligence in middle age. The people who say that they have not time to attend to politics are simply saying that they are unfit to live in a free community. …In facing the future and in striving, each according to the measure of his individual capacity, to work out the salvation of our land, we should be neither timid pessimists nor foolish optimists. We should recognize the dangers that exist and that threaten us: we should neither overestimate them nor shrink from them, but steadily fronting them should set to work to overcome and beat them down.” —Theodore Roosevelt
“There can be no government, or nothing worthy of the name, where there is no religion. …What is the value of a well-worded law if there be not virtue enough in the community to enforce it? It is not worth the paper upon which it is written. …Then let us not be afraid, my brethren, to mix a little more religion with politics. …Let us earnestly exhort and entreat them to respect the law of God; and let us try their actions by that law, as revealed in His holy word. And, as in the presence of Jehovah, let us solemnly ‘protest’ against all their wrong doings. …We are profoundly interested in the prosperity and permanency of this government, and all her virtuous institutions; but we know that any government, and especially a Republic, must stand on virtue, if it stands at all.” —Rev. J.S. Smart
“Our government was made by patriotic, unselfish, sober-minded men for the control or protection of a patriotic, unselfish and sober-minded people. It is suited to such a people; but for those who are selfish, corrupt and unpatriotic it is the worst government on earth. It is so constructed that it needs for its successful operation the constant care and guiding hand of the people’s abiding faith and love, and not only is this unremitting guidance necessary to keep our national mechanism true to its work, but the faith and love which prompt it are the best safeguards against selfish citizenship.” —Grover Cleveland
“What then are the qualities in men which can make them able and willing to achieve greatness by way of citizenship? I name first, without the slightest hesitancy, imagination, the power to see beyond, or even through, wickedness into righteousness. No great cause ever moved far until it had taken possession of the imagination of men.” —William Jewett Tucker
“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, ‘just men who will rule in the fear of God.’ The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.” —Noah Webster
“And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.” —John F. Kennedy