James A. Garfield Quotations

James A. Garfield

All free governments are managed by the combined wisdom and folly of the people.

An Englishman who was wrecked on a strange shore and wandering along the coast came to a gallows with a victim hanging on it, and fell down on his knees and thanked God that he at last beheld a sign of civilization.

A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck.

Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing. Let everyone know that you have a reserve in yourself; that you have more than you are now using. If you are not too large for the place you occupy, you are too small for it.

For mere vengeance I would do nothing. This nation is too great to look for mere revenge. But for the security of the future I would do everything.

I am trying to do two things: dare to be a radical and not a fool, which is a matter of no small difficulty.

Ideas are the great warriors of the world, and a war that has no idea behind it, is simply a brutality.

Ideas control the world.

If the next century does not find us a great nation...it will be because those who represent the...morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.

If the power to do hard work is not talent, it is the best possible substitute for it. Ambition by itself never gets anywhere until it forms a partnership with work.

If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.

I have had many troubles, but the worst of them never came.

I mean to make myself a man, and if I succeed in that, I shall succeed in everything else.

Most human organizations that fall short of their goals do so not because of stupidity or faulty doctrines, but because of internal decay and rigidification. They grow stiff in the joints. They get in a rut. They go to seed.

Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.

Poverty is uncomfortable; but nine times out of ten the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim.

The civil service can never be placed on a satisfactory basis until it is regulated by law.

The men who succeed best in public life are those who take the risk of standing by their own convictions.

The President is the last person in the world to know what the people really want and think.

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.

Things don't turn up in this world until somebody turns them up.

Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.