"The United States is a republic, and a republic is a state in which the people are the boss. That means us. And if the big shots in Washington don't do like we vote, we don't vote for them, by golly, no more."
"The contented and economically comfortable have a very discriminating view of government. Nobody is ever indignant about bailing out failed banks and failed savings and loans associations.... But when taxes must be paid for the lower middle class and poor, the government assumes an aspect of wickedness."
"Wags try to invent new stories to tell about the legislature, and end by telling the old one about the senator who explained his unaccustomed possession of a large roll of bills by saying that someone pushed it over the transom while he slept. The expression "It came over the transom," to explain any unusual good fortune, is part of local folklore."
"I have always felt that the real purpose of government is to enhance the lives of people and that a leader can best do that by restraining government in most cases instead of enlarging it at every opportunity."
"The Declaration [of Independence] was not a protest against government, but against the excess of government. It prescribed the proper role of government, to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this alone. So government is not a necessary evil but a necessary good."
"The wise and just man will always feel that he stands on his own feet; that he imparts strength to the state, not receives security from it; and if all went down, he and such as he would quite easily combine in a new and better constitution."
"Where is he who seeing a thousand men useless and unhappy, and making the whole region forlorn by their inaction, and conscious himself of possessing the faculty they want, does not hear his call to go and be their king?"
"A woman does not have to make decisions based on the need to survive. She can cut through issues, call shots as she sees them.... Many bad decisions are made by men in government because it is good for them personally to make bad public decisions."
"Government ... thought [it] could transform the country through massive national programs, but often the programs did not work. Too often they only made things worse. In our rush to accomplish great deeds quickly, we trampled on sound principles of restraint and endangered the rights of individuals."
"The tendencies of the times favor the idea of self-government, and leave the individual, for all code, to the rewards and penalties of his own constitution, which work with more energy than we believe, whilst we depend on artificial restraints."
"Society is an illusion to the young citizen. It lies before him in rigid repose, with certain names, men, and institutions, rooted like oak-trees to the centre, round which all arrange themselves the best they can. But the old statesman knows that society is fluid; there are no such roots and centres; but any particle may suddenly become the centre of the movement, and compel the system to gyrate round it, as every man of strong will, like Pisistratus, or Cromwell, does for a time, and every man of truth, like Plato, or Paul, does forever."
"We have feudal governments in a commercial age. It would be but an easy extension of our commercial system, to pay a private emperor a fee for services, as we pay an architect, an engineer, or a lawyer. If any man has talent for righting wrong, for administering difficult affairs, for counselling poor farmers how to turn their estates to good husbandry, for combining a hundred private enterprises to a general benefit, let him in the county- town, or in Court-street, put up his sign-board, Mr. Smith, Governor, Mr. Johnson, Working king."