"It has been the struggle between privileged men who have managed to get hold of the levers of power and the people in general with their vague and changing aspirations for equality, for justice, for some kind of gentler brotherhood and peace, which has kept that balance of forces we call our system of government in equilibrium."
"I may as well say, what all men feel, that whilst our every amiable and very innocent representatives and senators at Washington are accomplished lawyers and merchants, and every eloquent at dinners and at caucuses, there is a disastrous want of men in New England."
"Men are to be guided only by their self-interests. Good government is a good balancing of these; and, except a keen eye and appetite for self-interest, requires no virtue in any quarter. To both parties it is emphatically a machine: to the discontented, a "taxing- machine;" to the contented, a "machine for securing property." Its duties and its faults are not those of a father, but of an active parish-constable."
"Our system of government, in spite of Vietnam, Cambodia, CIA, Watergate, is still the best system of government on earth. And the greatest resource of all are the 215 million Americans who still have within us the strength, the character, the intelligence, the experience, the patriotism, the idealism, the compassion, the sense of brotherhood on which we can rely in the future to restore the greatness to our country."
"There is an enormous chasm between the relatively rich and powerful people who make decisions in government, business, and finance and our poorer neighbors who must depend on these decisions to alleviate the problems caused by their lack of power and influence."
"Thou cam'st out of thy mother's belly without government, thou hast liv'd hitherto without government, and thou may'st be carried to thy long home without government, when it shall please the Lord. How many people in this world live without government, yet do well enough, and are well look'd upon?"
"He who doesn't know how to be a servant should never be allowed to be a master; the interests of public life are alien to anyone who is unable to enjoy others' successes, and such a person should never be entrusted with public affairs."
"In my opinion it is harmful to place important things in the hands of philanthropy, which in Russia is marked by a chance character. Nor should important matters depend on leftovers, which are never there. I would prefer that the government treasury take care of it."
"A foreign minister, I will maintain it, can never be a good man of business if he is not an agreeable man of pleasure too. Half his business is done by the help of his pleasures: his views are carried on, and perhaps best, and most unsuspectedly, at balls, suppers, assemblies, and parties of pleasure; by intrigues with women, and connections insensibly formed with men, at those unguarded hours of amusement."
"Good government is known from bad government by this infallible test: that under the former the labouring people are well fed and well clothed, and under the latter, they are badly fed and badly clothed."