The true grandeur of nations is in those qualities which constitute the true greatness of the individual.
The costliest thing on earth is the drunkard’s song. It costs ruin of body. It costs ruin of mind...The costliest thing on earth is sin. The most expensive of all music is the Song of the Drunkards. It is the highest tariff of nations - not a protective tariff, but a tariff of doom, a tariff of woe, an tariff of death.
A democracy can obtain truth only as the result of experience; and many nations may perish while they are awaiting the consequences of their errors.
Democratic nations will habitually prefer the useful to the beautiful, and they will require that the beautiful should be useful.
Forms become more necessary as the government becomes more active and powerful, and private persons become more indolent and feeble. By their nature, democratic nations stand more in need of forms than other nations, and respect them less.
All nations have present, or past, or future reasons for thinking themselves incomparable.
Growing nations should remember that, in nature, no tree, though placed in the best conditions of light, soil, and plot, can continue to grow and spread indefinitely.
The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.
Among [European governments] under pretense of governing, they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep.
Among all nations there should be vast temples raised where people might worship Silence and listen to it, for it is the voice of God.
So when in this day I see the leaders of nations again talking peace while preparing for war, I take fearful pause.
The animosity which Nations reciprocally entertain is nothing more than what the policy of their Governments excites to keep up the spirit of the system. Each Government accuses the other of perfidy, intrigue, and ambition, as a means of heating the imagination of their respective Nations, and incensing them to hostilities. Man is not the enemy of Man, but through the medium of a false system of Government.
Happy nations have no history. History is the study of mankind's misfortunes.
The meaning and purpose of the world remain to a large extent inexplicable. But one thing is clear: the purpose of all events is spiritual. The purpose of existence is that we human beings, all nations and the whole of humanity, should constantly progress toward perfection. If we do this, our finite spirit will be in harmony with the infinite.
In the kingdom of God there is no invidious distinction, and therefore this dispensation gathers all men and nations, all races and tribes, the high and the low, and seeks to establish one vast brotherhood among the children of the great God, who hath made of one blood all nations of men.
Let us remember that no blessing of God is so sweet as life and liberty. Let us remember that the stature of all mankind is diminished so long as nations or parts of nations are still unfree. Let us remember that the highest purpose of man is the liberation of man from his bonds of fear, his bonds of human degradation, his bonds of poverty – the liberation of man from the physical, spiritual, and intellectual bonds which for too long stunted the development of mankind’s majority.
What makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our national distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have led us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations.
Insanity in individuals is rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
Men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all the other alternatives.
History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.