Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

James A. Garfield

20th President of the United States

"Heroes did not make our liberties; they but reflected and illustrated them."

"History is but the unrolled scroll of prophecy."

"I have had many troubles in my life, but the worst of them never came."

"I love to believe that no heroic sacrifice is ever lost; that the characters of men are molded and inspired by what their fathers have done."

"In the minds of most men, the kingdom of opinion is divided into three territories - the territory of yes, the territory of no, and a broad, unexplored middle ground of doubt."

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

"Battles are never the end of war; for the dead must be buried and the cost of the conflict must be paid."

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

"Commerce links all mankind in one common brother hood of mutual dependence and interests."

"Coercion is the very basis of every law in the universe, human or divine. A law is not law without coercion behind it."

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

"Nine times out of ten, the best that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim for himself. In all my acquaintance I never knew a man to be drowned who was worth saving."

"Real political issues cannot be manufactured by the leaders of political parties, and real ones cannot be evaded by political parties. The real political issues of the day declare themselves, and come out of the depths of that deep which we call public opinion."

"There are times in the history of men and nations, when they stand so near the vale that separates mortals from the immortals, time from eternity, and men from their God, that they can almost hear the beatings, an feel the pulsations of the heart of the Infinite."

"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 world’s history is a divine poem of which the history of every nation is a canto and every man a word. Its strains have been pealing along down the centuries, and though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian philosopher and historian - the humble listener - there has been a divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come."

"If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon our hearts. The spirit should not grow old."

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

"He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation."

"Ideas control the world. "

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

"Justice and goodwill will outlast passion. "

"There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It really matters very little whether they are behind the wheel of a truck or running a business or bringing up a family. The teach the truth by living it."

"Nobody but radicals have ever accomplished anything in a great crisis. "

"It has occurred to me that the thing you have, that all men have enough of, is perhaps the thing that you care for the best, and that is your leisure - the leisure you have to think; the leisure you have to be let alone; the leisure you have to throw the plummet into your mind, and sound the depth and dive for things below."