Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Lyndon Johnson, fully Lyndon Baines Johnson, aka LBJ

American Politician, 36th President of the United States

"In this age when there can be no losers in peace and no victors in war, we must recognize the obligation to match national strength with national restraint."

"No man should think that peace comes easily. Peace does not come by merely wanting it, or shouting for it, or marching down Main Street for it. Peace is built brick by brick, mortared by the stubborn effort and the total energy and imagination of able and dedicated men. And it is built in the living faith that, in the end, man can and will master his own destiny."

"A compassionate government keeps faith with the trust of the people and cherishes the future of their children."

"A President's hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right."

"As man increases his knowledge of the heavens, why should he fear the unknown on earth? As man draws nearer to the stars, why should he not also draw nearer to his neighbor?"

"Poverty has many roots, but the tap root is ignorance."

"The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents... It is a place where the city of man services not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community... It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods."

"The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men."

"Extremism is the pursuit of the Presidency is an unpardonable vice. Moderation in the affairs of the nation is the highest virtue."

"If we are to live together in peace, we must come to know each other better."

"In this age when there can be no losers in peace and no victors in war - we must recognize the obligation to match national strength with national restraint."

"There are plenty of recommendations on how to get out of trouble cheaply and fast. Most of them come down to this: Deny your responsibility."

"We are in the midst of a great transition from narrow nationalism to international partnership."

"The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure. They are necessary symbols. They protect what we cherish. But they are witness to human folly."

"Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time."

"Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty."

"The noblest search is the search for excellence."

"You aren't learning anything when you're talking. "

"Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance."

"We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it."

"Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity."

"Guns and bombs, rockets and warships, are all symbols of human failure."

"Doing what's right isn't the problem. It's knowing what's right. "

"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt... we must leave them with a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it. "

"In a nation of millions and a world of billions, the individual is still the first and basic agent of change. "

"Justice means a man's hope should not be limited by the color of his skin. "

"People don’t support you because they like you. You can count on a person’s support only when you can do something for him or something to him."

"The fifth freedom is freedom from ignorance. "

"There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few we can solve by ourselves. "

"Until justice is blind to color, until education is aware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact."

"You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."

"10 point formula for success: 1. Learn to remember names. Inefficiency at this point may indicate that your interest is not sufficiently outgoing. 2. Be a comfortable person so there is no strain in being with you. Be an old-shoe, old-hat kind of individual. 3. Acquire the quality of relaxed easy-going so that things do not ruffle you. 4. Don't be egotistical. Guard against the impression that you know it all. 5. Cultivate the quality of being interesting so people will get something of value from their association with you. 6. Study to get the "scratchy" elements out of your personality, even those of which you may be unconscious. 7. Sincerely attempt to heal, on an honest Christian basis, every msiunderstanding you have had or now have. Drain off your grievances. 8. Practice liking people until you learn to do so genuinely. 9. Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulation upon anyone's achievement, or express sympathy in sorrow or disappointment. 10. Give spiritual strength to people, and they will give genuine affection to you"

"A democracy works best when the people have all the information that the security of the Nation permits. No one should be able to pull curtains of secrecy around decisions which can be revealed without injury to the public interest. At the same time, the welfare of the Nation or the rights of individuals may require that some documents not be made available. As long as threats to peace exist, for example, there must be military secrets. A citizen must be able in confidence to complain to his Government and to provide information, just as he is--and should be--free to confide in the press without fear of reprisal or of being required to reveal or discuss his sources."

"A man can take a little bourbon without getting drunk, but if you hold his mouth open and pour in a quart, he's going to get sick on it."

"A man without a vote is a man without protection."

"A people divided over the right to vote can never build a Nation united."

"A rioter with a Molotov cocktail in his hands is not fighting for civil rights any more than a Klansman with a sheet on his back and mask on his face. They are both more or less what the law declares them: lawbreakers, destroyers of constitutional rights."

"A third place to build the Great Society is in the classrooms of America. There your children's lives will be shaped. Our society will not be great until every young mind is set free to scan the farthest reaches of thought and imagination. We are still far from that goal. Today, 8 million adult Americans, more than the entire population of Michigan, have not finished 5 years of school. Nearly 20 million have not finished 8 years of school. Nearly 54 million - more than one-quarter of all America - have not even finished high school. Each year more than 100,000 high school graduates, with proved ability, do not enter college because they cannot afford it. And if we cannot educate today's youth, what will we do in 1970 when elementary enrollment will be 5 million greater than 1960? And high school enrollment will rise by 5 million. College enrollment will increase by more than 3 million. In many places, classrooms are overcrowded and curricula are outdated. Most of our qualified teachers are underpaid, and many of our paid teachers are unqualified. So we must give every child a place to sit and a teacher to learn from. Poverty must not be a bar to learning, and learning must offer an escape from poverty. But more classrooms and more teachers are not enough. We must seek an educational system which grows in excellence as it grows in size. This means better training for our teachers. It means preparing youth to enjoy their hours of leisure as well as their hours of labor. It means exploring new techniques of teaching, to find new ways to stimulate the love of learning and the capacity for creation."

"All Americans must have the privileges of citizenship regardless of race. And they are going to have those privileges of citizenship regardless of race. But I would like to caution you and remind you that to exercise these privileges takes much more than just legal right. It requires a trained mind and a healthy body. It requires a decent home, and the chance to find a job, and the opportunity to escape from the clutches of poverty. Of course, people cannot contribute to the Nation if they are never taught to read or write, if their bodies are stunted from hunger, if their sickness goes untended, if their life is spent in hopeless poverty just drawing a welfare check. So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we are also going to give all our people, black and white, the help that they need to walk through those gates."

"All I have I would have given gladly not to be stand here today."

"All that Hubert needs over there is a gal to answer the phone and a pencil with an eraser on it."

"Ambition is an uncomfortable companion many times. He creates a discontent with present surroundings and achievements; he is never satisfied but always pressing forward to better things in the future. Restless, energetic, purposeful, it is ambition that makes of the creature a real man."

"America has not always been kind to its artists and scholars. Somehow the scientists always seem to get the penthouse while the arts and humanities get the basement."

"America is not merely a nation but a nation of nations."

"Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom. Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities. Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders. We believe that all men are created equal. Yet many are denied equal treatment. We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights. Yet many Americans do not enjoy those rights. We believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty. Yet millions are being deprived of those blessings--not because of their own failures, but because of the color of their skin. The reasons are deeply imbedded in history and tradition and the nature of man. We can understand--without rancor or hatred--how this all happened. But it cannot continue. Our Constitution, the foundation of our Republic, forbids it. The principles of our freedom forbid it. Morality forbids it. And the law I will sign tonight forbids it."

"And I just want to tell you this ? we're in favor of a lot of things and we're against mighty few."

"Any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a good carpenter to build one."

"As it was 189 years ago, so today the cause of America is a revolutionary cause. And I am proud this morning to salute you as fellow revolutionaries. Neither you nor I are willing to accept the tyranny of poverty, nor the dictatorship of ignorance, nor the despotism of ill health, nor the oppression of bias and prejudice and bigotry. We want change. We want progress. We want it both abroad and at homeand we aim to get it."

"As man draws nearer to the stars, why should he not also draw nearer to his neighbor?"

"Ask him about the cemeteries, Dean!"