Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Wendell Lewis Willkie

American Corporate Lawyer, U.S. Presidential Candidate

"Happiness must be achieved through liberty rather than in spite of liberty."

"In no direction that we turn do we find ease or comfort. If we are honest and if we have the will to win we find only danger, hard work and iron resolution."

"Freedom is an indivisible word. If we want to enjoy it, and fight for it, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with us or not, no matter what their race or the color of their skin."

"A true world outlook is incompatible with a foreign imperialism, no matter how high-minded the governing country."

"Be honorable yourself if you wish to associate with honorable people."

"And political parties, overanxious for vote catching, become tolerant to intolerant groups."

"A good catchword can obscure analysis for fifty years."

"But it required a disastrous, internecine war to bring this question of human freedom to a crisis, and the process of striking the shackles from the slave was accomplished in a single hour."

"But if we had to trade with a Europe dominated by the present German trade policies, we might have to change our methods to some totalitarian form. This is a prospect that any lover of democracy must view with consternation."

"But we cannot just take this historical fact for granted. We must make it live."

"Emancipation came to the colored race in America as a war measure. It was an act of military necessity. Manifestly it would have come without war, in the slower process of humanitarian reform and social enlightenment."

"Education is the mother of leadership."

"For now more than ever, we must keep in the forefront of our minds the fact that whenever we take away the liberties of those we hate, we are opening the way to loss of liberty for those we love."

"Freedom of the press is the staff of life, for any vital democracy."

"History shows that our way of life is the stronger way. From it has come more wealth, more industry, more happiness, more human enlightenment than from any other way."

"Free men are the strongest men."

"I have noticed, with much distress, the excessive wartime activity of the investigating bureaus of Congress and the administration, with their impertinent and indecent searching out of the private lives and the past political beliefs of individuals."

"I say this in dead earnest -- if, because of some fine speeches about humanity, you return this administration to office, you will be serving under an American totalitarian government before the long third term is finished."

"I would rather lose in a cause that I know some day will triumph than to triumph in a cause that I know some day will fail."

"If the British Fleet were lost or captured, the Atlantic might be dominated by Germany, a power hostile to our way of life, controlling in that event most of the ships and shipbuilding facilities of Europe."

"If we want to talk about freedom, we must mean freedom for others as well as ourselves, and we must mean freedom for everyone inside our frontiers as well as outside."

"It has been a long while since the United States had any imperialistic designs toward the outside world. But we have practiced within our own boundaries something that amounts to race imperialism."

"It is from weakness that people reach for dictators and concentrated government power. Only the strong can be free. And only the productive can be strong."

"No man has a right in America to treat any other man tolerantly, for tolerance is the assumption of superiority."

"In addition, as citizens, we must fight in their incipient stages all movements by government or party or pressure groups that seek to limit the legitimate liberties of any of our fellow citizens."

"Our way of living together in America is a strong but delicate fabric. It is made up of many threads. It has been woven over many centuries by the patience and sacrifice of countless liberty-loving men and women. It serves as a cloak for the protection of poor and rich, of black and white, of Jew and Gentile, of foreign and native born. Let us not tear it asunder. For no man knows, once it is destroyed, where or when man will find its protective warmth again."

"The defense of our democracy against the forces that threaten it from without has made some of its failures to function at home glaringly apparent."

"It is, therefore, essential that we guard our own thinking and not be among those who cry out against prejudices applicable to themselves, while busy spawning intolerances for others."

"No man has the right to use the great powers of the Presidency to lead the people, indirectly, into war."

"The modern airplane creates a new geographical dimension. A navigable ocean of air blankets the whole surface of the globe. There are no distant places any longer: the world is small and the world is one."

"The constitution does not provide for first and second class citizens."

"The test of good manners is to be able to put up pleasantly with bad ones."

"Today it is becoming increasingly apparent to thoughtful Americans that we cannot fight the forces and ideas of imperialism abroad and maintain any form of imperialism at home. The war has done this to our thinking."

"To suppress minority thinking and minority expression would tend to freeze society and prevent progress. Now more than ever we must keep in the forefront of our minds the fact that whenever we take away the liberties of those we hate, we are opening the way to loss of liberty for those we love."

"We cannot, with good conscience, expect the British to set up an orderly schedule for the liberation of India before we have decided for ourselves to make all who live in America free."

"They all want the United Nations to win the war. They all want a chance at the end of the war to live in liberty and independence. They all doubt, in varying degree, the readiness of the leading democracies of the world to stand up and be counted for freedom for others after the war is over. This doubt kills their enthusiastic participation on our side."

"When we talk of freedom and opportunity for all nations, the mocking paradoxes in our own society become so clear they can no longer be ignored."

"Whenever we take away the liberties of those whom we hate we are opening the way to loss of liberty for those we love."