Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

American Politician, President of the United States, Governor of New Jersey, President of Princeton University

"Freedom exists only where the people take care of the government."

"Do not think about your character. If you think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself."

"Character is a by-product; it is produced in the great manufacture of daily duty."

"I feel the responsibility of the occasion. Responsibility is proportionate to opportunity."

"Our greatness is built upon our freedom - is moral, not material. We have a great ardor for gain; but we have a deep passion for the rights of man."

"Liberty does not consist... in mere declarations of the rights of man. It consists in the translation of those declarations into definite actions."

"Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice."

"The firm basis of government is justice, not pity."

"The will is the man."

"The sum of the whole matter is this, that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually."

"There is no such thing as a man being too proud to fight; there is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right. "

"There is a price which is too great to pay for peace, and that price can be put in one word. One cannot pay the price of self-respect."

"Hunger does not breed reform, it breeds madness, and all the ugly distempers that make an ordered life impossible."

"There is something better, if possible, that a man can give than his life. That is his living spirit to a service that is not easy, to resist counsels that are hard to resist, to stand against purposes that are difficult to stand against."

"It is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shooting at you."

"No man can be just who is not free."

"It must be a peace without victory... Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor’s terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between equals can last. Only a peace the very principle of which is equality and common participation in a common benefit. The right state of mind, the right feeling between nations, is as necessary for a lasting peace as is the just."

"No task, rightly done, is truly private. It is part of the world's work."

"The equality of nations upon which peace must be founded if it is to last must be an equality of rights; the guarantees exchanged must neither recognize nor imply a difference between big nations and small, between those that are powerful and those that are weak."

"No man has ever risen to the real stature of spiritual manhood until he has found that it is finer to serve somebody else than it is to serve himself."

"Prosperity is necessarily the first theme of a political campaign."

"Provision for others is a fundamental responsibility of human life."

"No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach."

"Settlements may be temporary, but the action of the nations in the interest of peace and justice must be permanent processes. We may not be able to set up permanent decisions."

"The history of liberty is a history of limitation of government power, not the increase of it."

"The right is more precious than the peace."

"The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."

"To be free is not necessarily to be wise. Wisdom comes with counsel, with the frank and free confidence of untrammeled men united in the common interest."

"To conquer with arms is to make only a temporary conquest; to conquer the world by earning its esteem is to make a permanent conquest."

"What is at the heart of all our national problems? It is that we have seen the hand of material interest sometimes about to close upon our dearest rights and possessions."

"There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace."

"What we seek is the reign of law, based upon the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind."

"You cannot be friends upon any other terms than upon the terms of equality."

"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams come true."

"A man has found himself when he has found his relation to the rest of the universe."

"I do not believe that any man can lead who does not act… under the impulse of a profound sympathy with those whom he leads."

"Benevolence never developed a man or a nation. We do not want a benevolent government. We want a free and a just government. Every one of the great schemes of social uplift which are not so much debated by noble people amongst us is based, when rightly conceived, upon justice, not upon benevolence."

"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow."

"If you want to make enemies, try to change something."

"If you think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself."

"Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together."

"No man is a true Christian who does not think constantly of how he can lift his brother, how he can assist his friend, how he can enlighten mankind, how he can make virtue the rule of conduct in the circle in which he lives."

"No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation."

"Liberty never came from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it."

"The law that will work is merely the summing up in legislative form of the moral judgment that the community has already reached."

"The most solid and satisfying peace is that which comes from this constant spiritual warfare."

"The history of liberty is the history of the limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it. When we resist the concentration of power we are resisting the powers of death. Concentration of power precedes the destruction of human liberties."

"The truths which are not translated into lives are dead truths, and not living truths."

"War is only a sort of dramatic representation, a sort of dramatic symbol of a thousand forms of duty."

"A conservative is a man who just sits and thinks, mostly sits."