American Politician, 19th President of the United States who oversaw the end of Reconstruction
"The general review of the past tends to satisfy me with my political life. No man, I suppose, ever came up to his ideal. The first half [of] my political life was first to resist the increase of slavery and secondly to destroy it.... The second half of my political life has been to rebuild, and to get rid of the despotic and corrupting tendencies and the animosities of the war, and other legacies of slavery."
"The honor of success is increased by the obstacles which are to be surmounted. Let me triumph as a man or not at all."
"The filth and noise of the crowded streets soon destroy the elasticity of health which belongs to the country boy."
"The only road, the sure road to unquestioned credit and a sound financial condition is the exact and punctual fulfilment of every pecuniary obligation, public and private, according to its letter and spirit."
"The President of the United States of necessity owes his election to office to the suffrage and zealous labors of a political party... but he should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves the country best."
"The progress of society is mainly ... the improvement in the condition of the workingmen of the world."
"The President of the United States should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves his country best."
"These semi-traitors [Union generals who were not hostile to slavery] must be watched. — Let us be careful who become army leaders in the reorganized army at the end of this Rebellion. The man who thinks that the perpetuity of slavery is essential to the existence of the Union, is unfit to be trusted. The deadliest enemy the Union has is slavery — in fact, its only enemy."
"This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations."
"To vote is like the payment of a debt, a duty never to be neglected, if its performance is possible."
"The sacred obligation to the Union soldiers must not — will not be forgotten nor neglected.... But those who fought against the Nation cannot and do not look to it for relief.... Confederate soldiers and their descendants are to share with us and our descendants the destiny of America. Whatever, therefore, we their fellow citizens can do to remove burdens from their shoulders and to brighten their lives is surely in the pathway of humanity and patriotism."
"The truth is, this being errand boy to one hundred and fifty thousand people tires me so by night I am ready for bed instead of soirees."
"The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations. — How is this?"
"The study of tools as well as of books should have a place in the public schools. Tools, machinery, and the implements of the farm should be made familiar to every boy, and suitable industrial education should be furnished for every girl."
"The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth."
"There can be no complete and permanent reform of the civil service until public opinion emancipates congressmen from all control and influence over government patronage. Legislation is required to establish the reform. No proper legislation is to be expected as long as members of Congress are engaged in procuring offices for their constituents."
"Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education. To this end, liberal and permanent provision should be made for the support of free schools by the State governments, and, if need be, supplemented by legitimate aid from national authority."
"Wars will remain while human nature remains. I believe in my soul in cooperation, in arbitration; but the soldier's occupation we cannot say is gone until human nature is gone."
"We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion both suffer by all such interference."
"We are in a period when old questions are settled and the new are not yet brought forward. Extreme party action, if continued in such a time, would ruin the party. Moderation is its only chance. The party out of power gains by all partisan conduct of those in power."
"We can travel longer, night and day, without losing our spirits than almost any persons we ever met."
"We had an inspection today of the brigade. The Twenty-third was pronounced the crack regiment in appearance, ... [but] I could see only six to ten in a company of the old men. They all smiled as I rode by. But as I passed away I couldn’t help dropping a few natural tears. I felt as I did when I saw them mustered in at Camp Chase."
"We have now become pretty well acquainted with the sugar-growing part of Texas. The life of a planter who has a fair start in the world is one of the most independent imaginable. We here find the pleasures of fashionable life without its tyranny. I doubt, however, whether a person of Northern education could so far forget his home-bred notions and feelings as ever to be thoroughly Southern on the subject of slavery. We have seen none of the horrors so often described, but on the other hand I have seen nothing to change my Northern opinions."
"We now talk of our killed and wounded. There is however a very happy feeling. Those who escape regret of course the loss of comrades and friends, but their own escape and safety to some extent modifies their feelings."
"When the weather is bad as it was yesterday, everybody, almost everybody, feels cross and gloomy. Our thin linen tents, about like a fish seine, the deep mud, the irregular mails, the never to-be-seen paymasters, and "the rest of mankind," are growled about in "old-soldier" style. But a fine day like today has turned out brightens and cheers us all. We people in camp are merely big children, wayward and changeable."
"While your rheumatism stays with you I naturally feel anxious to hear often. If you should be so unlucky as to become a cripple, it will certainly be bad, but you may be sure I shall be still a loving husband, and we shall make the best of it together."
"You use the phrase brutal Rebels. Don’t be cheated in that way. There are enough brutal Rebels no doubt, but we have brutal officers and men too. I have had men brutally treated by our own officers on this raid [to Lynchburg, Va.]. And there are plenty of humane Rebels. I have seen a good deal of it on this trip. War is a cruel business and there is brutality in it on all sides, but it is very idle to get up anxiety on account of any supposed peculiar cruelty on the part of Rebels. Keepers of prisons in Cincinnati, as well as in Danville, are hard-hearted and cruel."