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How prudently we proud men compete for nameless graves, while now and then some starveling of late forgets himself into immortality.
Insurrection of thought always precedes insurrection of arms.
It is but the littleness of man that seeth no greatness in trifles.
Let me make the newspapers, and I care not what is preached in the pulpit or what is enacted in congress.
Liberty knows nothing but victories. Soldiers call Bunker Hill a defeat; but liberty dates from it though Warren lay dead on the field.
My advice to a young man seeking deathless fame would be to espouse an unpopular cause and devote his life to it.
Neither do I acknowledge the right of Plymouth to the whole rock. No, the rock underlies all America: it only crops out here.
- in a speech at the dinner of the Pilgrim Society at Plymouth
On a single winged word hath hung the destiny of nations.
One on God's side is a majority.
- in a speech at Harper's Ferry [God]
Ours is the age of thought; hearts are stronger than swords.
Peace, if possible, but justice at any rate.
- sometimes "the truth" instead of "justice"
Physical bravery is an animal instinct; moral bravery is a much higher and truer courage.
Political convulsions, like geological upheavings usher in new epochs of the world's progress.
Popular opinion is oftenest, what Carlyle pronounced it to be, a lie!
Power is ever stealing from the many to the few.
Right is the eternal sun; the world cannot delay its coming.
Sin is not taken out of man, as Eve was out of Adam, by putting him to sleep.
Society,--the only field where the sexes have ever met on terms of equality, the arena where character is formed and studied, the cradle and the realm of public opinion, the crucible of ideas, the world's university, at once a school and a theater, the spur and the crown of ambition, the tribunal which unmasks pretension and stamps real merit, the power that gives government leave to be, and outruns the lazy Church in fixing the moral sense of the eye.
The best education in the world is that got by struggling to get a living.
The heart is the best logician.
The keener the want the lustier the growth.
The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day, or it is rotten. The living sap of to-day outgrows the dead rind of yesterday. The hand intrusted with power becomes, either from human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can a Democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.
The penny-papers of New York do more to govern this country than the White House at Washington.
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