Politics

654 – Henry Steele Commager on Governments and Criticism

“If government, or those in positions of power and authority, can silence criticism by the argument that such criticism might be misunderstood somewhere, there is an end to all criticism, and perhaps an end to our kind of political system. For men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.”

–Henry Steele Commager (more…)

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615 – Rutherford B Hayes on Extreme Partisanship in the Wake of President Garfield’s Assassination

“One of lessons [of the assassination of James A Garfield], perhaps its most important lesson, is the folly, the wickedness, and the danger of the extreme and bitter partisanship which so largely prevails in our country. This partisan bitterness is greatly aggravated by that system of appointments and removals which deals with public offices as rewards for services rendered to political parties or to party leaders. Hence crowds of importunate place-hunters of whose dregs [Charles J] Guiteau[, Garfield’s assassin] is the type. The required reform will be accomplished whenever the people imperatively demand it, not only of their Executive, but also of their Legislative Officers. With it, the class to which the assassin belongs will lose their occupation, and the temptation to try “to administer government by assassination” will be taken away.”

–Rutherford B Hayes, 19th President of the United States of America
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544 – “It is the desire of the good people of the whole country that sectionalism as a factor in our politics should disappear.”

–Rutherford B Hayes, 19th President of the United States of America
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519 – “America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity.”

–John Quincy Adams, 8th US Secretary of State and later 6th President of the United States of America

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