Presidential

316 – “You Didn’t Build That” Quote

“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, “well, it must be because I was just so smart.” There are a lot of smart people out there. “It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.” Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges; if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

–Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
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314 – “Each moment in history is a fleeting time, precious and unique. But some stand out as moments of beginning, in which courses are set that shape decades or centuries. This can be such a moment.”

–Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States
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305 – “And in that year [1928], I think I learned far more than I taught. The greatest lesson was this one. Nothing at all matters more than trained intelligence. It is the key to success in life, but is the key to meaning in life. And that is true for a nation, too. Our greatest national resource probably is not even listed in your textbooks. Our greatest resource is the skill, the vision, and the wisdom of our people.”

–Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the United States
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292 – “The framers of our Constitution firmly believed that a republican government could not endure without intelligence and education generally diffused among the people. The Father of his Country, in his Farewell Address, uses this language: ‘Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.’”

–Ulysses S Grant, 18th President of the United States

Context for this quote shows a paternalistic, but somewhat progressive for that time, view arguing that African Americans, who had been enfranchised only a few years before, should be allowed to educate themselves in order to make them selves “worthy of their new privilege,” which was the vote. An educated and informed Public is a requirement of for any democratic form of government to function well.
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Lincoln’s Understanding of the Hired Laborer

“My understanding of the hired laborer is this: A young man finds himself of an age to be dismissed from parental control; he has for his capital nothing, save two strong hands that God has given him, a heart willing to labor, and a freedom to choose the mode of his work and the manner of his employer; he has got no soil nor shop, and he avails himself of the opportunity of hiring himself to some man who has capital to pay him a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work. He is benefited by availing himself of that privilege. He works industriously, he behaves soberly, and the result of a year or two’s labor is a surplus of capital. Now he buys land on his own hook; he settles, marries, begets sons and daughters, and in the course of time he too has enough capital to hire some new beginners.”

-Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

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Relation Between Labor and Capital Quote

“That there is a certain relation between capital and labor, I admit. That it does exist, and rightfully exists, I think it true. That men who are industrious, and sober, and honest in the pursuit of their own interests should after a while accumulate capital, and after that should be allowed to enjoy it in peace, and also, if they so choose, when they have accumulated it, to use it to save themselves from actual labor, and hire other people to labor for them, is right. In doing so they do not wrong the man they employ, for they find men who have not their own land to work upon, or shops to work in, and who are benefited by working for others, hired laborers, receiving their capital for it. Thus a few men, that own capital, hire a few others, and these establish he relation of capital and labor rightfully.”

-Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

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