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Adlai Stevenson
1900 - 1965

American Democratic politician, presidential candidate


Democracy cannot be saved by supermen, but only by the unswerving devotion and goodness of millions of little men.

A politician is a statesman who approaches every question with an open mouth.

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.

There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted, but now it happens to everybody.

The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.

The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.

It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.

Aug 27, 1952 - from a speech to the American Legion Convention in New York
The anatomy of patriotism is complex. But surely intolerance and public irresponsibility cannot be cloaked in the shining armour of rectitude and righteousness. Nor can the denial of the right to hild ideas that are different - the freedom of man to think as he pleases. To strike freedom of the mind with the fist of patriotism is an old and ugly subtlety.

Aug. 27, 1952 - from a speech to the American Legion Convention in New York
Communism is the corruption of a dream of justice.

1951 - from a speech
In America, anybody can be president. That's one of the risks you take.

Laws are never as effective as habits.

Man is a strange animal, he doesn't like to read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.

Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.

If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is no barking dog to be tethered on a 10-foot chain.

Since the beginning of time, governments have been mainly engaged in kicking people around. The astonishing achievement of modern times in the Western world is the idea that the citizens should do the kicking.

When an American says he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun or the wide rising plains, the mountains and the seas. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.

Oct. 1952 - from a speech delivered in Detroit
We have confused the free with the free and easy.

The vigour of our political life, our capacity for change, our cultural, scientific, and industrial achievements, all derive from free inquiry, from the free mind, from imagination, resourcefulness, and daring of men who are not afraid of new ideas. Most all of us favour free enterprise for business. Let us also favour free enterprise for the mind.

Aug. 27, 1952 - from a speech to the American Legion Convention in New York
He who slings mud generally loses ground.

Bad administration ... can destroy good policy; but good administration can never save bad policy.

Sep. 11, 1952 - from a speech delivered in Los Angeles
Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.

It is always accounted a virtue in a man to love his country. With us it is now something more than a virtue. It is a necessity, a condition of survival. ... Men who have offered their lives for their country know that patriotism is not the fear of something; it is the love of something.

Aug. 27, 1952 - from a speech to the American Legion Convention in New York