The doctrine of the Declaration of Independence predicated upon the glory of man and the corresponding duty to society that the rights of citizens ought to be protected with every power and resource of the state, and a government that does any less is false to the teachings of that great document false to the name American.
If a painting of a tree was only the exact representation of the original, so that it looked just like the tree, there would be no reason for making it; we might as well look at the tree itself. But the painting, if it is of the right sort, gives something that neither a photograph nor a view of the tree conveys. It emphasizes something of character, quality, individuality. We are not lost in looking at thorns and defects; we catch a vision of the grandeur and beauty of a king of the forest.
This is as good a time as any to comment on what I think has grown into an abuse. Congress makes holidays and every time there isa holiday it is the practice for one department to telephone over to another department and say we are going to have an extra holiday in this department and what is your department going to do about it.... If it comes on Saturday, they want a holiday on Friday, and of course they couldn't come back and travel on Sunday and so they want another holiday on Monday to get back on.
We cannot weaken or destroy political parties in ther United States without weakening or destroying the rule of the people.... Those who support party organization and submit to party discipline are supporting the only course yet discovered for orderly government by the people.
I should be very sorry to see the United States holding anyone in confinement on account of any opinion that that person might hold. It is a fundamental tenet of our institutions that people have a right to believe what they want to believe and hold such opinions as they want to hold without having to answer to anyone for their private opinion.
It is not in violence and crime that our greatest danger lies. These evils are so perfectly apparent that they very quickly arouse the moral power of the people for their suppression. A far more serious danger lurks in the shirking of those responsibilities of citizenship, where the evil may not be so noticeable but is more insidious and likely to be more devastating.
In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man - these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.
I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty.
No Congress of the United States ever assembled, on surveying the state of the Union, has met with a more pleasing prospect than that which appears at the present time. In the domestic field there is tranquillity and contentment, harmonious relations between management and wage earner, freedom from industrial strife, and the highest record of years of prosperity.
I have done it [appointed commissions] regretfully and with the hope that it would be temporary. But after a commission is established you find it always wants to enlarge itself, employ more people, is very busy with Senators and Congressmen to impress upon them the great value of the services of the commission, and even when I talk to people that I appoint to commissions and tell them I would like them to go on to various boards with the idea that they may be abolished, they say they ought to be abolished, but when they have taken their position... Read more »
We live an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create the Declaration. Our Declaration created them. ... If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it.
If the Government gets into business on any large scale, we soon find that the beneficiaries attempt to play a large part in the control. While in theory it is to serve the public, in practice it will be very largely serving private interests. It comes to be regarded as a species of government favor and those who are the most adroit get the larger part of it.
I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.