Jane Addams
Quotations


A long-established occupation may form the very foundations of the moral life, that the art with which a man has solaced his toil may be the salvation of his uncertain temperament.

All those hints and glimpses of a larger and more satisfying democracy, which literature and our own hopes supply, have a tendency to slip away from us and to leave us sadly unguided and perplexed when we attempt to act upon them.

As democracy modifies our conception of life, it constantly raises the value and function of each member of the community, however humble he may be.

Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.

Even death itself sometimes fails to bring the dignity and serenity which one would fain associate with old age.

I am not one of those who believe—broadly speaking—that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.

If the meanest man in the republic is deprived of his rights, then every man in the republic is deprived of his rights.

In a thousand voices singing the Hallelujah Chorus in Handel's "Messiah," it is possible to distinguish the leading voices, but the differences of training and cultivation between them and the voices in the chorus, are lost in the unity of purpose and in the fact that they are all human voices lifted by a high motive.

In his own way each man must struggle, lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction utterly separated from his active life.

In the unceasing ebb and flow of justice and oppression we must all dig channels as best we may, that at the propitious moment somewhat of the swelling tide may be conducted to the barren places of life.

Intellectual life requires for its expansion and manifestation the influences and assimilation of the interests and affections of others.

It is dreadful the way all the comfortable, happy people stay off to themselves.

No one so poignantly realizes the failures in the social structure as the man at the bottom, who has been most directly in contact with those failures and has suffered most.

Of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment.

Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.

One's faith is kept alive as one occasionally meets a realized ideal of better human relations.

Only in time of fear is government thrown back to its primitive and sole function of self-defense and the many interests of which it is the guardian become subordinated to that.

Pliable human nature is relentlessly pressed upon by its physical environment.

The classical city promoted play with careful solicitude, building the theater and stadium as it built the market place and the temple.

The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.

The impulse to share the lives of the poor, the desire to make social service, irrespective of propaganda, express the spirit of Christ, is as old as Christianity itself.

The mass of men seldom move together without an emotional incentive.

The rich landlord is he who collects with sternness, who accepts no excuse, and will have his own. There are moments of irritation and of real bitterness against him, but there is still admiration, because he is rich and successful.

Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.

You do not know what life means when all the difficulties are removed! I am simply smothered and sickened with advantages. It is like eating a sweet dessert the first thing in the morning.

Young people need pleasure as truly as they need food and air.



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