Hubert H. Humphrey
Quotations


Asia is rich in people, rich in culture and rich in resources. It is also rich in trouble.

Each child is an adventure into a better life--an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new.

We are in danger . . . of making our cities places where business goes on but where life, in its real sense, is lost.

I have seen in the Halls of Congress more idealism, more humaneness, more compassion, more profiles of courage than in any other institution that I have ever known.

When people generally are aware of a problem, it can be said to have entered the public consciousness. When people get on their hind legs and holler, the problem has not only entered the public consciousness--it has also become a part of the public conscience. At that point, things in our democracy begin to hum.

Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.

It is not enough to merely defend democracy. To defend it may be to lose it; to extend it is to strengthen it. Democracy is not property; it is an idea.

Our opposition will never understand the Democratic Party. Our Party is--to the unpracticed eyes of the old Republican Tories--a mysterious contraption that usually seems to be moving in a thousand directions. What they don't know is what hurts them. For all that movement in the Democratic Party is caused by the internal combustion of creative ferment, of ideas, of people vigorously committed to the proposition that change and social progress are not only to be desired; they are necessities of twentieth-century America.

If there is dissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment, so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work. If man feels small, let man make himself bigger.

As we begin to comprehend that the earth itself is a kind of manned spaceship hurtling through the infinity of space--it will seem increasingly absurd that we have not better organized the life of the human family.

Much of our American progress has been the product of the individual who had an idea; pursued it; fashioned it; tenaciously clung to it against all odds; and then produced it, sold it, and profited from it.

This, then, is the test we must set for ourselves; not to march alone but to march in such a way that others will wish to join us.

Foreign policy is really domestic policy with its hat on.

Freedom is the most contagious virus known to man.

The difference between heresy and prophecy is often one of sequence. Heresy often turns out to have been prophecy--when properly aged.

The great challenge which faces us is to assure that, in our society of big-ness, we do not strangle the voice of creativity, that the rules of the game do not come to overshadow its purpose, that the grand orchestration of society leaves ample room for the man who marches to the music of another drummer.

National isolation breeds national neurosis.

We should have learnt by now that laws and court decisions can only point the way. They can establish criteria of right and wrong. And they can provide a basis for rooting out the evils of bigotry and racism. But they cannot wipe away centuries of oppression and injustice--however much we might desire it.

Leadership in today's world requires far more than a large stock of gunboats and a hard fist at the conference table.

Liberalism, above all, means emancipation--emancipation from one's fears, his inadequacies, from prejudice, from discrimination . . . from poverty.

Fortunately, the time has long passed when people liked to regard the United States as some kind of melting pot, taking men and women from every part of the world and converting them into standardized, homogenized Americans. We are, I think, much more mature and wise today. Just as we welcome a world of diversity, so we glory in an America of diversity--an America all the richer for the many different and distinctive strands of which it is woven.

In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be.

The pursuit of peace resembles the building of a great cathedral. It is the work of a generation. In concept it requires a master-architect; in execution, the labors of many.

A politician never forgets the precarious nature of elective life. We have never established a practice of tenure in public office.

Unfortunately, our affluent society has also been an effluent society.

The President is the people's lobbyist.

Profit and morality are a hard combination to beat.

Propaganda, to be effective, must be believed. To be believed, it must be credible. To be credible, it must be true.

American public opinion is like an ocean--it cannot be stirred by a teaspoon.

To be realistic today is to be visionary. To be realistic is to be starry-eyed.

I think the worst thing this nation could do for humanity would be to leave any uncertainty as to our will, our purpose and our capacity to carry out our purpose.

History teaches us that the great revolutions aren't started by people who are utterly down and out, without hope and vision. They take place when people begin to live a little better--and when they see how much yet remains to be achieved.

Slumism is the pent-up anger of people living on the outside of affluence. Slumism is decay of structure and deterioration of the human spirit. Slumism is a virus which spreads through the body politic. As other "isms," it breeds disorder and demagoguery and hate.

There are incalculable resources in the human spirit, once it has been set free.

The essence of statesmanship is not a rigid adherence to the past, but a prudent and probing concern for the future.

People in places many of us never heard of, whose names we can't pronounce or even spell, are speaking up for themselves. They speak in languages we once classified as "exotic" but whose mastery is now essential for our diplomats and businessmen. But what they say is very much the same the world over. They want a decent standard of living. They want human dignity and a voice in their own futures. They want their children to grow up strong and healthy and free.

The heroes of the world community are not those who withdraw when difficulties ensue, not those who can envision neither the prospect of success nor the consequence of failure--but those who stand the heat of battle, the fight for world peace through the United Nations.

The President has only 190 million bosses. The Vice President has 190 million and one.

There is in every American, I think, something of the old Daniel Boone--who, when he could see the smoke from another chimney, felt himself too crowded and moved further out into the wilderness.

If today there is a proper American "sphere of influence" it is this fragile sphere called earth upon which all men live and share a common fate--a sphere where our influence must be for peace and justice.

Today we know that World War II began not in 1939 or 1941 but in the 1920's and 1930's when those who should have known better persuaded themselves that they were not their brother's keeper.

Until racial justice and freedom is a reality in this land, our union will remain profoundly imperfect.



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