Andrew Jackson
Quotations


We made a mistake, and you have to be responsible for your mistakes. If they feel the title shouldn't be here at Burke, then it shouldn't be here. I'm fine with that. You just have to go out there and do it all over again.

We must regain Texas, peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must.

We wanted to be aggressive and physical on defense. We were very sharp.

Were all the worshippers of the gold calf to memorialize me and request a restoration of the deposits I would cut my right hand from my body before I would do such an act. The gold calf may be worshipped by others but as for myself I serve the Lord.

What disgraceful scenes in Congress. Is Mr. [John Quincy] Adams demented, or is he perversely wicked? Both, I think, and Adams ought to be confined to a hospital.

What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms, embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry execute.

When a man's feeling and character are injured, he ought to seek a speedy redress. My character you have injured, and further you have insulted me in the presence of a court and large audience. I therefore call upon you as a gentleman to give me satisfaction for the same.

While I concur with the Synod in the efficacy of prayer, and in the hope that our country may be preserved from the attacks of pestilence "and that the judgments now abroad in the earth may be sanctified to the nations," I am constrained to decline the designation of any period or mode as proper for the public manifestation of this reliance. I could not do otherwise without transcending the limits prescribed by the Constitution for the President and without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion nowadays enjoys in this country in its complete separation from the political concerns of the General Government. [Response to request from a church organization of New York, on refusing to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer, in relation to an outbreak of cholera]

Who are we? And for what are we going to fight? Are we the titled slaves of George the Third? The military conscripts of Napoleon the Great? Or the frozen peasants of the Russian Czar? No -- we are the free born sons of America; the citizens of the only republic now existing in the world; and the only people on earth who possess rights, liberties, and property which they dare call their own.

You are uneasy; you never sailed with me before, I see. [Remark to an elderly gentleman who was sailing with Jackson down Chesapeake Bay in an old steamboat, and who exhibited a little fear]

[On the presidency] I can with truth say mine is a situation of dignified slavery.

I cannot consent that my mortal body shall be laid in a repository prepared for an Emperor or a King -- my republican feelings and principles forbid it -- the simplicity of our system of government forbids it.

I carried $5000 when I went to Washington. I returned with barely $90 in our pockets.

I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one state, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.

I do not forget that I am a mechanic. I am proud to own it. Neither do I forget that the apostle Paul was a tentmaker; Socrates was a sculptor; and Archimedes was a mechanic.

I feel in the depths of my soul that it is the highest, most sacred, and most irreversible part of my obligation to preserve the union of these states, although it may cost me my life.

I find virtue to be found amongst the farmers of the country alone, not about courts, where courtiers dwell.

I have always been afraid of banks.

I have no motive, Brothers, to deceive you. I am sincerely desirous to promote your welfare. Listen to me, therefore, while I tell you that you cannot remain where you now are. Circumstances that cannot be controlled, which are beyond the reach of human laws, render it impossible that you can flourish in the midst of a civilized community.

I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way; but I am not fit to be President.

I nightly offer up my prayers to the throne of grace for the health and safety of you all, and that we ought all to rely with confidence on the promises of our dear redeemer, and give him our hearts. This is all he requires and all that we can do, and if we sincerely do this, we are sure of salvation through his atonement.

I not only rejoice, but congratulate my beloved country Texas is reannexed, and the safety, prosperity, and the greatest interest of the whole Union is secured by this great and important national act.

I think this is the best way to end the senior year. The awards just keep coming. After the final game -- now it's a couple months down the road. We're still receiving awards for what we've done.

I trust in due time to lay the perfidy, meanness, and wickedness of [Henry] Clay naked before the American people. I have lately got an intimation of some of his secret movements, which, if I can reach with positive and responsible proof, I will wield to his political, and perhaps his actual, destruction.

I was brought up a rigid Presbyterian, to which I have always adhered. Our excellent Constitution guarantees to everyone freedom of religion, and charity tells us -- and you know charity is the real basis of all true religion -- and charity says "judge the tree by its fruit." All who profess Christianity believe in a Savior and that by and through him we must be saved. We ought therefore to consider all good Christians whose walks correspond with their professions, be they Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist, or Roman Catholic. Let it be always remembered that no established religion can exist under our glorious Constitution.

I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.

I would sincerely regret, and which never shall happen whilst I am in office, a military guard around the President.

If a warden sees cigarette litter being thrown from a car, they will take the number and trace the owner to send them a fine.

If government would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.

If in madness of delusion, anyone shall lift his parricidal hand against this blessed union, the arms of thousands will be raised to save it, and the curse of millions will fall upon the head which may have plotted its destruction.

If such corruption exists in the green tree, what will be in the dry?

If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by sword.

If they [Mexicans] touch the hair of the head of one of our citizens, tell him [Commodore Dallas] to batter down and destroy their town and exterminate the inhabitants from the face of the earth!

In a country where offices are created solely for the benefit of the people no one man has any more intrinsic right to official station than another.

In a free government the demand for moral qualities should be made superior to that of talents.

In England the judges should have independence to protect the people against the crown. Here the judges should not be independent of the people, but be appointed for not more than seven years. The people would always re-elect the good judges.

In general, the great can protect themselves, but the poor and humble, require the arm and shield of the law.

In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society -- the farmers, mechanics, and laborers -- who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government.

It is a damn poor mind indeed which can't think of at least two ways to spell any word. [Reported as having been a retort to statements of his political rival, John Quincy Adams, who had boycotted Harvard University's awarding of a Doctorate of Laws degree to Jackson in 1833, declaring "I would not be present to witness her [Harvard's] disgrace in conferring her highest literary honors on a barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and could hardly spell his own name."]

It is a well-settled principle of the international code that where one nation owes another a liquidated debt which it refuses or neglects to pay the aggrieved party may seize on the property belonging to the other, its citizens or subjects, sufficient to pay the debt without giving just cause of war.

It is maintained by some that the bank is a means of executing the constitutional power “to coin money and regulate the value thereof.” Congress have established a mint to coin money and passed laws to regulate the value thereof. The money so coined, with its value so regulated, and such foreign coins as Congress may adopt are the only currency known to the Constitution. But if they have other power to regulate the currency, it was conferred to be exercised by themselves, and not to be transferred to a corporation. If the bank be established for that purpose, with a charter unalterable without its consent, Congress have parted with their power for a term of years, during which the Constitution is a dead letter. It is neither necessary nor proper to transfer its legislative power to such a bank, and therefore unconstitutional.

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society -- the farmers, mechanics, and laborers -- who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower i

It looks like the worst have come back.

It was just neat looking around, seeing people up there watching us, seeing all the artwork and realizing all the important people who have been in here. This building just makes us feel small.

It was settled by the Constitution, the laws, and the whole practice of the government that the entire executive power is vested in the President of the United States. [Message of Protest to the United States Senate]

I've got big shoes to fill. This is my chance to do something. I have to seize the moment.

Live within your means, never be in debt, and by husbanding your money you can always lay it out well. But when you get in debt you become a slave. Therefore I say to you never involve yourself in debt, and become no man's surety. If your friend is in distress, aid him if you have the means to spare. If he fails to be able to return it, it is only so much lost.

Mere precedent is a dangerous source of authority.

Mischief springs from the power which the moneyed interest derives from a paper currency which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges which are employed altogether for their benefit.

Money is power, and in that government which pays all the public officers of the states will all political power be substantially concentrated.

Mr. Van Buren, your friends may be leaving you but my friends never leave me.

My political enemies I can freely forgive; but as for who abused me when I was serving my country in the field, and those who attacked me for serving my country -- Doctor, that is a different case.

Never take counsel of your fears.

No one need think that the world can be ruled without blood. The civil sword shall and must be red and bloody.

Nullification means insurrection and war; and the other states have a right to put it down.

Oh, do not cry. Be good children, and we shall all meet in Heaven. I want to meet you all, white and black, in Heaven. [Last recorded words, to his grandchildren and his servants]

One man with courage makes a majority.

Our brief was to create an environment where people could feel comfortable shopping, dining, relaxing and meeting friends and it is wonderful that our design has been acknowledged in this way.

Our government is founded upon the intelligence of the people. I for one do not despair of the republic. I have great confidence in the virtue of the great majority of the people, and I cannot fear the result.

Our Union, it must be preserved.

Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms.

Perpetuity is stamped upon the Constitution by the blood of our fathers.

Private life would be a paradise compared to the best situation here; and if once more there, it would take a writ of habeas corpus to remove me into public life again.

Private property is held sacred in all good governments, and particularly in our own. Yet shall the fear of invading it prevent a general from marching his army over a cornfield or burning a house which protects the enemy? A thousand other instances might be cited to show that laws must sometimes be silent when necessity speaks.

Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.

Tell my son how anxious I am that he may read and learn his Book, that he may become the possessor of those things that a grateful country has bestowed upon his papa. Tell him that his happiness through life depends upon his procuring an education now; and with it, to imbibe proper moral habits that can entitle him to the possession of them.

Temporize not! It is always injurious.

That those tribes [the Sac and Fox Indians] cannot exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition.

The ambition which leads me on is an anxious desire and a fixed determination to return to the people unimpaired the sacred trust they have confided to my charge; to heal the wounds of the Constitution and preserve it from further violation; to persuade my countrymen, so far as I may, that it is not in a splendid government supported by powerful monopolies and aristocratical establishments that they will find happiness or their liberties protection, but in a plain system, void of pomp, protecting all and granting favors to none, dispensing its blessings, like the dews of Heaven, unseen and unfelt save in the freshness and beauty they contribute to produce. It is such a government that the genius of the people requires; such a one only under which our states may remain for ages to come united, prosperous, and free.

The duty of government is to leave commerce to its own capital and credit as well as all other branches of business, protecting all in their legal pursuits, granting exclusive privileges to none.

The mischief springs from the power which the monied interest derives from a paper currency which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges which they have succeeded in obtaining, and unless you become more watchful in your states and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that the most important powers of government have been given or bartered away.

The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits that favor that theory.

The murderer only takes the life of the parent and leaves his character as a goodly heritage to his children, whilst the slanderer takes away his goodly reputation and leaves him a living monument to his children’s disgrace.

The Oregon matter and the annexation of Texas are now all-important to the security and future peace and prosperity of our union, and I hope there are a sufficient number of pure American democrats to carry into effect the annexation of Texas and extension of our laws over Oregon. No temporizing policy or all is lost.

The people are the government, administering it by their agents; they are the government, the sovereign power.

The planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer form the great body of the people of the United States, they are the bone and sinew of the country -- men who love liberty and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws.

The President is the direct representative of the American people and is elected by the people and responsible to them.

The safety of the republic being the supreme law, and Texas having offered us the key to the safety of our country from all foreign intrigues and diplomacy, I say accept the key and bolt the door at once.

The tract you have ceded will soon be surveyed and sold, and immediately afterwards will be occupied by a white population. You will soon be in a state of starvation. You will commit depredations upon the property of our citizens. You will be resisted, punished, perhaps killed. Now, is it not better peaceably to remove to a fine, fertile country, occupied by your own kindred, and where you can raise all the necessaries of life, and where game is yet abundant? You have no right to stay, and you must go.

The ungentlemanly expressions and gasconading conduct of yours relative to me yesterday was in true character of yourself and unmask you to the world and plainly show that they were ebullitions of a base mind and flow from a source devoid of every refined sentiment or delicate sensations.

The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality.

There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.

There are, perhaps, few men who can for any length of time enjoy office and power without being more or less under the influence of feelings unfavorable to the faithful discharge of their political duties.

Americans are not a perfect people, but we are called to a perfect mission.

Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.

As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will be worth defending.

Be good children, and we shall all meet in Heaven. I want to meet you all, white and black, in Heaven. Our Federal Union! It must be preserved! [Toast at a celebration of Thomas Jefferson's birthday, April 13 1830]

Being satisfied, from observation and experience, as well as from medical testimony, that ardent spirit as a drink is not only needless but hurtful; and that the entire disuse of it would tend to promote the health, the virtue, and the happiness of the community, we hereby express our convention that should the citizens of the United States, and especially ALL YOUNG MEN, discontinue entirely the use of it, they would not only promote their own personal benefit, but the good of our country and the world.

Being the dependents of the general government, and looking to its treasury as the source of all their emoluments, the state officers, under whatever names they might pass and by whatever forms their duties might be prescribed, would in effect be the mere stipendiaries and instruments of the central power.

But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.

Fear not, the people may be deluded for a moment, but cannot be corrupted.

I am fearful that the paper system will ruin the state. Its demoralizing effects are already seen and spoken of everywhere. I therefore protest against receiving any of that trash.



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