July 31, 2014

Top 10 Timeless Political Quotes

Timeless Political Quotes

Timeless Political Quotes | Best

Timeless Political Quotes

Timeless Political Quotes

Politicians are, in theory anyway, representatives of the people. One of their purposes in life is to make and execute laws that will make their land prosper economically and ideologically. The speeches they make to express their views therefore contain a wealth of wisdom and observations on life and politics. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address or even the remarks of Soviets Lenin and Stalin are all great examples of this.

Here are the top ten political quotes that have stood the test of time.

10.

 

I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.”
- Charles De Gaulle

 

Outsiders always have the edge over insiders in every given situation. General De Gaulle had that advantage, coming from an illustrious military career before leading France out of her post-war ruins. The man understood that politicians are, by definition, conditioned to act in predetermined ways, to respond to situations with narrow-mindedness. Since they usually lack perspective, outsiders might be in a better position to bring fresh ideas to the forefront.

 

Outsiders always have the edge over insiders in every given situation. General De Gaulle had that advantage, coming from an illustrious military career before leading France out of her post-war ruins. The man understood that politicians are, by definition, conditioned to act in predetermined ways, to respond to situations with narrow-mindedness. Since they usually lack perspective, outsiders might be in a better position to bring fresh ideas to the forefront.

Unfortunately, remarking on the situation doesn’t rectify it. Whenever outsiders attempt to venture into politics, they either don’t last long or become stereotypical politicians themselves. De Gaulle himself resigned in 1969.

9.

“We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist.”

- Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria was the British monarch who ruled the Empire for most of the 19th century. She was a headstrong and conservative woman and she wasn’t about to let her Empire slip away. When the Boer War broke out in South Africa in 1899, she had no intention of letting the Dutch settlers win the right to govern themselves. She proved that with optimism and stubbornness, any war could be won. The British signed a peace treaty in 1902, a year after the Queen’s death.

8.

“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

- Ronald Reagan

During World War II, the world united against fascism but at the end of the conflict, the USSR emerged as the new enemy. Therefore, it was decided that Germany would be split in two. A wall was eventually erected in the middle of Berlin to keep the citizens of the East from escaping. The Wall became a symbol of communist tyranny.

With the possibility of a nuclear war between the Soviets and NATO still looming, President Reagan gave a speech June 12, 1987, in West Berlin. Taking advantage of new openness in Moscow, he spoke against communism and called for the destruction of the Berlin Wall. It was ultimately opened in 1989 and torn down in 1990.

From famous communists to optimists…

7.

“Revolution is not a dinner party, not an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly, and modestly.”

- Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung)

In the first half of the 20th century, China was like the Wild West. There was lawlessness, poverty and oppression. Mao Zedong, a champion of Marxism, organized communist forces over the course of 20 years and finally took power in 1949. His experience in the matter taught him that a revolution wasn’t performed over a cup of tea and crumpets; blood must be shed.

Under his tutelage and concept of revolution, China instigated catastrophic programs like the Great Leap Forward, which led to the death of more than 20 million people, and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, proving that Mao truly believed his own words.

6.

“The revolution… is a dictatorship of the exploited against the exploiters.”

- Fidel Castro

After the Spanish-American War, Cuba became an American puppet. It was a land of vice and moral turpitude where Americans could come to enjoy the depravity they wouldn’t enjoy at home. Attorney Fidel Castro realized that the only people who profited from this were the American owners and the corrupt locals.

After a couple of ill-fated tries, he finally led a successful coup that instilled a communist regime. His famous quote expresses his views of how his first goal was simply payback for the harsh years of repression. To this day, Cuba remains one of the few communist countries left in the world.

5.

“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

- Sir Winston Churchill

It was June 4, 1940. Churchill was the new British Prime Minister and the Battle of Britain was still raging as Nazi aircrafts were bombing London and other points of interest. A week before, Allied forces had tasted defeat and over 300,000 men had to be evacuated from Dunkirk. The future was gloomy.

But Churchill was an optimist who had the ability to raise hope in others. He assured his people that come rain or shine, they wouldn’t go gently into the night. If they were to be occupied, the British colonies would come to their rescue. It was the speech that rallied the British people and gave them the needed nudge to continue fighting.

4.

“Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

- George Santayana

A Spanish-American philosopher, Santayana was the perfect observer. His numerous travels, writings and critiques of society were the ideal venue to analyze the world we live in. By uttering the above statement, which is a favorite of modern-day politicians, he underlined what the greatest problem with the planet is: Generations have lived before us but we often decline to learn from their mistakes and therefore repeat them.

Napoleon tried invading Russia and failed; Hitler, a century later, was defeated at the same endeavor. We must trust our ancestors, but sadly, the political lesson often falls on deaf ears.

More movers and shakers…

3.

“Let them eat cake.”

- Marie Antoinette

This Austrian woman who married King Louis XVI was reportedly an airhead. Brought up in wealth and sheltered from the social reality, she had no notion of France’s economic situation. When someone mentioned that her people did not even have bread to eat, which contrasted with the royal decadence, she apparently replied, “Let them eat cake.” “Do I have to think of everything?”, she probably added.

However, some historians actually believe that Marie Antoinette never really said this, and that it was attributed to her by opponents trying to mount a revolt (it is also believed that French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau first wrote this phrase in his Confessions ). At any rate, the Queen was despised by her people for her aloofness and was beheaded during the French Revolution.

2.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

FDR was president from 1933 to 1945, the only president to be elected four times. He had the misfortune of arriving at the White House during the Great Depression and that’s what defined his character. America was far from being cheerful at the time but by speaking these words during his first inaugural address on March 4, 1933, he was giving hope back to the people.

He meant that by remaining afraid of the future, they wouldn’t be able to achieve greatness. Luckily, the speech worked to give confidence and boost morale, and the country climbed out of its misery as it entered World War II.

1.

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

This is the 35th American President’s most famous quote and certainly the most famous political quote in history. Spoken during his inaugural address on January 20, 1961, the words were a call to Americans to get involved with the inner workings of their country, to accept the responsibility of world leaders and to live up to it.

What followed was a decade of change in America, a time when citizens demanded civil rights, a time for demonstrations, a time of outcry for democracy. JFK had the ability to unite people and bring out the best in them, and this single patriotic quote was what inspired America to fight for a free world.

honorable mention

“You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.”

- Napoleon Bonaparte

A cunning man, Napoleon rose to power after recognizing that the French Revolution had merely left political chaos in its wake. Leading his country in numerous military campaigns to give pride back to its people, he understood that the enemy must be treated with the same respect with which allies are treated.

He realized that enemies are often equal in terms of intelligence and to use a tactic on them is to deny oneself the right to use it again in the future. In politics like in battle, surprise is the key to victory. Alas, Napoleon did not follow his own advice and was finally defeated at Waterloo after 23 years of war with the English and their Allies.

a lesson in history

No matter their political leanings, these men have marked their place and their time. Fascists like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini may have had opinions diverging from the norm, but their words will live on.

Resources:
www.quoteland.com
www.houseofquotes.com
www.quotationspage.com
www.cs.umb.edu
www.ofcourseimright.com
www.niagara.com
www.bartleby.com
www.reaganfoundation.org
www.usnews.com
www.straightdope.com
www.auburn.edu
http://plato.stanford.edu

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