Quotations about   congress

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The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Speech, Cooper Union, New York City (27 Feb 1860)
    (Source)

On preventing the spread of slavery to new states and territories. Sometimes paraphrased, "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution."
Added on 23-Apr-19 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
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Do you remember the ’60s and ’70s? You didn’t have to go more than a week before there was an article in Life magazine — “The Home of Tomorrow,” “The City of Tomorrow,” “Transportation of Tomorrow.” All that ended. In the 1970s, after we stopped going to the Moon, it all ended. We stopped dreaming. And so I worry that decisions that Congress makes doesn’t factor in the consequences of those decisions on tomorrow. Tomorrow’s gone. They’re playing for the quarterly report, they’re playing for the next election cycle, and that is mortgaging the actual future of this nation, and the rest of the world is going to pass us by.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (b. 1958) American astrophysicist, author, orator
Real Time with Bill Maher, Ep. 223 (5 Aug 2011)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Feb-16 | Last updated 19-Feb-16
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PASTORE: Is there anything connected in the hopes of this accelerator that in any way involves the security of this country?

WILSON: No sir; I do not believe so.

PASTORE: Nothing at all?

WILSON: Nothing at all.

PASTORE: It has no value in that respect?

WILSON: It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with those things. It has nothing to do with the military, I am sorry.

PASTORE: Don’t be sorry for it.

WILSON: I am not, but I cannot in honesty say it has any such application.

PASTORE: Is there anything here that projects us in a position of being competitive with the Russians, with regard to this race?

WILSON: Only from a long-range point of view, of a developing technology. Otherwise, it has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about. In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country, except to make it worth defending.

Robert R. Wilson (1914-2000) American physicist
Testimony, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (17 Apr 1969)

Dialog between Senator John Pastore (D-RI) and Wilson regarding the funding for FY 1970 of Fermilab's first particle accelerator. Pastore was actually a proponent of Fermilab, but was seeking arguments to use with some of his colleagues.

The exchange is frequently portrayed as more hostile, and Wilson's answer is often paraphrased / elided as: "It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending."

See here for more background.

Added on 15-Dec-15 | Last updated 15-Dec-15
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One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils of the world can be cured by legislation.

Thomas Brackett Reed (1839-1902) American politician, Speaker of the House (1889-91, 1895-99)
(Attributed)
Added on 8-Aug-14 | Last updated 8-Aug-14
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If this spirit ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature as well as on the people, the people will be able to tolerate anything but liberty.

James Madison (1751-1836) American statesman, political theorist, US President (1809-17)
The Federalist #57 “The Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the Many” (19 Feb 1788)
Added on 7-Aug-14 | Last updated 7-Aug-14
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Today the challenge of political courage looms larger than ever before. … Our political life is becoming so expensive, so mechanized and so dominated by professional politicians and public relations men that the idealist who dreams of independent statesmanship is rudely awakened by the necessities of election and accomplishment.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Profiles in Courage, Introduction (1956)
Added on 10-Feb-14 | Last updated 2-Jun-16
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Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.

Otto von Bismark (1815-1898) Prussian statesman
(Misattributed)

This and variants are attributed to Bismark, but this is the earliest known use of the phrase, attributed to John Godfrey, Saxe University Chronicle, University of Michigan (27 Mar 1869). According to  Fred R. Shapiro, "Quote... Misquote", New York Times (21 Jul 2008), the remark was first attributed to Bismark in the 1930s.

Variants (usually attrib. to Bismark):
  • "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made."
  • "Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made."
  • "Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made."
  • "Laws are like sausages. You should never see them made."
  • "Laws are like sausages. You should never watch them being made."
  • "Law and sausage are two things you do not want to see being made."
  • "No one should see how laws or sausages are made."
  • "To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making."
  • "The making of laws like the making of sausages, is not a pretty sight."
  • "Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts." [The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night.]
Added on 24-Aug-12 | Last updated 13-Dec-17
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The legislative job of the President is especially important to the people who have no special representatives to plead their cause before Congress — and that includes the great majority. The President is the only lobbyist that 150 million Americans have. The other 20 million are able to employ people to represent them — and that’s all right, it’s the exercise of the right of petition — but someone has to look after the interests of the 150 million that are left.

Harry S Truman (1884-1972) US President (1945-1953)
Speech, Press and Union Club, San Francisco (25 Oct 1956)
Added on 11-Jul-11 | Last updated 20-Jun-16
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