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    public servant

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I am heartily rejoiced that my term is so near its close. I will soon cease to be a servant and will become a sovereign.

James K. Polk (1795-1849) American lawyer, politician, US President (1845-1849)
Diary (1849-02-13)
Added on 11-Nov-20 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
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Your public servants serve you right.

Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) American diplomat, statesman
Speech, Los Angeles (11 Sep 1952)
Added on 18-Dec-15 | Last updated 18-Dec-15
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If there’s anything a public servant hates to do it’s something for the public.

Kin Hubbard (1868-1930) American caricaturist and humorist [Frank McKinney Hubbard]
Added on 20-Nov-15 | Last updated 20-Nov-15
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The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.

James Madison (1751-1836) American statesman, political theorist, US President (1809-17)
The Federalist #57 (19 Feb 1788)
Added on 15-Dec-14 | Last updated 15-Dec-14
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The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
“Sedition, A Free Press, and Personal Rule,” Kansas City Star (7 May 1918)

Reprinted in "Lincoln and Free Speech," The Great Adventure (1926).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Dec-19
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What I call a great minister is one who employs the Way in serving his sovereign. If he cannot do that, he resigns.


Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 11, verse 24, sec. 3 (11.24.3) (6th C. BC – AD 3rd C.) [tr. Hinton (1998)]

Numbered 11.23 by Legge and other early translators, as noted. More recent translators use 11.24, though some use 11.22. All are noted below.

(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

What is called a great minister is one who serves his prince according to what is right; and when he finds he cannot do so, retires.
[tr. Legge (1861), 11.23]

Those whom we call 'great ministers' are such as serve their prince conscientiously, and who, when they cannot do so, retire.
[tr. Jennings (1895), 11.23]

Men I call statesmen are those who will serve their master according to their sense of duty; who, however, when they find they cannot do that, consistently, with their sense of duty, will resign.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898)]

He who may be called a great minister is one who serves his Prince according to the right, and when that cannot be, resigns.
[tr. Soothill (1910) 11.23]

You call a man a great minister when be serves his prince honestly. and retires when he cannot.
[tr. Pound (1933), 11.23]

What I call a great minister is one who will only serve is prince while he can do so without infringement of the Way, and as soon as this is impossible, resigns.
[tr. Waley (1938), 11.23]

The so-called great minister serves his prince in keeping with The Right Way, and if that is impossible, he quits his post.
[tr. Ware (1950), 11.22]

The term "great minister" refers to those who serve their lord according to the Way and who, when this is no longer possible, relinquish office.
[tr. Lau (1979), 11.24]

What I call a great minister serves his ruler in accordance with the Way, and when it is impossible to do so he resigns.
[tr. Dawson (1993), 11.22]

A great minister is a minister who serves his lord by following the Way, and who resigns as soon as the two are no longer reconcilable.
[tr. Leys (1997), 11.24]

Those who are called great ministers use the Way to serve the sovereign. If thye cannot, they should then stop.
[tr. Huang (1997), 11.22]

The persons named as the Great Officials, should service the Lords with the benevolent way, and stop if the way does not work.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), #284, 11.24]

What are called great ministers are those who serve their lord with the way [dao], and when they cannot, resign.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998), 11.24]

Those whom one calls great ministers serve their ruler according to the Way, and when they can no longer, they stop.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998), 11:22]

What we call "great ministers" are those who seek to serve their lord by means of the Way, and who resign if unable to do so.
[tr. Slingerland (2003), 11.24]

The term “great minister” applies to someone who serves the ruler according to the Way. If he cannot do that, he retires.
[tr. Watson (2007), 11.24]

The term "great ministers" applies to those who serve their lord in a moral way. If they simply cannot, then they stop.
[tr. Chin (2014), 11.24]

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-May-23
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