Quotations about   statesman

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Base and absurd requests he should reject, not harshly but gently, informing the askers by way of consolation that the requests are not in accord with their own excellence and reputation.

Plutarch (AD 46-127) Greek historian, biographer, essayist [Mestrius Plutarchos]
Moralia, Vol. 10 “Precepts of Statecraft” (13) [tr. Helmbold (1936)]
Added on 9-Jan-17 | Last updated 9-Jan-17
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The statesman values principles more than measures, and measures more than party. I am afraid the politician reverses this rule, valuing his party most, measures next, and principles least.

James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) American theologian and author
“Wanted, a Statesman!”, Old and New Magazine (Dec 1870)
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Added on 3-Oct-14 | Last updated 3-Oct-14
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A politician, for example, is a man who thinks of the next election; while the statesman thinks of the next generation.

James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) American theologian and author
“Wanted, a Statesman!”, Old and New Magazine (Dec 1870)
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Often paraphrased: "A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation."
Added on 19-Sep-14 | Last updated 19-Sep-14
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I’m proud that I’m a politician. A politician is a man who understands government, and it takes a politician to run a government. A statesman is a politician who’s been dead 10 or 15 years.

Harry S Truman (1884-1972) US President (1945-1953)
Speech, Reciprocity Club, Washington (11 Apr 1958)

See Thomas Reed.
Added on 13-Aug-14 | Last updated 13-Aug-14
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A statesman is a successful politician who is dead.

Thomas Brackett Reed (1839-1902) American politician, Speaker of the House (1889-91, 1895-99)
(Attributed)

Quoted in Henry Cabot Lodge, The Democracy of the Constitution, ch. 7 (1915).
Added on 6-Aug-14 | Last updated 6-Aug-14
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Honest statesmanship is the wise employment of individual meannesses for the public good.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Attributed in John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln: A History, vol. 10, ch. 18 "Lincoln's Fame" (1886).
Added on 23-Jul-14 | Last updated 23-Jul-14
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Saints can be pure but statesmen must be responsible. As trustees for others, they must defend interests and compromise principles. In politics, practical and prudential judgment must have priority over moral verdicts.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) American historian, author, social critic
“The Necessary Amorality of Foreign Affairs,” Harper’s (Aug 1971)
Added on 16-Jul-14 | Last updated 16-Jul-14
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A ginooine statesman should be on his guard,
Ef he must hev beliefs, nut to b’lieve ’em tu hard.

[A genuine statesman should be on his guard,
If he must have beliefs, not to believe them too hard.]

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
The Bigelow Papers: Second Series, ch. 5 (1867)
Added on 9-Jul-14 | Last updated 9-Jul-14
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Doubtless he had an ideal, but it was the ideal of a practical statesman, — to aim at the best, and to take the next best, if he is lucky enough to get even that.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Abraham Lincoln, 1864-1865” (1869)
    (Source)

Printed in The North American Review, #222 (Jan 1869) under the title "Before and After." Sometimes given as "The idea of a practical statesman is to aim ...."
Added on 2-Jul-14 | Last updated 2-Jul-14
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Keep strong, if possible. In any case, keep cool. Have unlimited patience. Never corner an opponent, and always assist him to save face. Put yourself in his shoes — so as to see things through his eyes. Avoid self-righteousness like the devil — nothing is so self-blinding.

B. H. Liddell Hart (1895-1970) English soldier, military historian (Basil Henry Liddell Hart)
Deterrent or Defense (1960)

Advice to statesmen.
Added on 25-Jun-14 | Last updated 25-Jun-14
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He who is firmly seated in authority soon learns to think security, and not progress, the highest lesson of statecraft.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
New England Two Centuries Ago (1865)
Added on 29-Apr-14 | Last updated 29-Apr-14
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Undoubtedly the highest function of statesmanship is by degrees to accommodate the conduct of communities to ethical laws, and to subordinate the conflicting self-interests of the day to higher and more permanent concerns.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Abraham Lincoln” (1864)
Added on 21-Apr-14 | Last updated 21-Apr-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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