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Political Science / Public Policy Resources: Quotes/Speeches


Miscellaneous quotes, quotation guides, and sources of political speeches.

Speech Collections

American Voices : This gallery presents a collection of spoken-voice recordings of individuals who played an influential role in American life in the twentieth century. The voice recordings on this site remind us that these famous individuals were also living and breathing human beings who often expressed their thoughts with an emotional weight and dignity that is impossible to render on the written page.  Through the combined efforts of MATRIX, ABC-CLIO, and MSU Library's Vincent Voice Library, American Voices is housed at Michigan State University. Video Famous Speeches - A collection made available by the History Channel. 

Presidential Speech Archive : The University of Virginia Miller Center Scripps Library, through cooperation with various presidential libraries, has been collecting some of the more important presidential speeches of the past 60 years. These speeches are available in their entirety in full audio. When possible, we have also provided transcripts of the speeches. Recently we have expanded our collection to include the full text of some of the more important presidential speeches from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century : A collection of mp3 recordings by American Rhetoric.

WyzAnt's Audio History : A searchable archive of politically significant audio materials for scholars, teachers, and students. A component of Historical Voices funded by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Michigan State University.

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Political Quotes

"The great German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck once wisely said there were two things you didn’t want to see being made – sausage and legislation. They’re both messy. Often you have no idea what’s in the end product. And what goes into the process is, well, not for the faint-hearted. Source: Phil Power’s Newspaper Column, May 31, 2007.

"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." Gideon J. Tucker (1866)

"I think I'm a candidate because...I've been consistently vague on all the issues and I'm continuing to make promises that I'll be unable to full fill."  Comedian Pat Paulsen Running for President on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"

We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress. Will Rogers

"Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary."   Robert Louis Stevenson

"Politics, life, and business are not spectator sports. You have to get involved to get ahead. Most importantly, when you reach that level of success, keep the door open and the ladder down for others to follow." Former Secretary of State Ron Brown

"Hence, the less government we have, the better, -- the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal Government, is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."--Ronald Reagan (1989 - Farewell Address)

"First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me." German Protestant Pastor Martin Niemöller 1892-198

Political Quote Collections

The Bully Pulpit : Quotations From America's Presidents / edited by Elizabeth Frost.  New York, N.Y. : Facts on File, c1988.  282pp.  Main Library E176.1 .B925 1988 :

Freedom, Government, and Political Quotes Page
In case you need a quick quote! One sample: "People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they never use." [Kierkegaard] Still available thanks to the Internet Archive. 

Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States
Digitized texts of Inauguration Day speeches by American presidents. Collection 

Respectfully Quoted:
A Dictionary of Quotations Requested from the Congressional Research Service
The 2,100 entries in this eminently researched collection form the constellation of collected wisdom in American political debate. In fulfilling decades of requests from Members of Congress for citation of quotations, the Library of Congress compiled the most frequently asked questions of the legislature for the edification of every citizen. Suzy Platt, ed.

Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government
A collection of over 2700 quotes courtesy of the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center. 

Zingers: Outrageous Statements from Select Public Figures

Perhaps not politically correct, but guaranteed for a chuckle or two.

Additional Quotation Sources

Bartlett's Quotations, 10th edition, 1919
Including over 11,000 quotations, the first new edition of John Bartlett’s corpus to be published after his death in 1905 keeps most of his original work intact.

Columbia World of Quotations (1996)
The 65,000 essential quotations that constitute this authoritative collection represent the research of 154 experts. Entries from more than 5,000 authors and speakers are multiply classified into 6,500 subjects.

Fagan Finder : Quotations and Proverbs Search
The always interesting, creative and useful work of Michael Fagan continues with the release of a new section on his Fagan Finder tool box. Quotations and Proverbs Search allows you to search more than 50 web databases from a single interface. Fagan describes the site this way, "[An] attempt to collect the largest sources of quotations and related items (proverbs, sayings, maxims, amorphisms, slogans, clichés, etc.). Many of the websites included here also include things such as full text of speeches, author biographies, and quotes of the day. All search tools and links on this page have longer descriptions, which you can read by holding your mouse over their names." 

Famous Quotes and Authors
We have the best collection of Famous quotations for all occasions! Browse over 25,000 quotes online from over 6,700 famous authors. In Famous Quotes and Authors you'll find the wit and wisdom of men and women from all walks of life and from all ages - from Benjamin Franklin to Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln to William Shakespeare, Margaret Mead to Garrison Keillor. Read what they have to say. And enjoy it!

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