Journal Entry B: Quotable Quotes

Herbert Hoover in front of microphones announcing Public Works program.

NPS Archives

He Said What?

These statements were made by Herbert Hoover at various times during his long and productive life of service to mankind. In reviewing them, it is amazing what insight he had on a variety of topics. Read them carefully and choose at least one group to reflect upon in light of the life and times of the 21st century--keeping in mind that Hoover died in 1964 at the age of 90.

Uncommon People…

"When we are sick, we want an uncommon doctor; when we have a construction job to do, we want an uncommon engineer, and when we are at war, we want an uncommon general. It is only when we get into politics that we are satisfied with the common man."

"We are in danger of developing a cult of the Common Man, which means a cult of mediocrity."

"The imperative need of this nation at all times is the leadership of Uncommon Men or Women."

"Every generation has the right to build its own world out of the materials of the past, cemented by the hopes of the future."

"New discoveries in science will continue to create a thousand new frontiers for those who still would adventure."

The Economy...

"About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends."

"Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt."

"The budget should be balanced not by more taxes, but by reduction of follies."

"The course of unbalanced budgets is the road to ruin."

"We are now speeding down the road of wasteful spending and debt, and unless we can escape we will be smashed in inflation."

"Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement. Economic wounds must be healed by the action of the cells of the economic body - the producers and consumers themselves."

"It does not follow, because our difficulties are stupendous, because there are some souls timorous enough to doubt the validity and effectiveness of our ideals and our system, that we must turn to a state controlled or state directed social or economic system in order to cure our troubles."

People and Government...

"Our greatest danger is not from invasion by foreign armies. Our dangers are that we may commit suicide from within by complaisance with evil, or by public tolerance of scandalous behavior.…"

"When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned."

"We must not be misled by the claim that the source of all wisdom is in the government."

"Wisdom consists not so much in knowing what to do in the ultimate as knowing what to do next."

"Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy among free men."


"Children are our most valuable natural resource."

"The thing I enjoyed most were visits from children. They did not want public office."

"My country owes me nothing. It gave me, as it gives every boy and girl, a chance. It gave me schooling, independence of action, opportunity for service and honor. In no other land could a boy from a country village, without inheritance or influential friends, look forward with unbounded hope."

"Children are the most wholesome part of the race, the sweetest, for they are the freshest from the hand of god."

"A boy is Nature's answer to false belief that there is no such thing as perpetual motion. A boy can run like a deer, swim like a fish, climb like a squirrel, balk like a mule, bellow like a bull, eat like a pig, or act like a jackass, according to climatic conditions."


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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