Government Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old government quotes, government sayings, and government proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

Too bad all the people who know how to run this country are busy running taxicabs or cutting hair. George Burns
People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people. Alan Moore
Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves. Ronald Reagan
The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself. Plato
A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. Gerald R. Ford
A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. Edward R. Murrow
To form a new government requires infinite care and unbounded attention; for if the foundation is badly laid, the superstructure must be bad. George Washington
As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles. Bertrand Russel
Governments have a tendency not to solve problems, only to rearrange them. Ronald Reagan
When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are something to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honors are something to be ashamed of. Confucious
That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves. Thomas Jefferson
It is not the function of the government to stop the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. Justice Robert Jackson
To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured (and) commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. Pierre Joseph Prouhon
Surely by now there can be few here who still believe the purpose of government is to protect us from the destructive activities of corporations. At last most of us must understand that the opposite is true: that the primary purpose of government is to protect those who run the economy from the outrage of injured citizens. Derrick Jensen
Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other. Thomas Jefferson
The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors. Thomas Jefferson
Government is nothing more than the combined force of society, or the united power of the multitude, for the peace, order, safety, good and happiness of the people. John Adams
Governments should fear weariness above all. Once it sets in, it is hard to dispel and almost invariably presages decline and eventual defeat. The Economist
Governments need armies to protect them from their enslaved and oppressed subjects. Tolstoy
Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State wants to live at the expense of everyone. Fredrick Bastiat
When government accepts responsibility for people, then people no longer take responsiblitiy for themselves. George Pataki
Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. Thomas Paine
Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds. John Perry Barlow
Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. George Washington
Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. Thomas Jefferson
No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent. Abraham Lincoln
Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. Ronald Reagan
In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. Alexander Hamilton
Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. John Quincy Adams
The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men. Plato
Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. Benjamin Franklin
A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. Edward Abbey
There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. John Adams
As the happiness of the people is the sole end of government, so the consent of the people is the only foundation of it. John Adams
A government, for protecting business only, is but a carcass, and soon falls by its own corruption and decay. A. Bronson Alcott
The best government rests on the people and not on the few, on persons and not on property, on the free development of public opinion and not on authority George Bancroft
The government cannot afford to have a country made up entirely of rich people, because rich people pay so little tax that the government would quickly go bankrupt. This is why government men always tell us that labor is man's noblest calling. Government needs labor to pay its upkeep. Russell Baker
The art of governmentis the organization of idolatry. George Bernard Shaw
The final end ofgovernment is not to exert restraint but to do good. Rufus Choate
What is government but an arrangement by which the many accept the authority of the few? Barbara Tuchman
When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned. Herbert Hoover
You can't run a government solely on a business basis ... Government should be human. It should have a heart. Herbert Henry Lehman
A government is the only known vessel that leaks from the top. James Reston
Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship. Harry S. Truman
Good government is no substitute for self-government. Mahatma Gandhi
Which is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Government is an evil; it is only the thoughtlessness and vices of men that make it a necessary evil. When all men are good and wise, government will of itself decay. Percy Bysshe Shelley
An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger. Confucius
The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. unknown
While all other sciences have advanced, that of government is at a standstill - little better understood, little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago. John Adams
Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider affairs with a philosophical eye, than the ease with which the many are governed by the few. David Hume
I don't know what people have got against the government—they've done nothing. Bob Hope
I'm not a fan of the government doing anything. But I've got to ask: Why isn't the government doing anything? Maybe this Ag jobs bill will help. I don't know. Like most members of Congress, I haven't read it. Stephen Colbert
I always say gridlock's a good's what the founding fathers had in mind when they created the Senate. Bob Dole
The government's solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem. Milton Friedman
Government doesn't solve problems, it subsidizes them. Ronald Reagan
If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law Winston Churchill
The government is unresponsive to the needs of the little man. Under 5'7", it is impossible to get your congressman on the phone. Woody Allen
Our goal is to shrink the government to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub. Grover Norquist
The government: What we can as citizens do to reform our tax system? As you know, under our three-branch system of government, the tax laws are created by Satan. But he works through the Congress, so that's where we must focus our efforts. Dave Barry
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. George Bernard Shaw
Bureaucracy gives birth to itself and then expects maternity benefits. Dale Dauten
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. Ronald Reagan
In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. Voltaire
All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. Frank Herbert
The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. Thomas Jefferson
A government big enough to give you everything you need is government big enough to take away everything you have. Thomas Jefferson
Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Edmund Burke
In all forms of government, the people are the true legislators Edmund Burke
The less government we have, the better—the fewer laws, and the less confided power. Emerson
That is the best government which desires to make the people happy and knows how to make them happy. Lord Macaulay
A government leaving it to a man to do his duty, or not, as he pleases, would be a new species of government, or rather new government at all. James Madison
The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey established government. George Washington
I think every nation has a right to establish that form of government under which it conceives it shall live most happy, provided it infracts no right or is not dangerous to others. George Washington
The government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part. Thomas Jefferson
In all great changes of established governments, forms ought to give way to substance. James Madison
A good government implies two things: fidelity to the object of government, which is the happiness of the people; secondly, a knowledge of the means by which that object can be best attained. James Madison
We must settle this question now—whether in a free government the minority have the right to break it up whenever they choose. If we fail, it will go far to prove the incapability of the people to govern themselves. Abraham Lincoln
A government can be no better than the public opinion which sustains it. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The second office of the government is honorable and easy; the first is but a splendid misery. Thomas Jefferson
Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us. Leo Tolstoy