When in doubt, do right!


Quotes from Claude A. Swanson


When in doubt, do right. The moral pathway is always the safest.

At the time of greatest power and victory be especially modest and considerate. In defeat be firm and resolute. More public men are destroyed in hours of victory than in times of defeat.

There may be, if not a defense, some excuse offered for fooling others, but none whatever can be given for a person fooling himself. Courageously face facts, and never deceive yourself as to political conditions or issues.

The Romans placed the temple of fame behind the temple of virtue to show that you cannot get to fame without having to go through virtue.

We need to feel once more that intellectual wealth is greater than material wealth.

Men are great and their fame lingers only in proportion as they have taught and their lives have illustrated some great truth or principle beneficial to mankind. George Washington taught better than any man the most difficult lesson: the duty the citizen owes to his nation. Thomas Jefferson taught the second great lesson: the duty that government owes to its citizens. The lessons and principles taught by these two patriots, if jointly followed, make a great government and a great people.

Our society, like our furniture, needs less veneer and more solid substance.

Do not become a chronic critic and professional pessimist. Do not be content to be a mere onlooker, criticizing and complaining about those who are bravely engaged in the heat of battle and who are doing their best. To be a reformer seeking to remedy evils, to build public interest broader and loftier, is a brave and noble undertaking; but to be a mere grumbler, and to make no brave and earnest effort to correct the wrongs complained of, is a condition most of all to be avoided. It is the easiest, but the most useless of all avocations.

We need to feel as the great patriots felt, that public honor is private honor, public disgrace is private disgrace, public failure is private failure, public success is private success.

It has been our boast that the glory and greatness of our country do not consist in vast colonies, in great armies and navies, in the pomp and luxury of rulers, but that it consists of myriads of happy homes dotting the fair bosom of our land, whose inmates, possessed of plenty and blessed with the refining influences of education and of Christianity, surround the government with a strength greater than that derived from armies and navies and more enduring than fortressess.

When trying to decide how early to move, recall that they had a saying in the Stonewall brigade that Stonewall Jackson always marched at dawn - unless he started the night before.

Do not be foolishly stubborn, never bending, never compromising. The white oak bends to the storm, and it usually survives; the red oak never bends, and it is torn up by the roots. The white oak makes the toughest and best of all timbers.

Do not judge people by their appearance; the plainest hovels are often made out of the same material as palaces - bricks and mortar.

Some men and women always drift with the tide; look instead for an individual who is like a channel buoy anchored to mark the right path.

Respect the working class. The labor of human beings is not a commodity or an article of commerce.

I believe that we must associate with lofty ideals by studying the lessons of the past, by scrutinizing the lives of honorable men and women, by surveying the pathways trod by patriots, by examining the thoughts and actions of men tried in great moments of history.

The clock of national partiotism now strikes for each of us our hour of work and responsibility. The voices which speak to us from the past, the inspiration which springs from the present, the possibilities that crown the future should awaken in each of us a fervid and lofty patriotism and confirm the resolve of each of us in this hour of storm and stress valiantly to serve this Republic, and with stong arms and brave hearts defend her against every enemy that may assail her, and thus in the end enable this great people to advance along the pathway of justice, liberty, and peace.


© 2002 Charles C. Hall.
All rights reserved.