Adlai Stevenson Quotes

Adlai Ewing Stevenson II, 1900 – 1965

Born: 5 February 1900, Los Angeles, California
Died: 14 July 1965, London, England, UK

Stevenson was born into a political family, named after his grandfather who had been vice president under Grover Cleveland. (He was not named for his father, Lewis Green Stevenson, thus he is a “II” rather than a “Jr”.) He grew up at Bloomington, Illinois. At age twelve he shot and killed a friend while demonstrating rifle drill steps, the rifle was loaded. He left Bloomington for his senior year of high school, graduating from University High School at Normal, Illinois, went to The Choate School where he was active in sports, drama, and edited the school newspaper. Graduating in 1918 he enlisted in the Navy but his training was not complete at the end of World War I. He went to Princeton University, served as managing editor of The Daily Princetonian and earned his B.A. in 1922 in literature and history. He failed a couple of courses at Harvard Law and returned to Bloomington to write for the family paper, The Daily Pantograph. Talking with Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr convinced him to take another run at the law, earning his LLB from Northwestern University and joining the Illinois bar in 1926.

In 1933 he became general counsel for the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, a New Deal agency, for two years. He practiced law at Chicago, then in 1940 because attorney and special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, after the secretary’s death he became special assistant to Secretary of State and was posted to London as deputy delegate to the commission creating the United Nations. He was drafted to run for governor of Illinois in 1948, a race he won by a landslide. When Harry Truman decided not to run for reëlection in 1948 he approached Stevenson to run and promised his support. He said no, and told his friends to stop campaigning for him, but no other viable candidate appeared he finally accepted. An intellectual and astute observer of foreign affairs, he made foreign policy the key of his 1952 and 1956 campaigns for president. His advisors said such a campaign would fail, they were right, but it gave him the opportunity to deliver a great many speeches, from which some of our quotes stem. In 1960 he declined to run again but indicated that he was open to a draft, which chilled his relationship with John F. Kennedy, but he ended up stumping for JFK. The young president sent him back to the UN where Stevenson served until his death in 1965. His time at the UN included the aftermath to the Bay of Pigs invasion, in which he was misled by the CIA and would have resigned but Kennedy was persuasive. He also went face-to-face with Soviet ambassador Zorin over the Cuban Missile Crisis. While walking through London’s Grosvenor Square with another diplomat he had a heart attack and fell to the ground, dying at St George’s Hospital later the same day.

Adlai Stevenson quotes:

A beauty is a woman you notice; a charmer is one who notices you.
    Adlai Stevenson

A diplomat’s life is made up of three ingredients: protocol, Geritol and alcohol.
    Adlai Stevenson

A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.
    Adlai Stevenson

A free society means a society based on free competition and there is no more important competition than competition in ideas, competition in opinion. This form of competition is essential to the preservation of a free press.
    Adlai Stevenson

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the White House.
    Adlai Stevenson – Speech at Washington City (13 December 1952)

A hungry man is not a free man.
    Adlai Stevenson – Speech at Kasson, Minnesota (6 September 1952)

A politician is a statesman who approaches every question with an open mouth.
    Adlai Stevenson

A wise man does not try to hurry history.
    Adlai Stevenson

A wise man does not try to hurry history. Many wars have been avoided by patience, and many have been precipitated by reckless haste.
    Adlai Stevenson

Accuracy is to a newspaper what virtue is to a lady, but a newspaper can always print a retraction.
    Adlai Stevenson

After four years at the United Nations I sometimes yearn for the peace and tranquillity of a political convention.
    Adlai Stevenson

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.
    Adlai Stevenson – Address at Princeton University, “The Educated Citizen” (22 March 1954)

America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact, the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality.
    Adlai Stevenson

An Independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics.
    Adlai Stevenson

As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end. Democracy is a high privilege, but it is also a heavy responsibility whose shadow stalks, although you may never walk in the sun.
    Adlai Stevenson – Speech at Chicago, Illinois (29 September 1952)

Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity — in short, of tyranny — and it is committed to making tyranny universal.

Adlai Stevenson

Major Campaign Speeches of Adlai E. Stevenson (1952)
Communism knows no God, and cannot satisfy the hungry heart.

Adlai Stevenson

“Candidate Tells Candid Story” in Life (2 March 1953)
Courage to do the right thing in public office is often at the price of the office.

Adlai Stevenson
Don’t be afraid of being out of tune with your environment, and above all pray God that you are not afraid to live, to live hard and fast. To my way of thinking it is not the years in your life but the life in your years that count in the long run.

Adlai Stevenson

address at Princeton University, “The Educated Citizen” (22 March 1954)
Eggheads of the world, unite; you have nothing to lose but your yolks.

Adlai Stevenson

paraphrasing The Communist Manifesto, quoted by William Safire in Safire’s Political Dictionary (2008), p. 209
Every age needs men who will redeem the time by living with a vision of the things that are to be.

Adlai Stevenson

What I Think (1956)
Flattery is all right so long as you don’t inhale.

Adlai Stevenson
For though change is inevitable, change for the better is a full-time job.

Adlai Stevenson

campaign address, Miami, Florida, (September 1956)
Freedom is not an ideal, it is not even a protection, if it means nothing more than freedom to stagnate, to live without dreams, to have no greater aim than a second car and another television set.

Adlai Stevenson

“Putting First Things First”, Foreign Affairs (January 1960)
Hunting scapegoats is not a foreign policy.

Adlai Stevenson
I believe that if we really want human brotherhood to spread and increase until it makes life safe and sane, we must also be certain that there is no one true faith or path by which it may spread.

Adlai Stevenson

“Standing Fast in Liberty” statement for Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe (1950s)
I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends … that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.

Adlai Stevenson

campaign speech at Fresno, California (10 September1952)
I have finally figured out what the Republican orators mean by what they call “moderate progressivism.” All they mean is: “Don’t just do something, Stand there.”

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Richard H. Parke in “Stevenson Gibes at the President as Inept ‘Coach'” — The New York Times (26 February 1956)
I have learned that in quiet places, reason abounds, that in quiet people there is vision and purpose, that many things are revealed to the humble that are hidden from the great.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Elizabeth Stevenson Ives and Hildegarde Dolson in My Brother Adlai (1956)
I have said what I meant and meant what I said. I have not done as well as I should like to have done, but I have done my best, frankly and forthrightly; no man can do more, and you are entitled to no less.

Adlai Stevenson

speech , (3 November 1952)

I have tried to talk about the issues in this campaign. … But, strangely enough, my friends, this road has been a lonely road because I never meet anybody coming the other way.

Adlai Stevenson

Speeches of Adlai Ewing Stevenson (1952), p. 121
I hear it said now and then that I am talking over the heads of the people. Well if it’s a mistake to appeal to intelligence and reason instead of emotion and prejudice then I plead guilty to the charge.

Adlai Stevenson
I profoundly believe that there is on this horizon, as yet only dimly perceived, a new dawn of conscience. In that purer light, people will come to see themselves in each other, which is to say they will make themselves known to one another by their similarities rather than by their differences. Man’s knowledge of things will begin to be matched by man’s knowledge of self.

Adlai Stevenson

speech in Springfield Illinois (24 October 1952)
I remember my father telling me the story of the preacher delivering an exhortation to his flock, and as he reached the climax of his exhortation, a man in the front row got up and said, ‘O Lord, use me. Use me, O Lord – in an advisory capacity!’

Adlai Stevenson
I venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952)
If the pursuit of peace is both old and new, it is also both complicated and simple. It is complicated, for it has to do with people, and nothing in this universe baffles man as much as man himself.

Adlai Stevenson

speech (24 October 1952)
If total isolationism is no answer, total interventionism is no answer, either. In fact, the clear, quick, definable, measurable answers are ruled out. In this twilight of power, there is no quick path to a convenient light switch.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Harvard University (17 June 1965)
If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (8 October 1952)
Ignorance is stubborn and prejudice dies hard.

Adlai Stevenson

address to the United Nations (1 October 1963)
I’m not an old, experienced hand at politics. But I am now seasoned enough to have learned that the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Herbert Joseph Muller in Adlai Stevenson: A Study in Values (1967), p. 174
In America any boy may become President, and I suppose it’s just one of the risks he takes.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Indianapolis, Indiana (26 September 1952)
In matters of national security emotion is no substitute for intelligence, nor rigidity for prudence. To act coolly, intelligently and prudently in perilous circumstances is the test of a man, and also a nation.

Adlai Stevenson

radio address (11 April 1955)
In the tragic days of Mussolini, the trains in Italy ran on time as never before and I am told in their way, their horrible way, that the Nazi concentration-camp system in Germany was a model of horrible efficiency. The really basic thing in government is policy. Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy, but good administration can never save bad policy.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the Los Angeles Town Club, Los Angeles, California (11 September 1952)
It is not possible for this nation to be at once politically internationalist and economically isolationist. This is just as insane as asking one Siamese twin to high dive while the other plays the piano.

Adlai Stevenson
It is odd that one of the keys to abundance should have been handed to civilization on a platter of destruction.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952)

It is often easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952)
It is said that a wise man who stands firm is a statesman, and a foolish man who stands firm is a catastrophe.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Sycney Harris in syndicated column “Some Thoughts at Large” (11 December 1980)
It seems to me that government is like a pump, and what it pumps up is just what we are, a fair sample of the intellect, the ethics and the morals of the people, no better, no worse.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by David Broder in “Voters Must Share Blame For Weakness of ‘System'” syndicated column (24 December 1975)
It was always accounted a virtue in a man to love his country. With us it is now something more than a virtue. It is a necessity. When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952)
It will be helpful in our mutual objective to allow every man in America to look his neighbor in the face and see a man, not a color.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted in The New York Times (22 June 1964)
It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Ronald Keith Gaddie in Born to Run: Origins of the Political Career (2003), p. 119
Laws are never as effective as habits.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at New York City (28 August 1952)
Let us talk sense to the American people. Let us tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains.

Adlai Stevenson

acceptance speech, Democratic National Convenction at Chicago, Illinois (26 July 1952)
Let’s face it. Let’s talk sense to the American people. Let’s tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you’re attacked, but a long, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man — war, poverty, and tyranny — and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each.

Adlai Stevenson

acceptance speech, Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois (26 July 1952)
Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Denver, Colorado (5 September 1952)
Man is a strange animal. He generally cannot read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.

Adlai Stevenson

disputed
Many of the world’s troubles are not due just to Russia or communism. They would be with us in any event because we live in an era of revolution — the revolution of rising expectations.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted in Look (22 September 1953), p. 46
More important than winning the election, is governing the nation. That is the test of a political party — the acid, final test.

Adlai Stevenson

acceptance speech, Democratic National Convenction at Chicago, Illinois (26 July 1952)
Most of us favor free enterprise for business. Let us also favor free enterprise for the mind.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952)
My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Detroit, Michigan (7 October 1952)

Nature is indifferent to the survival of the human species, including Americans.

Adlai Stevenson

radio address (29 September 1952)
Nature is neutral. Man has wrested from nature the power to make the world a desert or to make the deserts bloom. There is no evil in the atom; only in men’s souls.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Hartford, Connecticut (18 September 1952)
Never run against a war hero.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Maureen Zebian in “History Remembers … Adlai Stevenson” — The Epoch Times (4 November 2004)
Newspaper editors are men who separate the wheat from the chaff, and then print the chaff.

Adlai Stevenson
Nixon is finding out there are no tails on an Eisenhower jacket.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by William Safire in Safire’s Political Dictionary (2008), p. 133
Nothing so dates a man as to decry the younger generation.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (8 October 1952)
On the plains of hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory lay down to rest, and in resting died.

Adlai Stevenson
On this shrunken globe, men can no longer live as strangers.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Robert L. Polley in Man of Honor, Man of Peace (1965), p. 61
On this shrunken globe men can no longer live as strangers. Men can war against each other as hostile neighbors, as we are determined not to do; or they can co-exist in frigid isolation, as we are doing.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Robert L. Polley in Man of Honor, Man of Peace (1965), p. 61
Only men who confuse themselves with God would dare to pretend in this anguished and bloody era that they know the exact road to the promised land.

Adlai Stevenson

“Faith In Liberalism” address to the Liberal Party state committee, New York City (28 August 1952)
Our nation stands at a fork in the political road. In one direction lies a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland. But I say to you that it is not America.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Los Angeles California (27 October 1956)
Our strength lies, not alone in our proving grounds and our stockpiles, but in our ideals, our goals, and their universal appeal to all men who are struggling to breathe free.

Adlai Stevenson
Peace is the one condition of survival in this nuclear age.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Jeanne Larson and Madge Micheels in Seeds of Peace: A Catalogue of Quotations (1986), p. 203
Public confidence in the integrity of the Government is indispensable to faith in democracy; and when we lose faith in the system, we have lost faith in everything we fight and spend for.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the Los Angeles Town Club, Los Angeles, California (11 September 1952)
Respect for intellectual excellence, the restoration of vigor and discipline to our ideas of study, curricula which aim at strengthening intellectual fiber and stretching the power of young minds, personal commitment and responsibility, these are the preconditions of educational recovery in America today; and, I believe, they have always been the preconditions of happiness and sanity for the human race.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the United Parents Association, as quoted in The New York Times (6 April 1958)

Saskatchewan is much like Texas, except it’s more friendly to the United States.

Adlai Stevenson
Self-criticism is the secret weapon of democracy, and the candor and confession are good for the public soul.

Adlai Stevenson

welcome speech to the Democratic National Convention at Chicago, Illinois (26 July 1952)
She would rather light candles than curse the darkness and her glow has warmed the world.

Adlai Stevenson

regarding Eleanor Roosevelt, quoted in The New York Times (8 November 1962)
Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses … yet we are all children of the same Judaic-Christian civilization, with much the same religious background basically.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by William Robert Latimer in The Political Thought of Adlai E. Stevenson (1955), p. 89
Someone asked me … how I felt and I was reminded of a story that a fellow townsman of ours used to tell, Abraham Lincoln. They asked him how he felt once after an unsuccessful election. He said he felt like a little boy who has stubbed his toe in the dark. He said that he was too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh.

Adlai Stevenson

concession speech (4 November 1952)
The art of government has grown from its seeds in the tiny city-states of Greece to become the political mode of half the world. So let us dream of a world in which all states, great and small, work together for the peaceful flowering of the republic of man.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Harvard University (17 June 1965)
The best reason I can think of for not running for President of the United States is that you have to shave twice a day.

Adlai Stevenson

Bartlett’s Unfamiliar Quotations, Leonard Louis Levinson, ed. (1971), p. 237
The challenge to all of us is to prove that a free society can remain free, humane, and creative, even when it is under heavy and ruthless fire; that it can combat poverty, injustice, and intolerance in its own midst, even while resisting a monstrous foreign despotism; and that it can give men a glimpse of serenity and hope, even while calling on them for sacrifice.

Adlai Stevenson

“Faith In Liberalism” address to the Liberal Party state committee, New York City (28 August 1952)
The contest with tyranny is not a hundred-yard dash. It is a test of endurance.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at San Franciso (9 September 1952) quoted in The Stanford Daily (3 November 1952)
The dedication of a lifetime – these are words that are easy to utter, but this is a mighty assignment. For it is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952)
The early years of the United Nations have been difficult ones, but what did we expect? That peace would drift down from the skies like soft snow? That there would be no ordeal, no anguish, no testing, in this greatest of all human undertakings?

Adlai Stevenson

speech in Springfield Illinois (24 October 1952)
The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted in The New York Times (19 January 1962)
The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty.

Adlai Stevenson
The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal, that you can gather votes like box tops, is, I think, the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at the Democratic National Convention (18 August 1956)
The journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step. So we must never neglect any work of peace within our reach, however small.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Laurence J. Peter in Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time (1977), p. 508

The kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.

Adlai Stevenson

regarding Richard Nixon, quoted by Fawn M. Brodie in Richard Nixon (1983)
The New Dealers have all left Washington to make way for the car dealers.

Adlai Stevenson
The problem of cat versus bird is as old as time. If we attempt to resolve it by legislation who knows but what we may be called upon to take sides as well in the age old problems of dog versus cat, bird versus bird, or even bird versus worm. In my opinion, the State of Illinois and its local governing bodies already have enough to do without trying to control feline delinquency.

Adlai Stevenson

On vetoing a bill establishing fines for straying cats (23 April 1949)
The relationship of the toastmaster to speaker should be the same as that of the fan to the fan dancer. It should call attention to the subject without making any particular effort to cover it.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Bill Adler in The Stevenson Wit (1966)
The Republicans stroke platitudes until they purr like epigrams.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Leon Harris in The Fine Art of Political Wit, Chap. 1 (1964)
The rock-bottom foundation of a free press is the integrity of the people who run it. Our press may make a million mistakes without doing itself permanent harm so long as its proprietors are steadfast in their adherence to truth.

Adlai Stevenson

Major Campaign Speeches of Adlai E. Stevenson (1952)
The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at New York City (28 August 1952)
The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions. But there is also, it seems to me, a moment at which democracy must prove its capacity to act. Every man has a right to be heard; but no man has the right to strangle democracy with a single set of vocal chords.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at New York City (28 August 1952)
The sources of information are the springs from which democracy drinks.

Adlai Stevenson

statement (19 October 1956)
The struggle between faith and fear will decide the destiny of our nation.

Adlai Stevenson
The time to stop a revolution is at the beginning, not the end.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at San Francisco, California (9 September 1952)
The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live, and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the bill of rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak, of anti-communism.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952)
The university is the archive of the Western ideal, the keeper of the Western culture, the guardian of our heritage, the dwelling place of the free mind, the teacher of teachers.

Adlai Stevenson

fourth bicentennial Conference of Columbia University, quoted in “Text of Adlai Stevenson’s Address at Columbia” in The New York Times (6 Jun 1954)
The whole notion of loyalty inquisitions is a national characteristic of the police state, not of democracy. … We must not burn down the house to kill the rats.

Adlai Stevenson

vetoing bill to require loyalty oaths in Illinois, quoted by David M. Oshinsky in A Conspiracy So Immense (2005), p. 227
The whole notion of loyalty inquisitions is a national characteristic of the police state, not of democracy. … The history of Soviet Russia is a modern example of this ancient practice. … I must, in good conscience, protest against any unnecessary suppression of our rights as free men. … We must not burn down the house to kill the rats.

Adlai Stevenson

vetoing bill to require loyalty oaths in Illinois, quoted by David M. Oshinsky in A Conspiracy So Immense (2005), p. 227

There are worse things than losing an election; the worst thing is to lose one’s convictions and not tell the people the truth.

Adlai Stevenson

defending vote on a nuclear test ban, quoted by Edward P. Doyle in As We Knew Adlai (1966), p. 185
There is a new America every morning when we wake up. It is upon us whether we will it or not.

Adlai Stevenson

campaign address, Miami, Florida, (September 1956)
There is a spiritual hunger in the world today – and it cannot be satisfied by better cars on longer credit terms.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Jean H. Baker in The Stevensons: A Biography of an American Family (1997)
There is no evil in the atom, only in men’s souls.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Hartford, Connecticut (18 September 1952)
There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted, but now it happens to everybody.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted by Bill Adler in The Stevenson Wit (1966)
They pick a president, and then for four years they pick on him.

Adlai Stevenson
This is the social life of a diplomat: Protocol, Alcohol, and Geritol.

Adlai Stevenson

quoted in “Walter Winchell’s America” syndicated column (4 August 1964)
Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.

Adlai Stevenson

Speeches of Adlai Ewing Stevenson (1952), p. 99
True Patriotism, it seems to me, is based on tolerance and a large measure of humility.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the American Legion convention, New York City (27 August 1952)
Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Columbus, Ohio (3 October 1952)
Unreason and anti-intellectualism abominate thought. Thinking implies disagreement; and disagreement implies nonconformity; and nonconformity implies heresy; and heresy implies disloyalty. So, obviously, thinking must be stopped. But shouting is not a substitute for thinking and reason is not the subversion but the salvation of freedom.

Adlai Stevenson

A Call to Greatness (1954)
We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Richmond, Virginia (20 September 1952)
We have confused the free with the free and easy.

Adlai Stevenson

“Putting First Things First”, Foreign Affairs (January 1960)
We hear the Secretary of State boasting of his brinkmanship: the art of bringing us to the edge of the abyss.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Hartford, Connecticut (25 February 1956); referring to John Foster Dulles
We live in an era of revolution: the revolution of rising expectations.

Adlai Stevenson

Look (22 September 1953)

We mean by “politics” the people’s business, the most important business there is.

Adlai Stevenson

speech at Chicago, Illinois (19 November 1955)
We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed, for our safety, to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love we give our fragile craft.

Adlai Stevenson

speech to the UN Economic and Social Council, Geneva, Switzerland (9 July 1965)
What a man knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty is, for the most part, incommunicable.

Adlai Stevenson

address at Princeton University, “The Educated Citizen” (22 March 1954)
What [a man] knows at fifty that he did not know at twenty boils down to something like this: The knowledge he has acquired with age is not the knowledge of formulas, or forms of words, but of people, places, actions – a knowledge not gained by words but by touch, sight, sound, victories, failures, sleeplessness, devotion, love – the human experiences and emotions of this earth and of oneself and other men; and perhaps, too, a little faith, and a little reverence for things you cannot see.

Adlai Stevenson

address at Princeton University, “The Educated Citizen” (22 March 1954)
What counts now is not just what we are against, but what we are for. Who leads us is less important than what leads us – what convictions, what courage, what faith – win or lose. A man doesn’t save a century, or a civilization, but a militant party wedded to a principle can.

Adlai Stevenson

address to the Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois. (21 July 1952)
What is more difficult, to think of an encampment on the moon or of Harlem rebuilt? Both are now within the reach of our resources. Both now depend upon human decision and human will.

Adlai Stevenson
Who shall say that the American dream is ended? For myself, I believe that all we have done upon this continent is but a prelude.

Adlai Stevenson
With the supermarket as our temple and the singing commercial as our litany, are we likely to fire the world with an irresistible vision of America’s exalted purpose and inspiring way of life?

Adlai Stevenson

The Wall Street Journal (1 June 1960)
Words calculated to catch everyone may catch no one.

Adlai Stevenson

address to the Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois. (21 July 1952)
You can tell the size of a man by the size of the thing that makes him mad.

Adlai Stevenson

address to the State Committee of the Liberal Party at New York City (28 August 1952)
You will find that the truth is often unpopular and the contest between agreeable fancy and disagreeable fact is unequal. For, in the vernacular, we Americans are suckers for good news.

Adlai Stevenson

commencement address at Michigan State University (June 1958)


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