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The quotations below offer various definitions for various terms. These quotations can be used when writing about a given topic. You may agree or disagree with the quotations. If you agree, use the quotation as a hook and agree with it. If you disagree, then prove the famous person quoted incorrect. Remember, just because someone is famous doesn't mean that he or she is always right.


  • “All great achievements require time” (Maya Angelou).

  • “I don’t measure America by its achievement but by its potential” (Shirley Chisholm).

  • “If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement” (Jimmy Carter).

  • “Only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to” (Alexander Sozhenitsyn).

  • “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best, if he wins, knows the thrills of high achievement, and, if he fails, at least fails daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat” (John F. Kennedy).


  • “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty” (Maya Angelou).

  • “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives” (Albert Einstein).

  • “The mathematical sciences particularly exhibit order, symmetry, and limitation; and these are the greatest forms of the beautiful” (Aristotle).

  • “As a white candle In a holy place, So is the beauty Of an aged face” (Joseph Campbell).

  • “Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears” (Edgar Allen Poe).

  • “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy” (Anne Frank).


  • “People can be believers, atheists, or agnostics. I’m an agnostic. I’m 95% sure that there is no God, but if I’m agnostic, I don’t have to explain myself” (Robert Welsh).

  • “I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief” (Gerry Spence).

  • “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around” (Henry David Thoreau).

  • “A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition” (Jose T. Bergamin).

  • “Belief in the truth commences with the doubting of all those ‘truths’ we once believed” (Friedrich Nietzsche).

  • “Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them. Some minds are incapable of skepticism” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).


  • “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him” (Maya Angelou).

  • “’Classic. A book which people praise and don’t read” (Mark Twain).

  • “Books will speak plain when counselors blanch” (Francis Bacon).

  • “The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall; nations perish; civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead” (Clarence Day).

  • “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest counsellors, and the most patient of teachers” (Charles Eliot).

  • “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all” (Henry David Thoreau).

  • “When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved” (Mark Twain).

  • “If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries” (John F. Kennedy).

  • “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them” (Mark Twain).

  • “A room without a book is like a body without a soul” (Cicero).


  • “Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn. Ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost” (A. Whitney Griswold).

  • “I can imagine no greater disservice to the country than to establish a system of censorship that would deny to the people of a free republic like our own their indisputable right to criticize their own public officials” (Woodrow Wilson).

  • “The censorship method ... is that of handing the job over to some frail and erring mortal man, and making him omnipotent on the assumption that his official status will make him infallible and omniscient” (George Bernard Shaw).

  • “... censorship often boils down to some male judges getting to read a lot of dirty books—with one hand” (Robin T. Morgan).

  • “But the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn't anger me” (Mark Twain).

  • “Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever” (Nadine Gordimer).


  • “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind” (Thomas Jefferson).

  • “Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal” (Arthur Schopenhauer).

  • “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery” (Prime Minister Harold Wilson).


  • “Character wants room; must not be crowded on by persons, nor be judged from glimpses got in the press of affairs, or on few occasions. It needs perspective, as a great building” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

  • “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing” (Abraham Lincoln).

  • “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power” (Abraham Lincoln).

  • “Character cannot be developed by ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved” (Helen Keller).

  • “When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends” (Japanese Proverb).

  • “You can tell the character of every man by how he accepts praise” (Seneca).

  • “Character teaches above our wills” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

  • “Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful” (Jacqueline Bisset).

  • “A man’s character is his fate” (Heraclitus).


  • “Charity creates a multitude of sins” (Oscar Wilde).

  • “Charity, like poetry, should be cultivated, if only for its being graceful” (Herman Melville).

  • “Charity brings to life again those who are spiritually dead” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

  • “Charity and justice are worth one thousand ounces of goal” (Chinese Proverb).

  • “You are much surer that you are doing good when you pay money to those who work, as the recompense of their labour, than when you give money merely in charity” (Samuel Johnson).

  • “One of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity” (Andrew Carnegie).

  • “Be charitable before wealth makes thee covetous” (Sir Thomas Browne).

  • “The charity that hastens to proclaim its good deeds, ceases to be charity, and is only pride and ostentation” (William Hutton).

  • “Charity does not like arithmetic; selfishness worships it” (Mason Cooley).

Civil Rights

  • “This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened” (John F. Kennedy).

  • “Segregation is the adultery of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

  • “The Civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, be infringed” (James Madison).

  • “There are those who say to you—we are rushing this issue of civil rights. I say we are 172 years late” (Hubert Humphrey).

  • “We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens here until we are first recognized as humans” (Malcolm X).

  • “There are those who say we can stop now, America is a color-blind society. But it isn't there yet. There are those who say we have a level playing field, but we don't yet. There are those who say that all you need is to climb up on your bootstraps, but there are too many Americans who don't have boots, much less bootstraps” (Colin Powell).


  • “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear” (Mark Twain).

  • “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened” (Billy Graham).

  • “The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy” (John F. Kennedy).

  • “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” (Muhammed Ali).

  • “Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed” (Dale Carnegie).

  • “Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway” (Robert Anthony).

  • “All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them” (Erma Bombeck).

  • “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends” (J. K. Rowling).

  • “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others” (Winston Churchill).


  • “’Tis after death that we measure men” (James Barron Hope).

  • "One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic" (Joseph Stalin).

  • “I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

  • “Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives” (A. Sachs).

  • “Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life” (Bertolt Brecht).

  • “If you live past one hundred, you’ve got it made. Very few people die past that age” (George Burns).

  • “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome” (Isaac Asimov).

  • “Death, the most dreaded of all evils, is therefore of no concern to us; for while we exist death is not present, and when death is present we no longer exist” (Epicurus).

  • “All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"-- a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live” (Mark Twain).

  • “Pity is for the living; envy is for the dead” (Mark Twain).

  • “Death is a shadow that always follows the body” (English Proverb).

  • “How frighteningly few are the persons whose death would spoil our appetite and make the world seem empty” (Eric Hoffer).

  • "Complete adaptation to environment means death. The essential point in all response is the desire to control environment" (John Dewey).


  • “Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers” (Aristotle).

  • “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education” (Franklin D. Roosevelt).

  • “In a democracy everybody has a right to be represented, including the jerks” (Chris Patten).

  • “The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and a deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed” (G. K. Chesterton).

  • “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary” (Reinhold Niebuhr).

  • “Men write many fine and plausible arguments in support of monarchy, but the fact remains that where every man in a state has a vote, brutal laws are impossible” (Mark Twain).

  • “Democracy shows not only its power in reforming governments, but in regenerating a race of men—and this is the greatest blessing of free governments” (Andrew Jackson).

  • "A democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience" (John Dewey).


  • “The dreamer dies, but never dies the dream…” (Dana Burnet).

  • “What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun? … Or does it explode?” (Langston Hughes).

  • “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:’ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mean are created equal…’” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

  • “Optimist: Day-dreamer more elegantly spelled” (Mark Twain).

  • “You see things, and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” (George Bernard Shaw).

  • "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" (Eleanor Roosevelt).

  • “To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act” (Anatole France).

  • “Dreams that do come true can be as unsettling as those that don’t” (Brett Butler).

  • “Open your heart, fling your hopes high, set your dreams aloft” (Maya Angelou).

  • “It does not do to dream and forget to live” (J. K. Rowling).


  • “Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity” (Lyndon B. Johnson).

  • “Only the educated are free” (Epictetus).

  • “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education” (Franklin D. Roosevelt).

  • “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action” (Herbert Spencer).

  • “Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends” (Benjamin Disraeli).

  • “An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t” (William Feather).

  • “Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge” (Mark Twain).

  • “By educating the young generation along the right lines, the People’s State will have to see to it that a generation of mankind is formed which will be adequate to this supreme combat that will decide the destinies of the world” (Adolph Hitler).

  • “The benefits of education and of useful knowledge, generally diffused through a community, are essential to the preservation of a free government” (Sam Houston).

  • “Education, then beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, - the balance-wheel of the social machinery”(Horace Mann).

  • “Every child must be encouraged to get as much education as he has the ability to take. We want this not only for his sake – but for the nation’s sake” (Lyndon B. Johnson).

  • "Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself" (John Dewey).


  • “Don’t envy the sinner; you don’t know what disaster awaits him” (The Bible).

  • “It is better to be envied than pitied” (Herodotus).

    “Envy is the ulcer of the soul” (Socrates).

  • “Envy and jealousy are the private parts of the human soul. Perhaps the comparison can be extended” (Friedrich Nietzshce).

  • “O beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on” (Shakespeare).


  • “Legislation to apply the principle of equal pay for equal work without discrimination because of sex is a matter of simple justice” (Dwight D. Eisenhower).

  • “All animals are equal, But some animals are more equal than others” (George Orwell).

  • “Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification” (Equal Rights Amendment).

  • “The only stable state is that in which all men are equal before the law” (Aristotle).

  • “A woman’s asking for equality in the church would be comparable to a black person’s demanding equality in the Ku Klux Klan” (Mary Daly).

  • “The craving for equality can express itself either as a desire to pull everyone down to our own level (by belittling them, excluding them, tripping them up) or as a desire to raise ourselves up along with everyone else (by acknowledging them, helping them, and rejoicing in their success” (Friedrich Nietzsche).


  • “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” (Unknown).

  • “Everything proceeds as if of its own accord, and this can all too easily tempt us to relax and let things take their course without troubling over details. Such indifference is the root of all evil” (I Ching).

  • “Those who love pain and suffering of others… wear many faces and go by many disguises, but there is only one name for them: evil. There is no understanding it. All we can do is pity and honor the victims” (Christopher Paolini).

  • “The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing” (Albert Einstein).

  • “Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

  • “Evil denotes the lack of good. Not every absence of good is an evil, for absence may be taken either in a purely negative or in a privative sense” (Thomas Aquinas).

  • “Evil is ... a moral entity and not a created one, an eternal and not a perishable entity: it existed before the world; it constituted the monstrous, the execrable being who was also to fashion such a hideous world. It will hence exist after the creatures which people this world” (Marquis de Sade).

  • “Evil draws men together” (Aristotle).

  • “Evil is obvious only in retrospect” (Gloria Steinem).

  • “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).


  • Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.


  • “The family is both the fundamental unit of society as well as the root of culture. It represents a child’s initial source of unconditional love and acceptance and provides lifelong connectedness with others” (Marianne Neifert).

  • “The family endures because it offers the truth of mortality and immortality within the same group. The family endures because, better than the commune, kibbutz, or classroom, it seems to individualize and socialize its children, to make us feel at the same time unique and yet joined to all humanity, accepted as is and yet challenged to grow, loved unconditionally and yet propelled by greater expectations” (Letty Cottin Pogrebin).

  • “Every family has bad memories” (Mario Puzo).

  • “Family life is not a computer program that runs on its own; it needs continual input from everyone” (Neil Kurshan).

  • “Family isn’t about whose blood you have. It’s about who you care about” (Trey Parker and Matt Stone).

  • “Being in a family is like being in a play. Each birth order position is like a different part in a play, with distinct and separate characteristics for each part” (Jane Nelson).


  • “[Fatherhood] is the single most creative, complicated, fulfilling, frustrating, engrossing, enriching, depleting endeavor of a man’s adult life” (Kyle D. Pruett).

  • “Fatherhood, like marriage, is a constant struggle against your limitations and self-interests. But the urge to be a perfect father is there, because your child is a perfect gift” (Kent T. Nerburn).

  • “It is a wise child that knows its own father, and an unusual one that unreservedly approves of him” (Mark Twain).

  • “The maelstrom of fatherhood is a chance to show grace under real pressure, to be cool despite the chaos of your son’s room. That’s something that’s worth a fellow’s time” (Hugh O’Neill).

  • “The moral of today’s story is that fatherhood is superfluous. The moral of the new story must be that fatherhood is essential” (David Blankenhorn).

  • “My fatherhood made me understand my parents and to honor them more for the love they gave” (Kent T. Nerburn).


  • “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself” (J. K. Rowling).

  • “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate” (John F. Kennedy).

  • “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…” (Franklin D. Roosevelt).

  • “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom” (Bertrand Russell).

  • “A timid person is frightened before a danger, a coward during the time, and a courageous person afterward” (Jean Paul Richter).

  • “In time we hate that which we often fear” (Shakespeare).

  • “You can discover what your enemies fear most by observing the means he uses to frighten you” (Eric Hoffer).

  • “It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved” (Machiavelli).


  • “Uproot guilt and sow forgiveness… thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising” (Maya Angelou).

  • “It is easier to forgive and enemy than to forgive a friend” (William Blake).

  • “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong” (Gandhi).

  • “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names” (John F. Kennedy).

  • “To err is human; to forgive, divine” (Alexander Pope).

  • “Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were” (Cherie Carter-Scott).

  • “Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much” (Oscar Wilde).

  • “Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting” (William A. Ward).


  • “I believe that freedom is the deepest need of every human soul” (George W. Bush).

  • “When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free” (Charles Evan Hughes).

  • “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it” (Thomas Paine).

  • “Whenever men take the law into their own hands, the loser is the law. And when the law loses, freedom languishes” (Robert Kennedy).

  • “Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech” (Benjamin Franklin).

  • “Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be” (Daniel J. Boorstin).

  • “Life without liberty is like a body without spirit” (Kahlil Gibran).

  • “Freedom to learn is the first necessity of guaranteeing that man himself shall be self-reliant enough to be free” (Franklin D. Roosevelt).


  • “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

  • “Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title” (Virginia Woolf).

  • “Do not walk in front of me – I may not follow. Do not walk behind me – I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend” (Albert Camus).

  • “Misfortune shows those who are not really friends” (Aristotle).

  • “I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends” (Walt Whitman).

  • “What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies” (Aristotle).

  • “Do not forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it” (Hebrews 13:2).

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