200 Excellent Quotes on Democracy By Legends

Quotes on democracy: Democracy is a system in which the people have the power to choose their leaders and make laws. It is a system in which everyone has an equal say, and everyone is treated equally. Democracy is a system of government where the people rule.

It is the best form of government because it gives people the power to make their own decisions. Democracy is not perfect, but it is the best form of government that we have. Quotes on Democracy By Legends

Quotes on Democracy

Democracy is one of the most cherished values that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a system of government in which the people are sovereign. They have the power to vote and to hold their government accountable. Every citizen should have a voice and a vote in their government. Democracy is not perfect, but it is the best way to run a country.

Democracy is “government of, by and for the people. – Abraham Lincoln

Thought control is a copyright of totalitarianism and we have no chain to it. – Robert H. Jackson

Christianity is neither, nor ever was, a part of common law. – Thomas Jefferson, 1814

Equal rights for all, special privileges for none. – Thomas Jefferson, 1780

That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part. – Thomas Jefferson

Quotes on Democracy

Freeman, casting with purchased hand The vote that shakes the turrets of the land. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

In contrast to totalitarianism, a democracy can face and live with the truth about itself. – Sidney Hook

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried. – Winston Churchill

Introduction: Understanding the Essence of Democracy

The people who own the country ought to govern it. – John Kay

Democracy means not ‘I’m as good as you are,’ but ‘You’re as good as I am. – Theodore Parker

Let the people think they govern and they will be governed. – William Penn

The greatest praise government can win is that its citizens know their rights and dare to maintain them. – Wendell Phillips

A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy. – Theodore Roosevelt

There cannot be daily democracy without daily citizenship. – Ralph Nader

Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. – Archibald MacLeish

The lesson of history is clear: democracy always wins in the end. – Marjorie Kelly

It is my principle that the will of the majority should always prevail. – Thomas Jefferson

Quotes on Democracy and Voting

A democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. – Will Rogers

I understand democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong. – Mohandas Gandhi

The primal principle of democracy is the worth and dignity of the individual. – Edward Bellamy

Quotes on Democracy and Voting

The goal to strive for is a poor government but rich people. – Andrew Johnson

The life of a republic certainly lies in the energy, virtue, and intelligence of its citizens. – Andrew Johnson, 1865

Evil acts of the past are never rectified by evil acts of the present. – Lyndon B. Johnson, July 21, 1964

I am a compromiser and maneuverer. I’m trying to get something. That’s the way our system works. –  Lyndon B. Johnson

The stakes … are too high for the government to be a spectator sport. – Barbara Jordan

The deadliest foe of democracy is not autocracy but liberty frenzied. – Otto Kahn

In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, the will of the majority is supreme. – Aristotle

Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority. – Albert Camus

In a democracy, the individual enjoys not only the ultimate power but carries the ultimate responsibility. – Norman Cousins

Democracy is not just a question of having a vote. It consists of strengthening each citizen’s possibility and capacity to participate in the deliberations involved in life in society. – Fernando Cardoso

Positive Quotes on Democracy

The road to democracy may be winding and is like a river taking many curves, but eventually the river will reach the ocean. – Chen Shui-bian

Democracy is not so much a form of government as a set of principles. – Woodrow Wilson

Positive Quotes on Democracy

We Americans have no commission from God to police the world. – Benjamin Harrison

Only very slowly and late have men come to realize that unless freedom is universal, it is only extended privilege. – Christopher Hill

While democracy must have its organizations and controls, its vital breath is individual liberty. – Charles Evans Hughes

It is not enough to merely defend democracy. To defend it may be to lose it; to extend it is to strengthen it. Democracy is not property; it is an idea. – Hubert H. Humphrey

No governmental action, no economic doctrine, no economic plan or project can replace that God-imposed responsibility of the individual man and woman to their neighbors. – Herbert Hoover, 1931

Historical Perspectives: Quotes from the Founding Fathers

Equality and justice, the two great distinguishing characteristics of democracy, follow inevitably from the conception of men, all men, as rational and spiritual beings. – Robert M. Hutchins

The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. There will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment. – Robert M. Hutchins

Surely anyone who has ever been elected to public office understands that one commodity above all others, namely the trust and confidence of the people, is fundamental in maintaining a free and open political system. – Hubert H. Humphrey

Those that are discontented under monarchy call it tyranny; and those that are displeased with aristocracy call it oligarchy: so also, those who find themselves grieving under a democracy call it anarchy, which signifies the want of government; and yet I think no man believes, that want of government is any new kind of government. – Thomas Hobbes

Powerful Quotes on Democracy

So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will arise to make them miserable.  – Aldous Huxley

Democracy is only an experiment in government, and it has the obvious disadvantage of merely counting votes instead of weighing them. – William R. Inge

Anything that keeps a politician humble is healthy for democracy. – Irish blessing

The life of a republic certainly lies in the energy, virtue, and intelligence of its citizens. – Andrew Jackson, 1865

Powerful Quotes on Democracy

It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. – Robert H. Jackson

Men are more often bribed by their loyalties and ambitions than by money. – Robert H. Jackson

The military constitutes a specialized community governed by a separate discipline from that of the civilian. – Robert H. Jackson

Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard. – Robert H. Jackson

The Power of the People: Quotes on Citizen Participation

There is a debt of service due from every man to his country, proportioned to the bounties which nature and fortune have measured to him. – Thomas Jefferson

The republican is the only form of government that is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind. – Thomas Jefferson, 1790

The support of state governments in all their rights, as the most competent administration for our domestic concerns, are the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies. – Thomas Jefferson, 1801

There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds for this are virtue and talent. – Thomas Jefferson

Where everyman is … participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year but every day … he will let the heart be torn out of his body sooner than his power be wrested from him by a Caesar or a Bonaparte. – Thomas Jefferson, 1816

The Constitution … is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please. – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge Spencer Roane, September 6, 1819

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned—this is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address: 1801

Famous Quotes on Democracy by Political Leaders

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do. – Helen Keller, 1950

Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to an untiring effort. – John F. Kennedy

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. – John F. Kennedy

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. – John F. Kennedy, 1962

Famous Quotes on Democracy by Political Leaders

The high office of president has been used to foment a plot to destroy the Americans’ freedom, and before I leave office I must inform the citizen of his plight. – John F. Kennedy, Columbia University, November 12, 1963

Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process. – John F. Kennedy

Freedom and Equality: Quotes on Democratic Values

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.  – John F. Kennedy

When we got into office, the thing that surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we’d been saying they were. – John F. Kennedy

Power … is not an end in itself, but is an instrument that must be used toward an end. – Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

The secret of the demagogue is to appear as dumb as his audience so that these people can believe themselves as smart as he is. – Karl Kraus

History does not provide us with any instance of a society that repressed the economic liberties of the individual while being solicitous of his other liberties. – Irving Kristol

As I would not be a slave, so would I not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy. – Abraham Lincoln, 1858

Famous Quotes on Democracy

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. – Abraham Lincoln

Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling. – Abraham Lincoln, 1860

The ballot is stronger than the bullet. – Abraham Lincoln

What I want is to get done what people desire to have done, and the question for me is how to find that out exactly. – Abraham Lincoln

Rights law must be intelligible, intellectually accessible to the people to whom that law is to serve, whose law it is, the law-consumers and the citizens. – Karl N. Llewellyn

Prosperity or egalitarianism—you have to choose. I favor freedom—you never achieve real equality anyway: you simply sacrifice prosperity for an illusion. – Mario Vargas Llosa

Wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins. – John Locke, 1690

The legislature cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hand: for it being but a delegated power from the people, those who have it cannot pass it over to others. – John Locke, Second Treatise of Government

The Importance of Voting: Quotes on Civic Responsibility

Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep. – Rosa Luxemburg

We are as great as our belief in human liberty—no greater. And our belief in human liberty is only ours when it is larger than ourselves. – Archibald MacLeish

The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life—to reduce it to order, but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity. – Archibald MacLeish

I am not ashamed to confess that twenty-five years ago I was a hired laborer; hauling rails, at work on a flatboat—just what might happen to any poor man’s son. I want every man to have [a] chance. – Abraham Lincoln, 1860

I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes with any other man’s rights. – Abraham Lincoln, 1858

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. – James Madison

Quotes on Democracy and Dictatorship

[The government of the United States is] a government limited … by the authority of a paramount Constitution. – James Madison, 1788

No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way harmed … except by the legal judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. – Magna Carta, 1215

A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined; one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line until one is stopped. – Norman Mailer

The first requirement of politics is not intellect or stamina but patience. Politics is a very long run game and the tortoise will usually beat the hare. – John Major

War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed. – William McKinley, March 4, 1897

The effect of [a representative democracy is] to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of the nation. – James Madison

It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. – James Madison

It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. Logically considered, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive, just as society and the individual are mutually exclusive. – Thomas Mann

The Republic Quotes on Democracy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage. – H.L. Mencken

The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy. – H.L. Mencken (also attributed to Alfred E. Smith)

No man in this country is so high that he is above the law. No officer of the law may set that law at defiance with impunity. All the officers of the government from the highest to the lowest are bound to obey it. – Samuel F. Miller

Civility costs nothing and buys everything. – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1756

The tyranny of a prince is not as dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy. – Montesquieu, 1748

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. – George Jean Nathan

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. – Reinhold Niebuhr

Democratic contrivances are quarantine measures against that ancient plague, the lust for power: as such, they are very necessary and very boring. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Democracy in Action: Quotes on Government and Governance

No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer. – George Orwell

The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society. – Karl Marx

The government of the Union, then, is emphatically and truly the government of the people. In form and in substance it emanates from them. Its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised directly on them for their benefit. – John Marshall, 1819

The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it. It is the creature of their own will, and lives only by their own will. – John Marshall, 1821

No free government, nor the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by … a frequent recurrences to fundamental principles. – George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776

A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens; the more decent the citizens, the more decent the state. – George Mason

The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic government. – George Mason

Oh my brothers, I love your country! Our country is our home, the home which God has given us, placing therein a numerous family which we love and are loved by … a family which by its concentration upon a given spot, and by the homogeneous nature of its elements, is destined for a special kind of activity. – Giuseppe Mazzini

Common Sense Quotes on Democracy

Knowledge—Zzzzzp! Money—Zzzzzp!—Power! That’s the cycle democracy is built on! – Tennessee Williams

It’s not healthy for a society if the people hate their own government. – Garry Wills

Term limits mean that you don’t trust the voters. “Stop me before I vote again.” – Garry Wills

All these financiers, all the little gnomes of Zurich.” – Harold Wilson

None of the [state] constitutions have provided sufficient checks against democracy. – Edmund Randolph

The evils we experience flow from the excesses of democracy. – Elbridge Gerry

Democracy is not so much a form of government as a set of principles. – Woodrow Wilson

Whenever war is declared, truth is the first casualty. – Arthur Ponsonby, Falsehood in Wartime: Propaganda Lies of the First World War, 1928

Challenges and Critiques: Quotes on the Pitfalls of Democracy

As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the lawgivers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end. – Adlai Stevenson, 1956

I have great faith in the people; as for their wisdom—well, Coca-Cola still outsells champagne. – Adlai Stevenson

Making peace is harder than making war. – Adlai Stevenson

Democracy’s ceremonial, its feast, its great function, is the election. – H.G. Wells

Human history has become more and more a race between education and catastrophe. – H.G. Wells

We mean by ‘politics,’ the people’s business—the most important business there is. – Adlai Stevenson

It’s not the voting that’s democracy, it’s the counting. – Tom Stoppard

There is more selfishness and less principle among members of Congress … than I had any conception of before I became President of the United States. – James K. Polk, December 16, 1846

Reading Quotes About Democracy

For forms of government, let fools contest; Whate’er is best administered is best. – Alexander Pope

Democracy substitutes elections by the incompetent many for appointments by the corrupt few. – George Bernard Shaw

A good citizen is an earner, because independence is the indelibly necessary quality of genuine, democratic citizenship. – Judith N. Shklar

The simple act of voting is the ground upon which the edifice of elective government rests ultimately. – Judith N. Shklar

Being a stateless individual is one of the most dreadful political fates that can befall anyone in the modern world. – Judith N. Shklar

Whether in private or in public, the good citizen does something to support democratic habits and the constitutional order. – Judith N. Shklar, 1991

We are a democracy, and there is only one way to get a democracy on its feet in the matter of its individual, its social, its municipal, its state, its national conduct, and that is by keeping the public informed about what is going on. – Joseph Pulitzer

The general objective was to produce a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origins, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy. – Edmund Randolph

Inspiring Change: Quotes on Democracy and Social Justice

Democracy is not a fragile flower; still it needs cultivating. – Ronald Reagan

Peace is more than just the absence of war. True peace is justice, true peace is freedom. And true peace dictates the recognition of human rights. -Ronald Reagan, 1986

Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. -Ronald Reagan, 1977

Democracy forever teases us with the contrast between its ideals and its realities, between its heroic possibilities and its sorry achievements. -Agnes Repplier

A democratic form of government, a democratic way of life, presupposes free public education over the long period; it presupposes also an education for personal responsibility that too often is neglected. – Eleanor Roosevelt

In the field of world policy; I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor. – Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933

Inside the polling booth, every American man and woman stands as the equals of every other American man and woman. There they have no superiors. There they have no masters to save their own minds and consciences. – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936

Democracy Related Quotes

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror. – Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933

To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed. – Teddy Roosevelt, 1907

American time has stretched around the world. It has become the dominant tempo of modern history, especially of the history of Europe. – Harold Rosenberg

That the schools make worthy citizens is the most important responsibility placed on them. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

If we enquire wherein lies precisely the greatest good of all, which ought to be the good of every system of law, we shall find that it comes down to two main objects, freedom and equality. –  Jean Jacques Rousseau

The body politic, like the human body, begins to die from its birth, and bears in itself the causes of its destruction. – Jean Jacques Rousseau

I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another, for no one comes into the world with a saddle on his back, nor any booted and spurred to ride him. – Richard Rumbold

I am sure that there was no man born marked by God above another; for no one comes into this world with a saddle on his back, nor any booted and spurred to ride him. – Hannibal Rumbold

The Global Perspective: Quotes on Democracy around the World

Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings. – Salman Rushdie

If one man offers you democracy and another offers you a bag of grain, at what state of starvation will you prefer the grain to a vote? – Bertrand Russell

A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree or certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which the world suffers. – Bertrand Russell

Democracy is a political method, that is to say, a certain type of institutional arrangement for arriving at political—legislative and administrative—decisions and hence incapable of being an end in itself. – Joseph A. Schumpeter

Civil authority, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all. – Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776

Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually also recognize the voice of justice. – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The objective of government is not to change men from rational beings into puppets, but to enable them to develop their minds and bodies in security, and to employ their reason unshackled. … The true aim of government is liberty. – Baruch Spinoza

Democracy’s Future: Quotes on the Evolution and Sustainability of Democratic Systems

Without the ability to participate intelligently in politics, one cannot use one’s votes to advance one’s aims nor can one be said to participate in a process of reasoned deliberation among equals. – Tom Christiano, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group’s greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. – Gloria Steinem

Let us never forget that our constitutions of government are solemn instruments, addressed to the common sense of the people and designed to fix and perpetuate their rights and their liberties. – Joseph Story

People who want to understand democracy should spend less time in the library with Aristotle and more time on the busses and in the subway. – Simeon Strunsky

Constitutions are checks upon the hasty actions of the majority. They are the self-imposed restraints of a whole people upon a majority of them to secure sober action and a respect for the rights of the minority. – William Howard Taft, 1900

There is a limit to the application of democratic methods. You can inquire of all the passengers as to what type of car they like to ride in, but it is impossible to question them as to whether to apply the brakes when the train is at full speed and accident threatens. – Leon Trotsky

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. – Harry S. Truman

I am a democrat only on principle, not by instinct—nobody is that. Doubtless some people say they are, but this world is grievously given to lying. – Mark Twain

The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. – George Washington, Treaty of Tripoli, 1796

Act as if the whole election depended on your single vote, and as if the whole Parliament (and therein the whole nation) on the single person whom you now chose to be a member of it. – John Wesley

Quotes About Democracy and Freedom

In every human breast, God has implanted a principle, which we call love of freedom; it is impatient of oppression and pants for deliverance. – Phillis Wheatley

Democracy is the hole in the stuffed shirt through which the sawdust slowly trickles. – E.B. White

Democracy is the recurring suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. – E.B. White

I cannot repeat too often that [democracy] is a word, the real gist of which still sleeps, quite unawakened, notwithstanding the resonance and many angry tempests out of which its syllables have come. … It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten because that history has yet to be enacted. – Walt Whitman

Political democracy … with all its threatening evils, supplies a training school for making first class men. It is life’s gymnasium, not of good only, but of all. – Walt Whitman

There are three kinds of despots. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the body. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the soul. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the soul and body alike. The first is called the Prince. The second is called the Pope. The third is called the People. – Oscar Wilde

Freedom is an indivisible word. If we want to enjoy it, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with us or not, no matter what their race or the color of their skin. – Wendell Willkie

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it. – Woodrow Wilson

Conclusion: Reflections on Democracy through Words of Wisdom

This sacrifice of individual interests to the greater good of the whole formed the essence of republicanism and comprehended for Americans the idealistic goal of their Revolution. … This republican ideology both presumed and helped shape America’s conception of the way their society and politics should be structured and operated. – Gordon Wood, 1969

A judge … is a public servant who must follow his conscience, whether or not he counters the manifest wishes of those he serves; whether or not his decision seems a surrender to prevalent demands. – Hiller B. Zobel

Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings. – Simone Weil

It would seem that man was born a slave, and that slavery is his natural condition. At the same time nothing on earth can stop a man from feeling himself born for liberty. Never, whatever may happen, can he accept servitude; for he is a thinking creature. – Simone Weil

In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. – Orson Welles

Democracy is a system of government in which citizens exercise power by voting. As a form of government, democracy allows for social and political freedoms as well as the rule of law. Democracy is thought to be the best form of government because it allows for a lot of people to make decisions that affect their community. It is also a system that is resistant to corruption.