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Martin van Buren quotes

1782 - 1862, 8th President of the United States

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.
Martin Van Buren

The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity.
Martin Van Buren

As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the
office and my surrender of it.
Martin Van Buren

The government should not be guided by temporary excitement, but by sober second
Martin Van Buren

For myself, therefore, I desire to declare that the principle that will govern me in the high
duty to which my country calls me is a strict adherence to the letter and spirit of the
Constitution as it was designed by those who framed it.
Martin Van Buren

There is a power in public opinion in this country - and I thank God for it: for it is the most
honest and best of all powers - which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to
hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens.
Martin Van Buren

The people under our system, like the king in a monarchy, never dies.
Martin Van Buren

In all the attributes of a great, happy, and flourishing people we stand without a parallel in
the world. Abroad we enjoy the respect and, with scarcely an exception, the friendship of
every nation; at home, while our Government quietly but efficiently performs the sole
legitimate end of political institutions - in doing the greatest good to the greatest number -
we present an aggregate of human prosperity surely not elsewhere to be found.
Martin Van Buren

Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs;
but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only
secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe.
Martin Van Buren

The perpetuity of our institutions depends upon ourselves; that if we maintain the principles
on which they were established they are destined to confer their benefits on countless
generations yet to come, and that America will present to every friend of mankind the
cheering proof that a popular government, wisely formed, is wanting in no element of
endurance or strength.
Martin Van Buren

The national will is the supreme law of the Republic, and on all subjects within the limits of his
constitutional powers should be faithfully obeyed by the public servant.
Martin Van Buren

I tread in the footsteps of illustrious men... in receiving from the people the sacred trust
confided to my illustrious predecessor.
Martin Van Buren

Banks properly established and conducted are highly useful to the business of the country, and
will doubtless continue to exist in the States so long as they conform to their laws and are
found to be safe and beneficial.
Martin Van Buren

If laws acting upon private interests can not always be avoided, they should be confined
within the narrowest limits, and left wherever possible to the legislatures of the States.
Martin Van Buren

The connection which formerly existed between the Government and banks was in reality
injurious to both, as well as to the general interests of the community at large.
Martin Van Buren

It seems proper, at all events, that by an early enactment similar to that of other countries
the application of public money by an officer of Government to private uses should be made a
felony and visited with severe and ignominious punishment.
Martin Van Buren

In a government whose distinguishing characteristic should be a diffusion and equalization of its
benefits and burdens the advantage of individuals will be augmented at the expense of the
community at large.
Martin Van Buren

All communities are apt to look to government for too much. Even in our own country, where its
powers and duties are so strictly limited, we are prone to do so, especially at periods of sudden
embarrassment and distress.
Martin Van Buren