Intermediate Form

Tom's Quotes File

The following is my quotes file, a collection of some of the best quotes I've read or heard over the years. While I make an effort to obtain accuracy, I make no guarantees.

This page is automatically generated from my master file. As a result, it's not version controlled. It may change in unpredictable ways, although I plan only to add new entries and correct existing ones. Your best bet is to copy any quote that you're interested in.


Independence forever

- John Adams


No American will think it wrong of me if I proclaim that to have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. I could not foretell the course of events. I do not pretend to have measured accurately the martial might of Japan, but now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all! Yes, after Dunkirk; after the fall of France; after the horrible episode of Oran; after the threat of invasion, when, apart from the Air and the Navy, we were an almost unarmed people; after the deadly struggle of the U-boat war -- the first Battle of the Atlantic, gained by a hand's breadth; after seventeen months of lonely fighting and nineteen months of my responsibility in dire stress, we had won the war. England would live; Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations and the Empire would live. How long the war would last or in what fashion it would end, no man could tell, nor did I at this moment care. Once again in our long Island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutiliated, safe and victorious. We should not be wiped out. Our history would not come to an end. We might not even have to die as individuals. Hitler's fate was sealed. Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder. All the rest was merely the proper application of overwhelming force. The British Empire, the Soviet Union, and now the United States, bound together with every scrap of their life and strength, were, according to my lights, twice or even thrice the force of their antagonists. No doubt it would take a long time. I expected terrible forfeits in the East; but all this would be merely a passing phase. United we could subdue everybody else in the world. Many disasters, immeasurable cost and tribulation lay ahead, but there was no more doubt about the end.

Silly people -- and there were many, not only in enemy countries -- might discount the force of the United States. Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand blood-letting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyze their war effort. They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe. Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy, and talkative people. But I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a remark which Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before -- that the United States is like "a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate." Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.

- Winston S. Churchill, _The Grand Alliance_


Do not get into a fight if you can possibly avoid it. If you get in, see it through. Don't hit if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting, but never hit soft. Don't hit at all if you can help it; don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep.

- Teddy Roosevelt


Any successful engineer soon learns that the universe doesn't respect our opinions.

- Steven Den Beste


I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering.

You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs -- victory in spite of all terrors -- victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

- Winston Churchill, May 13, 1940


If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.

- Winston Churchill


This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.

- Winston Churchill


A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

- Sir Winston Churchill


A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

- Sir Winston Churchill


Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.

- Sir Winston Churchill


Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.

- Sir Winston Churchill


Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.

- Sir Winston Churchill


From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

- Sir Winston Churchill


He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

- Sir Winston Churchill


History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

- Sir Winston Churchill


I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

- Sir Winston Churchill


I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

- Sir Winston Churchill


It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped on link at a time.

- Sir Winston Churchill


Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.

- Sir Winston Churchill


One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.

- Sir Winston Churchill


Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.

- Sir Winston Churchill


Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

- Sir Winston Churchill


The price of greatness is responsibility.

- Sir Winston Churchill


The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning.

- Sir Winston Churchill


We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

- Sir Winston Churchill


When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.

- Sir Winston Churchill


When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.

- Sir Winston Churchill


I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."

- Sir Winston Churchill, Hansard, May 13, 1940


Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

- Sir Winston Churchill, Hansard, November 11, 1947


I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.

- Sir Winston Churchill, Radio speech, 1939


Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt... We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.

- Sir Winston Churchill, Radio speech, 1941


One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once 'The Unnecessary War'.

- Sir Winston Churchill, Second World War (1948)


The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.

- Sir Winston Churchill, Speech at Harvard University, September 6, 1943


For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else.

- Sir Winston Churchill, speech at the Lord Mayor's banquet, London, November 9, 1954


Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

- Sir Winston Churchill, Speech in November 1942


We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.

- Sir Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons, July 14, 1940


A love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world must roll forward.

- Sir Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons, November 29, 1944


If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time--a tremendous whack.

- Winston Churchill


In war: resolution.

In defeat: defiance.

In victory: magnanimity.

In peace: goodwill.

- Winston Churchill


We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

- Winston Churchill


You do your worst, and we'll do our best.

- Winston Churchill


We will always remember, we will always be proud, we will always be prepared, so we may always be free.

- Ronald Reagan


If I have seen farther than others it is because I am standing among giants who are very thin and don't obscure the view much.

- Christopher Lansdown


In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression --everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way-- everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants --everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor --anywhere in the wold. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called "new order" of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

- Franklin D. Roosevelt


It takes but one to make a war, not two, and those who do not have swords may still die upon them.

- Eowyn, _The Lord of the Rings_


It is better that half of us live to be free than that all of us live to be slaves.

- Steven Den Beste, 11/30/2002


"You're right. We don't know how to fight it. We don't know when it will come. We can't run, can't hide, can't pretend it's not the end 'cause it is. And something's always been there to destroy the world. We've beaten them back. We're not dealing with them any more. We're dealing with the reason they exist. Evil. Strongest. The First."

I'm beyond tired. I'm beyond scared. I'm standing on the mouth of hell and it is gonna swallow me whole.

And it'll choke on me.

We're not ready. They're not ready. They think we're going to wait for the end to come, like we always do. I'm done waiting. They want an apocolypse. Oh, we'll give 'em one.

Anyone else who wants to run, do it now. 'cause we just became an army. We just declared war. From now on we won't just face our worst fears, we will seek them out. We will find them and cut out their hearts one by one, until the first shows itself for what it really is. And I'll kill it myself.

There is only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil. And that's us.

Any questions?

- Buffy, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"


Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships as well as high reward. So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer, to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this State of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them.

This country was conquered by those who moved forward and so will space. William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage. If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man in his quest for knowledge and progress is determined and cannot be deterred.

- John F. Kennedy


This is a bad day. I'm glad that I work and live in a country where when we have a bad day, we go fix it.

- Milt Heflin, STS-107 Chief Flight Director


Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard.

- George W. Bush


There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

- John F. Kennedy


"Not another flag has such an errand, carrying everywhere, the world around, such hope for freedom - such glorious tidings."

- Henry Ward Beecher


And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

- U.S. District Court Judge William Young, sentencing Richard Reid


It seems to me you hate the one thing that is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.

Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.

It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their, their representation of you before other judges. We are about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden, pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.

Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice,individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.

The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. You know it always will.

- U.S. District Court Judge William Young, sentencing Richard Reid


A man who is cured of cancer does not complain about a common cold.

- Mohsen Saleh


If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.

- Thomas Paine


We're getting ready to make history. You know what we're about to do. From the day that we were born we were destined to be in this room today. I've trained, I've absolute confidence in everyone in this room, but I want you to know something: No matter what happens to us this day, I will stand behind every decision that you make.

However it goes, when we walk out of this room, we walk out of this room as a team.

- Gene Kranz, Apollo 11 Flight Director, before the first moon landing.


...and there I realized that it's impossible, but I'll do it.

- Phillipe Petit