Elihu Root

Elihu
Root
1845
1937

American Lawyer, Educator, Cabinet Officer, Statesman, Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Author Quotes

Human life is held in much higher esteem, and the taking of it, whether in private quarrel or by judicial procedure, is looked upon much more seriously than it was formerly.

The limitation upon this mode of promoting peace lies in the fact that it consists in an appeal to the civilized side of man, while war is the product of forces proceeding from man's original savage nature.

I guess you will have to go to jail. If that is the result of not understanding the Income Tax Law I shall meet you there. We shall have a merry, merry time, for all of our friends will be there. It will be an intellectual center, for no one understands the Income Tax Law except persons who have not sufficient intelligence to understand the questions that arise under it.

The line of least resistance in the progress of civilization is to make that theoretical postulate real by the continually increasing force of the world's public opinion.

I observe that there are two entirely different theories according to which individual men seek to get on in the world. One theory leads a man to pull down everybody around him in order to climb up on them to a higher place. The other leads a man to help everybody around him in order that he may go up with them.

The mere assemblage of peace loving people to interchange convincing reasons for their common faith, mere exhortation and argument to the public in favor of peace in general fall short of the mark.

In the first place, when there is a policy of intentional aggression, inspired by a desire to get possession of the territory or the trade of another country, right or wrong, a pretext is always sought.

The methods of peace propaganda which aim at establishing peace doctrine by argument and by creating a feeling favorable to peace in general seem to fall short of reaching the springs of human action and of dealing with the causes of the conduct which they seek to modify.

It is not uncommon in modern times to see governments straining every nerve to keep the peace, and the people whom they represent, with patriotic enthusiasm and resentment over real or fancied wrongs, urging them forward to war.

The old system of exploitation of colonies and the monopolization of their trade for the benefit of the mother country has practically disappeared.

It is to be observed that every case of war averted is a gain in general, for it helps to form a habit of peace, and community habits long continued become standards of conduct.

The point of departure of the process to which we wish to contribute is the fact that war is the natural reaction of human nature in the savage state, while peace is the result of acquired characteristics.

Love of fighting was bred in the blood of the race because those who did not love fighting were not suited to their environment and perished.

The popular tendency is to listen approvingly to the most extreme statements and claims of politicians and orators who seek popularity by declaring their own country right in everything and other countries wrong in everything.

No nation now sets forth to despoil another upon the avowed ground that it desires the spoils.

The theoretical postulate of all diplomatic discussion between nations is the assumed willingness of every nation to do justice.

Nobody knows through how many thousands of years fighting men have made a place for themselves while the weak and peaceable have gone to the wall.

The wolf always charges the lamb with muddying the stream.

Nothing is more important in the preservation of peace than to secure among the great mass of the people living under constitutional government a just conception of the rights which their nation has against others and of the duties their nation owes to others.

The worst, the hardest, the most disagreeable thing that you may have to do may be the thing that

About half of the practice of a decent lawyer is telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.

Politics is the practical exercise of the art of self-government, and somebody must attend to it if we are to have self-government; somebody must study it, and learn the art, and exercise patience and sympathy and skill to bring the multitude of opinions and wishes of self-governing people into such order that some prevailing opinion may be expressed and peaceably accepted. Otherwise, confusion will result either in dictatorship or anarchy. The principal ground of reproach against any American citizen should be that he is not a politician. Everyone ought to be, as Lincoln was.

To eradicate or modify or curb the tendencies which thus survive among civilized men is not a matter of intellectual conviction or training.

At the same time, freedom of trade regardless of political control is diminishing the comparative value of extension of territory.

Science has been arranging, classifying, methodizing, simplifying, everything except itself. It has made possible the tremendous modern development of power of organization which has so multiplied the effective power of human effort as to make the differences from the past seem to be of kind rather than of degree. It has organized itself very imperfectly. Scientific men are only recently realizing that the principles which apply to success on a large scale in transportation and manufacture and general staff work to apply them; that the difference between a mob and an army does not depend upon occupation or purpose but upon human nature; that the effective power of a great number of scientific men may be increased by organization just as the effective power of a great number of laborers may be increased by military discipline.

Author Picture
First Name
Elihu
Last Name
Root
Birth Date
1845
Death Date
1937
Bio

American Lawyer, Educator, Cabinet Officer, Statesman, Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize