142+ Best Harry S. Truman Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Harry S. Truman was the 33rd president of the United States. He implemented the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, and established the Truman Doctrine and NATO. Profoundly inspirational Harry S. Truman quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for best known presidential quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Franklin D. Roosevelt, powerful Jimmy Carter quotes and famous John Quincy Adams quotes.

Famous Harry S. Truman Quotes

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. – Harry S. Truman

An honest public servant can’t become rich in politics. He can only attain greatness and satisfaction by service. – Harry S. Truman

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

Everybody has the right to express what he thinks. That, of course, lets the crackpots in. But if you cannot tell a crackpot when you see one, then you ought to be taken in. – Harry S. Truman

A President needs political understanding to run the government, but he may be elected without it. – Harry S. Truman

The Jews, I find, are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as Displaced Persons as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog. Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I’ve found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes. – Harry S. Truman

A leader is the man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do, and like it. – Harry S. Truman

Whenever the press quits abusing me, I know I’m in the wrong pew. I don’t mind it because when they throw bricks at me I’m a pretty good shot myself and I usually throw em back at em. – Harry S. Truman

I have little patience with people who take the Bill of Rights for granted. The Bill of Rights, contained in the first ten amendments to the Constitution, is every American’s guarantee of freedom. – Harry S. Truman

There is no more fundamental axiom of American freedom than the familiar statement: In a free country we punish men for the crimes they commit but never for the opinions they have. – Harry S. Truman

Someday we’ll awake, have a reformation of the heart, teach our kids honor and kill a few sex psychologists, put boys in high schools with men teachers (not sissies), close all the girls’ finishing schools, shoot all the efficiency experts and become a nation of God’s people once more. – Harry S. Truman

It’s not the hand that signs the laws that holds the destiny of America. It’s the hand that casts the ballot. – Harry S. Truman

A man who is influenced by the polls or is afraid to make decisions which make him unpopular is not a man to represent the welfare of the country. – Harry S. Truman

Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination. – Harry S. Truman

When you get to be President, there are all those things, the honors, the twenty-one-gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency. – Harry S. Truman

Divine Providence has played a great part in our history. I have the feeling that God has created us and brought us to our present position of power and strength for some great purpose. It is not given to us to know fully what that purpose is, but I think we may be sure of one thing, and that is that our country is intended to do all it can, in cooperating with other nations to help created peace and preserve peace in the world. It is given to defend the spiritual values-the moral code-against the vast forces of evil that seek to destroy them. – Harry S. Truman

Nothing is more important in our national life than the welfare of our children. – Harry S. Truman

The best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. – Harry S. Truman

The responsibility of the great states is to serve, and not to dominate, the world. – Harry S. Truman

I have just read your lousy review. You sound like a frustrated old man who never made a success, an eightulcer man on a four ulcer job … I have never met you but if I do, you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and a supporter below. – Harry S. Truman

Human life is something that comes to us from beyond this world, and the purpose of our society is to cherish it and to enable the individual to attain the highest achievement of which he is capable. – Harry S. Truman

All the president is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway. – Harry S. Truman

I think there is an immense shortage of Christian charity among so-called Christians. – Harry S. Truman

You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break. – Harry S. Truman

You cannot get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have the facts, you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on. – Harry S. Truman

The atom bomb was no “great decision.” It was used in the war, and for your information, there were more people killed by firebombs in Tokyo than dropping of the atomic bombs accounted for. It was merely another powerful weapon in the arsenal of righteousness. The dropping of the bombs stopped the war, save millions of lives. – Harry S. Truman

Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don’t ever apologize for anything. – Harry S. Truman

Washington is a very easy city for you to forget where you came from and why you got there in the first place. – Harry S. Truman

An optimist is presented with a problem and sees an opportunity. A pessimist is presented with an opportunity and sees a problem. – Harry S. Truman

Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time. – Harry S. Truman

Selfishness and greed, individual or national, cause most of our troubles. – Harry S. Truman

When the Liberals said they were going to create a million new jobs, I didn’t think they were all going to be tax collectors. If you can’t convince them, confuse them. – Harry S. Truman

I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you find out who’s hitting you? It’s about time that the people of America realized what the Republicans have been doing to them. – Harry S. Truman

Of course, there are dangers in religious freedom and freedom of opinion. But to deny these rights is worse than dangerous, it is absolutely fatal to liberty. – Harry S. Truman

I can remember when a good politician had to be 75 percent ability and 25 percent actor, but I can well see the day when the reverse could be true. – Harry S. Truman

Three things ruin a man: power, money, and women. I never wanted power. I never had any money, and the only woman in my life is up at the house right now. – Harry S. Truman

I never would have agreed to the formulation of the Central Intelligence Agency back in forty-seven, if I had known it would become the American Gestapo. – Harry S. Truman

Without a strong educational system — free of government control — democracy is crippled. Knowledge is not only the key to power. It is the citadel of human freedom. – Harry S. Truman

Religious and racial persecution is moronic at all times, perhaps the most idiotic of human stupidities. – Harry S. Truman

There are always a lot of people so afraid of rocking the boat that they stop rowing. We can never get ahead that way. – Harry S. Truman

The difficulty with businessmen entering politics, after they’ve had a successful business career, is that they want to start at the top. – Harry S. Truman

We should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern; that financial barriers in the way of attaining health shall be removed; that the health of all its citizens deserves the help of all the nation. – Harry S. Truman

I wonder how far Moses would have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus Christ have preached if He had taken a poll in the land of Israel? Where would the Reformation have gone if Martin Luther had taken a poll? It isn’t polls or public opinion alone of the moment that counts. – Harry S. Truman

If we do not abolish war on this earth, then surely one day war will abolish us from the earth. – Harry S. Truman

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. – Harry S. Truman

If we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible. – Harry S. Truman

The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all. – Harry S. Truman

I do not believe there is a problem in this country or the world today which could not be settled if approached through the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount. – Harry S. Truman

It doesn’t matter how big a ranch you own or how many cows you brand, the size of your funeral is still gonna depend on the weather. – Harry S. Truman

We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives – but in what we do for others. – Harry S. Truman

I sincerely regret the unfortunate choice of language which I used in my letter of August 29 to Congressman McDonough concerning the Marine Corps. – Harry S. Truman

My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. To tell the truth, there’s hardly a difference. – Harry S. Truman

Work Hard. Do your best. Keep your word. Never get too big for your britches. Trust in God. Have no fear; and Never forget a friend. – Harry S. Truman

I think one man is just as good as another so long as he’s not a ngger or a Chinaman. Uncle Will says that the Lord made a White man from dust, a ngger from mud, then He threw up what was left, and it came down a Chinaman. He does hate Chinese and Japs. So do I. It is race prejudice, I guess. But I am strongly of the opinion Negroes ought to be in Africa, Yellow men in Asia and White men in Europe and America. – Harry S. Truman

Democrats work to help people who need help. That other party, they work for people who don’t need help. That’s all there is to it. – Harry S. Truman

The President is always abused. If he isn’t, he isn’t doing anything. – Harry S. Truman

Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. – Harry S. Truman

Term limits would cure both senility and seniority- both terrible legislative diseases. – Harry S. Truman

There is some risk involved in action, there always is. But there is far more risk in failure to act. – Harry S. Truman

Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. – Harry S. Truman

I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell. – Harry S. Truman

A society will be judged by how it treats its weakest members. – Harry S. Truman

Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices. – Harry S. Truman

Ignorance and its hand-maidens, prejudice, intolerance, suspicion of our fellowman, breed dictators and breed wars. – Harry S. Truman

The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount…If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State. – Harry S. Truman

The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know. – Harry S. Truman

When even one American – who has done nothing wrong – is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth – then all Americans are in peril. – Harry S. Truman

When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship. – Harry S. Truman

The United Nations is designed to make possible lasting freedom and independence for all its members. – Harry S. Truman

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know. – Harry S. Truman

The White House is the finest prison in the world. – Harry S. Truman

Nixon is one of the few in the history of this country to run for high office talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time and lying out of both sides. – Harry S. Truman

This administration is going to be cussed and discussed for years to come. – Harry S. Truman

We shall never be able to remove suspicion and fear as potential causes of war until communication is permitted to flow, free and open, across international boundaries. – Harry S. Truman

I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have in it now. I believe it has a glorious future before it – not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization. – Harry S. Truman

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. – Harry S. Truman

You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgements about what is going on. – Harry S. Truman

It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours. – Harry S. Truman

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first. – Harry S. Truman

I’ve said many a time that I think the Un-American Activities Committee in the House of Representatives was the most un-American thing in America! – Harry S. Truman

The Marine Corps is the Navy’s police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin’s. – Harry S. Truman

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. – Harry S. Truman

Well, I wouldn’t say that I was in the great class, but I had a great time while I was trying to be great. – Harry S. Truman

My father was not a failure. After all, he was the father of a president of the United States. – Harry S. Truman

Actions are the seed of fate deeds grow into destiny. – Harry S. Truman

A leader in the Democratic Party is a boss, in the Republican Party he is a leader. – Harry S. Truman

Whenever you put a man on the Supreme Court he ceases to be your friend. – Harry S. Truman

Art is parasitic on life, just as criticism is parasitic on art. – Harry S. Truman

If I hadn’t been President of the United States, I probably would have ended up a piano player in a bawdy house. – Harry S. Truman

It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences. – Harry S. Truman

It’s plain hokum. If you can’t convince ’em, confuse ’em. It’s an old political trick. But this time it won’t work. – Harry S. Truman

In my opinion eight years as president is enough and sometimes too much for any man to serve in that capacity. – Harry S. Truman

A president either is constantly on top of events or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt that I could let up for a moment. – Harry S. Truman

Experience has shown how deeply the seeds of war are planted by economic rivalry and social injustice. – Harry S. Truman

I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell. – Harry S. Truman

Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he’d lie just to keep his hand in. – Harry S. Truman

Any man who has had the job I’ve had and didn’t have a sense of humor wouldn’t still be here. – Harry S. Truman

If I’d known how much packing I’d have to do, I’d have run again. – Harry S. Truman

You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog. – Harry S. Truman

I remember when I first came to Washington. For the first six months you wonder how the hell you ever got here. For the next six months you wonder how the hell the rest of them ever got here. – Harry S. Truman

Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it. – Harry S. Truman

Most of the problems a President has to face have their roots in the past. – Harry S. Truman

Being too good is apt to be uninteresting. – Harry S. Truman

Upon books the collective education of the race depends; they are the sole instruments of registering, perpetuating and transmitting thought. – Harry S. Truman

You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don’t believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can’t possibly foresee now. – Harry S. Truman

A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants. – Harry S. Truman

A politician is a man who understands government. A statesman is a politician who’s been dead for 15 years. – Harry S. Truman

All my life, whenever it comes time to make a decision, I make it and forget about it. – Harry S. Truman

I would rather have peace in the world than be President. – Harry S. Truman

The human animal cannot be trusted for anything good except en masse. The combined thought and action of the whole people of any race, creed or nationality, will always point in the right direction. – Harry S. Truman

I have no desire to crow over anybody or to see anybody eating crow, figuratively or otherwise. We should all get together and make a country in which everybody can eat turkey whenever he pleases. – Harry S. Truman

You and I are stuck with the necessity of taking the worst of two evils or none at all. So-I’m taking the immature Democrat as the best of the two. Nixon is impossible. – Harry S. Truman

When you’ve done the best you can, you can’t do any better. – Harry S. Truman

Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship. – Harry S. Truman

Leadership is the art to have people do something they dislike, and have them enjoy it. – Harry S. Truman

Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. – Harry S. Truman

It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. – Harry S. Truman

I studied the lives of great men and famous women; and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work. – Harry S. Truman

Whenever I make a bum decision, I go out and make another one. – Harry S. Truman

Whenever a fellow tells me he is bipartisan, I know he’s going to vote against me. – Harry S. Truman

The president is the representative of the whole nation and he’s the only lobbyist that all the one hundred and sixty million people in the country have. – Harry S. Truman

When a fellow tells me he’s bipartisan, I know he’s going to vote against me. – Harry S. Truman

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties. – Harry S. Truman

A leader has to lead, or otherwise he has no business in politics. – Harry S. Truman

That precedent should continue-not by a Constitutional amendment but by custom based on the honor of the man in the office. – Harry S. Truman

I learned that a great leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do and like it. – Harry S. Truman

I have never met you but if I do, you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and a supporter below. – Harry S. Truman

I have read your lousy review of Margaret’s concert. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are an eight ulcer man on a four ulcer job Someday I hope to meet you. When that happens, you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes and perhaps a supporter below. – Harry S. Truman

If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. – Harry S. Truman

If I want to be great, I have to win the victory over myself… self-discipline. – Harry S. Truman

I fear that machines are several centuries ahead of the mortals. – Harry S. Truman

Have fired 500 rounds at the Germans, at my command, been shelled, didn’t run away thank the Lord and never lost a man. Probably shouldn’t have told you but you’ll not worry any more if you know I’m in it than if you think I am. Have had the most strenuous work of my life, am very tired but otherwise absolutely in good condition physically mentally and morally. – Harry S. Truman

I got very well acquainted with Joe Stalin, and I like old Joe! He is a decent fellow. But Joe is a prisoner of the Politburo. – Harry S. Truman

The only thing you have to worry about is bad luck. I never had bad luck. – Harry S. Truman

The Russians are liars – you can’t trust them. At Potsdam they agreed to everything and broke their word. It’s too bad the second world power is like this, but that’s the way it is, and we must keep our strength. – Harry S. Truman

The legislative job of the President is especially important to the people who have no special representatives to plead their cause before Congress and that includes the great majority. I sometimes express it by saying the President is the only lobbyist that one hundred and fifty million Americans have. The other twenty million are able to employ people to represent them and that’s all right, it’s the exercise of the right of petition but someone has to look after the interests of the one hundred and fifty million that are left. – Harry S. Truman

At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one. – Harry S. Truman

We can never tell what is in store for us. – Harry S. Truman

Peace is precious to us. It is the way of life we strive for with all the strength and wisdom we possess. But more precious than peace are freedom and justice. We will fight, if fight we must, to keep our freedom and to prevent justice from being destroyed. – Harry S. Truman

We can all pray. We all should pray. We should ask the fulfillment of Gods will. We should ask for courage, wisdom, for the quietness of soul which comes alone to them who place their lives in His hands. – Harry S. Truman

As you get older, you get tired of doing the same things over and over again, so you think Christmas has changed. It hasn’t. It’s you who has changed. – Harry S. Truman

People are very much wrought up about the Communist bugaboo. – Harry S. Truman

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