147+ Best Woodrow Wilson Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was an American politician, lawyer, and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. Wilson was best remembered for his legislative accomplishments and his high-minded idealism. Inspirational Woodrow Wilson quotes will get you through anything when the going gets tough and help you succeed in every aspect of life.

Famous Woodrow Wilson Quotes

I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow. – Woodrow Wilson

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. – Woodrow Wilson

The object of love is to serve, not to win. – Woodrow Wilson

We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks. – Woodrow Wilson

Power consists in one’s capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation. – Woodrow Wilson

The princes among us are those who forget themselves and serve others. – Woodrow Wilson

Every people has a right to choose the sovereignty under which they shall live. – Woodrow Wilson

No man can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach. – Woodrow Wilson

I would not speak with disrespect of the Republican Party. I always speak with great respect of the past. – Woodrow Wilson

The man who reads everything is like the man who eats everything: he can digest nothing, and the penalty of crowding one’s mind with other men’s thoughts is to have no thoughts of one’s own. – Woodrow Wilson

No task, rightly done, is truly private. It is part of the world’s work. – Woodrow Wilson

America cannot be an ostrich with its head in the sand. – Woodrow Wilson

America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scripture. – Woodrow Wilson

When correcting a child, the goal is to apply light, not heat. – Woodrow Wilson

Understanding is the soil in which grow all the fruits of friendship. – Woodrow Wilson

The flag of the United States has not been created by rhetorical sentences in declarations of independence and in bills of rights. It has been created by the experience of a great people, and nothing is written upon it that has not been written by their life. It is the embodiment, not of a sentiment, but of a history. – Woodrow Wilson

There is something better, if possible, that a man can give than his life. That is his living spirit to a service that is not easy, to resist counsels that are hard to resist, to stand against purposes that are difficult to stand against. – Woodrow Wilson

I had rather have everybody on my side than be armed to the teeth. – Woodrow Wilson

When men take up arms to set other men free, there is something sacred and holy in the warfare. – Woodrow Wilson

The world must be made safe for democracy. – Woodrow Wilson

I am a most unhappy man. I accidentally ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. Our government is no longer based on the freedom of opinion, nor on the conviction and the majority decision, it is now a government which is subjected to the conviction and the compulsion of a small group of dominant men. – Woodrow Wilson

You cannot tear up ancient rootages and safely plant the tree of liberty in soil that is not native to it. – Woodrow Wilson

America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness, which are derived from Holy Scripture. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very simple thing to ask of you. I ask of every man and woman in this audience that, from this night on, they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great Book of revelations. (The Bible) That if they would see America free and pure, they will make their own spirits free and pure by the baptism of Holy Scripture. – Woodrow Wilson

Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice. Society is a living organism and must obey the laws of life, not of mechanics; it must develop. All that progressives ask or desire is permission-in an era when ‘development,’ ‘evolution,’ is the scientific word-to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine. – Woodrow Wilson

The whole purpose of democracy is that we may hold counsel with one another, so as not to depend upon the understanding of one man. – Woodrow Wilson

We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true. – Woodrow Wilson

The right is more precious than peace. – Woodrow Wilson

No man has ever risen to the stature of spiritual manhood until he has found that it is finer to serve somebody else than it is to serve himself. – Woodrow Wilson

The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them. – Woodrow Wilson

Liberty does not consist in mere declarations of the rights of man. It consists in the translation of those declarations into definite action. – Woodrow Wilson

I am sorry for men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and pleasure. – Woodrow Wilson

We are not here merely to make a living. We are here to enrich the world. – Woodrow Wilson

Benevolence does not consist in those who are prosperous pitying and helping those who are not. It consists in fellow feeling that puts you upon actually the same level with the fellow who suffers. – Woodrow Wilson

A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom. – Woodrow Wilson

No people are true Christians who do not think constantly of how they can lift their brother and sister, how they can assist their friends, how they can enlighten mankind, how they can make virtue the rule of conduct in the circle in which they live. – Woodrow Wilson

Responsibility is proportionate to opportunity. – Woodrow Wilson

The truth is we are all caught in a great economic system which is heartless. – Woodrow Wilson

Government ought to be all outside and no inside… Everybody knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety. – Woodrow Wilson

The cure for bad politics is the same as the cure for tuberculosis. It is living in the open. – Woodrow Wilson

The history of liberty is a history of resistance. – Woodrow Wilson

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

A conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt. – Woodrow Wilson

The fewer the desires, the more peace. – Woodrow Wilson

To conquer with arms is to make only a temporary conquest; to conquer the world by earning its esteem is to make a permanent conquest. – Woodrow Wilson

Work is the keystone of a perfect life. Work and trust in God. – Woodrow Wilson

The use of a university is to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible. – Woodrow Wilson

The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history. – Woodrow Wilson

The way to stop financial joyriding is to arrest the chauffeur, not the automobile. – Woodrow Wilson

Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. – Woodrow Wilson

The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy. – Woodrow Wilson

The difference between a strong man and a weak one is that the former does not give up after a defeat. – Woodrow Wilson

We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this. – Woodrow Wilson

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. – Woodrow Wilson

My urgent advice to you would be, not only always to think first of America, but always, also, to think first of humanity. You do not love humanity if you seek to divide humanity into jealous camps. Humanity can be welded together only by love, by sympathy, by justice, not by jealousy and hatred. I am sorry for the man who seeks to make personal capital out of the passions of his fellowmen. He has lost touch with the ideal of America. For America was created to unit mankind. – Woodrow Wilson

If you lose your wealth, you have lost nothing; if you lose your health, you have lost something; but if you lose your character, you have lost everything. – Woodrow Wilson

I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty. – Woodrow Wilson

The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people. – Woodrow Wilson

I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. – Woodrow Wilson

A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about. – Woodrow Wilson

We are not put into this world to sit still and know; we are put into it to act. – Woodrow Wilson

There is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. – Woodrow Wilson

I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow. – Woodrow Wilson

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience. – Woodrow Wilson

We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction. There are many voices of counsel, but few voices of vision; there is much excitement and feverish activity, but little concert of thoughtful purpose. We are distressed by our own ungoverned, undirected energies and do many things, but nothing long. It is our duty to find ourselves. – Woodrow Wilson

To do things today exactly the way you did them yesterday saves thinking. – Woodrow Wilson

The world can be at peace only if the world is stable, and there can be no stability where the will is in rebellion, where there is not tranquility of spirit and a sense of justice, of freedom, and of right. – Woodrow Wilson

You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. – Woodrow Wilson

The man who disparages music as a luxury and non-essential is doing the nation an injury. Music now, more than ever before, is a national need. – Woodrow Wilson

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. – Woodrow Wilson

America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal – to discover and maintain liberty among men. – Woodrow Wilson

One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat. – Woodrow Wilson

The method of political science is the interpretation of life; its instrument is insight, a nice understanding of subtle, unformulated conditions. – Woodrow Wilson

Tell me what is right, and I will fight for it. – Woodrow Wilson

America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses. – Woodrow Wilson

Prosperity is necessarily the first theme of a political campaign. – Woodrow Wilson

Property as compared with humanity, as compared with the red blood in the American people, must take second place, not first place. – Woodrow Wilson

Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose. – Woodrow Wilson

You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape. – Woodrow Wilson

Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world. – Woodrow Wilson

Never attempt to murder a man who is committing suicide. – Woodrow Wilson

In the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach. – Woodrow Wilson

That a peasant may become king does not render the kingdom democratic. – Woodrow Wilson

Business underlies everything in our national life, including our spiritual life. Witness the fact that in the Lord’s Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach. – Woodrow Wilson

There can be no equality or opportunity if men and women and children be not shielded in their lives from the consequences of great industrial and social processes which they cannot alter, control, or singly cope with. – Woodrow Wilson

I have long enjoyed the friendship and companionship of Republicans because I am by instinct a teacher, and I would like to teach them something. – Woodrow Wilson

I will not speak with disrespect of the Republican Party. I always speak with respect of the past. – Woodrow Wilson

I have come slowly into possession of such powers as I have. I receive the opinions of my day. I do not conceive them. But I receive them into a vivid mind. – Woodrow Wilson

At every crisis in one’s life, it is absolute salvation to have some sympathetic friend to whom you can think aloud without restraint or misgiving. – Woodrow Wilson

Absolute identity with one’s cause is the first and great condition of successful leadership. – Woodrow Wilson

Generally young men are regarded as radicals. This is a popular misconception. The most conservative persons I ever met are college undergraduates. The radicals are the men past middle life. – Woodrow Wilson

We have not given science too big a place in our education, but we have made a perilous mistake in giving it too great a preponderance in method in every other branch of study. – Woodrow Wilson

There is little for the great part of the history of the world except the bitter tears of pity and the hot tears of wrath. – Woodrow Wilson

My dream of politics all my life has been that it is the common business, that it is something we owe to each other to understand and discuss with absolute frankness. – Woodrow Wilson

Politics I conceive to be nothing more than the science of the ordered progress of society along the lines of greatest usefulness and convenience to itself. – Woodrow Wilson

A conservative is a man who just sits and thinks, mostly sits. – Woodrow Wilson

There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed. – Woodrow Wilson

The question of armaments, whether on land or sea, is the most immediately and intensely practical question connected with the future fortunes of nations and of mankind. – Woodrow Wilson

The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation. – Woodrow Wilson

Interest does not tie nations together; it sometimes separates them. But sympathy and understanding does unite them. – Woodrow Wilson

Neutrality is a negative word. It does not express what America ought to feel. We are not trying to keep out of trouble; we are trying to preserve the foundations on which peace may be rebuilt. – Woodrow Wilson

Princeton is no longer a thing for Princeton men to please themselves with. Princeton is a thing with which Princeton men must satisfy the country. – Woodrow Wilson

The world is not looking for servants, there are plenty of these, but for masters, men who form their purposes and then carry them out, let the consequences be what they may. – Woodrow Wilson

If there are men in this country big enough to own the government of the United States, they are going to own it. – Woodrow Wilson

It is like writing history with lightning and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true. – Woodrow Wilson

If you think too much about being re-elected, it is very difficult to be worth re-electing. – Woodrow Wilson

My own ideals for the university are those of a genuine democracy and serious scholarship. These two, indeed, seem to go together. – Woodrow Wilson

By ‘radical,’ I understand one who goes too far; by ‘conservative,’ one who does not go far enough; by ‘reactionary,’ one who won’t go at all. – Woodrow Wilson

He is not a true man of the world who knows only the present fashions of it. – Woodrow Wilson

I am not sure that it is of the first importance that you should be happy. Many an unhappy man has been of deep service to himself and to the world. – Woodrow Wilson

When I give a man an office, I watch him carefully to see whether he is swelling or growing. – Woodrow Wilson

So far as the colleges go, the sideshows are swallowing up the circus. – Woodrow Wilson

What we seek is the reign of law, based upon the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind. – Woodrow Wilson

There are blessed intervals when I forget by one means or another that I am President of the United States. – Woodrow Wilson

Every man who takes office in Washington either grows or swells, and when I give a man an office, I watch him carefully to see whether he is swelling or growing. The mischief of it is that when they swell, they do not swell enough to burst. – Woodrow Wilson

The awakening of the people of China to the possibilities under free government is the most significant, if not the most momentous, event of our generation. – Woodrow Wilson

America is not anything if it consists of each of us. It is something only if it consists of all of us. – Woodrow Wilson

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

As compared with the college politician, the real article seems like an amateur. – Woodrow Wilson

When I am travelling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly. – Woodrow Wilson

Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honor steady to a common end and prefer the interest of mankind to any narrow interest of their own. – Woodrow Wilson

I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately triumph than to triumph in a cause that will ultimately fail. – Woodrow Wilson

I fancy that it is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shooting at you. – Woodrow Wilson

Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness, and all the ugly distempers that make an ordered life impossible. – Woodrow Wilson

Just what is it that America stands for? If she stands for one thing more than another it is for the sovereignty of self-governing people. – Woodrow Wilson

It is easier to change the location of a cemetery, than to change the school curriculum. – Woodrow Wilson

The Americans who went to Europe to die are a unique breed…. (They) crossed the seas to a foreign land to fight for a cause which they did not pretend was peculiarly their own, which they knew was the cause of humanity and mankind. These Americans gave the greatest of all gifts, the gift of life and the gift of spirit. – Woodrow Wilson

We should not only use the brains we have, but all that we can borrow. – Woodrow Wilson

Too much law was too much government; and too much government was too little individual privilege, as too much individual privilege in its turn was selfish license. – Woodrow Wilson

You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American. – Woodrow Wilson

There is no question what the roll of honor in America is. The roll of honor consists of the names of men who have squared their conduct by ideals of duty. – Woodrow Wilson

We cannot, we will not, choose the path of surrender. – Woodrow Wilson

Fear God and you need not be afraid of anyone else. – Woodrow Wilson

The sum of the whole matter is this, that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually. – Woodrow Wilson

The thing to do is to supply light and not heat. – Woodrow Wilson

A little group of willful men reflecting no opinion but their own have rendered the great Government of the United States helpless and contemptible. – Woodrow Wilson

There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it it does not need to convince others by force that it is right. – Woodrow Wilson

It must be peace without victory; only a peace between equals can last. – Woodrow Wilson

No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation. – Woodrow Wilson

The nation’s honor is dearer than the nation’s comfort; yes, than the nation’s life itself. – Woodrow Wilson

If I am to speak for ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now. – Woodrow Wilson

The Government of the United States would be constrained to hold the Imperial German government to a strict accountability for such acts of their naval authorities. – Woodrow Wilson

The profession I chose was politics; the profession I entered was law. I entered the one because I thought it would lead to the other. – Woodrow Wilson

Energy in a nation is like sap in a tree; it rises from bottom up. – Woodrow Wilson

Politics is a war of causes; a joust of principles. Government is too serious a matter to admit of meaningless courtesies. – Woodrow Wilson

No thoughtful man ever came to the end of his life, and had time and a little space of calm from which to look back upon it, who did not know and acknowledge that it was what he had done unselfishly and for others, and nothing else, that satisfied him in the retrospect, and made him feel that he had played the man. – Woodrow Wilson

I want the people to love me, but I suppose they never will. – Woodrow Wilson

Government, in it’s last analysis, is organized force. – Woodrow Wilson

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