Harry S. Truman Quotes (105 Quotes)



    I sit here all day trying to persuade people to do the things they ought to have the sense to do without my persuading them. That's all the powers of the President amount to.

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

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

    I come to the office each morning and stay for long hours doing what has to be done to the best of my ability. And when you've done the best you can, you can't do any better. So when I go to sleep I turn everything over to the Lord and forget it.




    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.

    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!

    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.

    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.

    My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference.

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

    To reporters the day after his accession to the presidency, April 13, 1945 When they told me yesterday what had happened, I felt like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on me.

    A man who is not interested in politics is not doing his patriotic duty toward maintaining the constitution of the United States.

    If I hadn't been President of the United States, I probably would have ended up a piano player in a bawdy house.

    We must have strong minds, ready to accept facts as they are.

    My definition of a leader ... is a man who can persuade people to do what they dont want to do, or do what theyre too lazy to do, and like it.

    Art is parasitic on life, just as criticism is parasitic on art.

    Once a decision was made, I did not worry about it afterward.

    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.

    It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours.

    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.

    Most of the problems a President has to face have their roots in the past.

    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.

    I would rather have peace in the world than be President.

    I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have.

    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.

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

    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.


    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.

    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.


    No one who has not had the responsibility can really understand what it is like to be President, not even his closest aides or members of his immediate family. There is no end to the chain of responsibility that binds him, and he is never allowed to forget that he is President.

    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.

    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.

    Whenever I make a bum decision, I go out and make another one.

    A leader has to lead otherwise he has no business in politics.

    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.

    A statesman is a politician who's been dead ten or fifteen years.

    How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt

    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.

    A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.

    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.

    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.

    I don't believe in anti-anything. A man has to have a program you have to be for something. Otherwise, you will never get anywhere.

    Whenever a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me.

    The Marshall Plan will go down in history as one of Americas greatest contributions to the peace of the world.

    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.


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    Theodore Roosevelt - George Washington - Barack Obama - Ulysses S. Grant - Lyndon B. Johnson - Jimmy Carter - Herbert Hoover - Gerald R. Ford - Dwight D. Eisenhower - Calvin Coolidge


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