Review: Presidential Wit and Wisdom

I was recently gifted this brilliant little book, a great quick read, containing selected quotes of various U.S. presidents. This book would be the perfect gift for any person interested in U.S. history.

Here are two selections from James Madison and a bonus track from William Henry Harrison.

James Madison: “The problem to be solved is, not what form of Government is perfect, but which form is least imperfect.”

In a letter from William Cogswell, March 10, 1834. page 107.

James Madison: “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.” page 127.

William Henry Harrison: “A decent and manly examination of the acts of the government should not only be tolerated, but encouraged.” page 59.

My only disappointment is that a book that so clearly appeals to an American heritage was

not printed in the United States.

Gross, Charlotte Lee, ed Presidential Wit and Wisdom. Kennebunkport, ME: Cider Mill Press Book Publishers, 2015.

  • ISBN-13: 978-1604336092

Author: historypresent

History Understood in Its Present

11 thoughts on “Review: Presidential Wit and Wisdom”

  1. “James Madison: ‘The problem to be solved is, not what form of Government is perfect, but which form is least imperfect.’ ” This insight is so spot on. There is no way to create a “perfect” government that will make all citizens happy, but you can look at what hasn’t worked in the past and go from there. Democracy is not a perfect system, however, compared to some alternative types, I would say that for the United States, at least, a Democracy may be the “least imperfect.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment. A political system that contains an element of democracy requires vigorous debate and an acquiesce to the outcome of those debates. These systems also require equality before the law. Democracy is indeed messy, even when we play by the rules. Thanks again. I hope you contribute frequently.


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