A Conservative's Musings on All Things Political

Reflections on American Politics and the Republican Party from a Libertarian Conservative Perspective

Great Quotations and Speeches Over Time

“A powerful agent is the right word: it lights the reader’s way and makes it plain.”  Mark Twain

Words have always fascinated me, especially those spoken. The  use of language in rhetoric can lead and inspire people in ways that leave history forever changed. On this page I hope, over time, to assemble some of those quotations and speeches I have found to have had lasting impact. There are many more comprehensive compilations, however this is one that I have found inspirational and I hope others will enjoy.

William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008), Author and Founder of the National Review

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

As a teen forming political views that would define so much of my life, watching “Firing Line” was a Sunday afternoon ritual. Who says there was never a good program on PBS! How I wish I had a small portion of his command of the english language.

Barry Goldwater (1909-1998), US Senator (R-AZ) 1953 – 1987, Republican Presidential Nominee 1964

“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

Perhaps the most famous line from Goldwater’s 1964 nomination speech. The first half is one of the most famous lines in conservative speech, but it is when combines with the second that modern conservatism may be best defined.

“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

Just a wonderful truism.

“Equality, rightly understood as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences; wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism”

For years those on the left have tried to claim ownership of equality, yet what they seek is to give all the same. As Goldwater points out true equality is that of opportunity. The achievement is in the hands of the individual.


Ronald W. Reagan (1911 – 2004) , 40th President of the United States

Whole pages could be dedicated to Reagan’s words, and indeed a few books have been. what we have here are just a few that I appreciate.

“Government is not the solution to our problem, government is our problem.”  The First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981

Perhaps the defining statement of modern conservatism and one our leaders should remember every day they are in office. It is when we forget this that our moral compass goes ajar.

“Balancing the budget is a little like protecting your virtue: You just have to learn to say NO.” September 9, 1982

The simplicity of this truism seems to be lost today. A message to the leaders of any era.

“I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited.There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”

“We the People tell government what to do, it doesn’t tell us.” Farewell Address to the Nation. January 11, 1989

The Farewell Address to the Nation is one of the best speeches Ronald Reagan delivered, it is quintessential Reagan. I hope some of you listen to it below, it is not only a textbook delivery, it is modern conservatism. Thank you Mister President.

Now considered one of the greatest speeches delivered by a President in the modern era, Ronald Reagan’s address to the nation on the night of the Space Shuttle Challenger loss consoled a nation at a time of tragedy, but more important captured the spirit of exploration that defines America.

Those wishing to read and hear many great Reagan words can visit The Quotes page at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library:


Mitch Daniels (1949-  ), 49th Governor of Indiana

“purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers.” Conservative Political Action Conference, February 2011

2 thoughts on “Great Words

  1. Gordon,

    I reposted Jesse’s guest blog under his name this morning and could not transfer your comment to his article. Apparently, WordPress.com does not have the flexibility to transfer comments in that manner. I wanted to apologize in advance and give you a chance to repost it on his article.

  2. bonjour. i enjoy reading your blog Great Words | A Conservative's Musings on All Things Political and will shurely insert a link to https://aconservativesmusings.com/great-words/ on my site.

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