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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1425
AUTHOR: Elihu Root (1845–1937)
QUOTATION: Politics is the practical exercise of the art of self-government, and somebody must attend to it if we are to have self-government; somebody must study it, and learn the art, and exercise patience and sympathy and skill to bring the multitude of opinions and wishes of self-governing people into such order that some prevailing opinion may be expressed and peaceably accepted. Otherwise, confusion will result either in dictatorship or anarchy. The principal ground of reproach against any American citizen should be that he is not a politician. Everyone ought to be, as Lincoln was.
ATTRIBUTION: ELIHU ROOT, “Lincoln as a Leader of Men,” Men and Policies, Addresses by Elihu Root, ed. Robert Bacon and James B. Scott, p. 75 (1924).
SUBJECTS: Politics