Famous Rutherford B. Hayes Quotes

There are good points about all… wars. People forget self. The virtues of magnanimity, courage, patriotism, etc., are called into life. People are more generous, more sympathetic, better, than when engaged in the more selfish pursuits of peace.


No capitalists after any war were ever so well paid for money loaned to the nation that carried it on. No class of money-makers ever gained such prosperity by any other war, as our War for the Union brought to the money-getters of America. All this was due in great measure to the rank and file of the Union army. Now let no rich man haggle with a needy veteran of that war about his right to a pension!


While I am in favor of the Government promptly enforcing the laws for the present, defending the forts and collecting the revenue,I am not in favor of a war policy with a view to the conquest of any of the slave States; except such as are needed to give us a good boundary. If Maryland attempts to go off, suppress her in order to save the Potomac and the District of Columbia. Cut a piece off of western Virginia and keep Missouri and all the Territories.


I am asked if I would not be gratified if my friends would procure me promotion to a brigadier-generalship. My feeling is that I would rather be one of the good colonels than one of the poor generals. The colonel of a regiment has one of the most agreeable positions in the service, and one of the most useful. “A good colonel makes a good regiment,” is an axiom.


These semi-traitors [Union generals who were not hostile to slavery] must be watched. Let us be careful who become army leaders in the reorganized army at the end of this Rebellion. The man who thinks that the perpetuity of slavery is essential to the existence of the Union, is unfit to be trusted. The deadliest enemy the Union has is slavery – in fact, its only enemy.


If any of my men kill prisoners, I’ll kill them.


I am loaded down to the guards with educational, benevolent, and other miscellaneous public work, I must not attempt to do more. I cannot without neglecting imperative duties.


General education is the best preventive of the evils now most dreaded. In the civilized countries of the world, the question is how to distribute most generally and equally the property of the world. As a rule, where education is most general the distribution of property is most general…. As knowledge spreads, wealth spreads. To diffuse knowledge is to diffuse wealth. To give all an equal chance to acquire knowledge is the best and surest way to give all an equal chance to acquire property.


No capitalists after any war were ever so well paid for money loaned to the nation that carried it on. No class of money-makers ever gained such prosperity by any other war, as our War for the Union brought to the money-getters of America. All this was due in great measure to the rank and file of the Union army. Now let no rich man haggle with a needy veteran of that war about his right to a pension!


General [John] Pope is impulsive and hasty, but energetic, and, what is of most importance, patriotic and sound–perfectly sound. I look for good results.


These semi-traitors [Union generals who were not hostile to slavery] must be watched. Let us be careful who become army leaders in the reorganized army at the end of this Rebellion. The man who thinks that the perpetuity of slavery is essential to the existence of the Union, is unfit to be trusted. The deadliest enemy the Union has is slavery – in fact, its only enemy.


Disunion and civil war are at hand; and yet I fear disunion and war less than compromise. We can recover from them. The free States alone, if we must go on alone, will make a glorious nation. Twenty million in the temperate zone, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, full of vigor, industry, inventive genius, educated, and moral; increasing by immigration rapidly, and, above all, free–all free–will form a confederacy of twenty States scarcely inferior in real power to the unfortunate Union of thirty-three States which we had on the first of November.