Elihu Root

All my life people have been coming to me with plans to make over society and its institutions. Many of these plans have seemed to me good. Some have been excellent. All of them have had one fatal defect. They have assumed that human nature would behave in a certain way. If it would behave in that way these plans would work, but if human nature would behave in that way these plans would not be necessary, for in that case society and its institutions would reform themselves.

When a teacher of the future comes to point out to the youth of America how the highest rewards of intellect and devotion can be gained, he may say to them not by subtlety and intrigue; not by wirepulling and demagoguery; not by the arts of popularity; not by skill and shiftiness in following expediency; but by being firm in devotion to the principles of manhood and the application of morals and the courage of righteousness in the public life of our country; by being a man without guile and without fear, without selfishness, and with devotion to duty, devotion to his country.

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