Quotes with institutions
Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government. It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.
Speech on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (July 5, 1926).
I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis on the observance of the law than they do on its enforcement. It is a maxim of our institutions, that the government does not make the people, but the people make the government.
Law and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.
Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense. Our threat is from the insidious forces working from within which have already so drastically altered the character of our free institutions — those institutions we proudly called the American way of life.
Speech in Lansing, Michigan, May 15, 1951
Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.
Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this mission.