- We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.
- Statement of 1888, as quoted in Treasury of Presidential Quotations (1964) by Caroline T. Hamsberger
- I cannot always sympathize with that demand which we hear so frequently for cheap things. Things may be too cheap. They are too cheap when the man or woman who produces them upon the farm or the man or woman who produces them in the factory does not get out of them living wages with a margin for old age and for a dowry for the incidents that are to follow. I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth or shapes it into a garment will starve in the process.
- Speech in Rutland, Vermont (28 August 1891) as reported in The New York Times (29 August 1891), p. 5
- God forbid that the day should ever come when, in the American mind, the thought of man as a "consumer" shall submerge the old American thought of man as a creature of God, endowed with "unalienable rights.
- "The Status of Annexed Territory and of Its Free Civilized Inhabitants" in North American Review, vol. 172, no. 530 (January 1901), p. 22.
- I knew that my staying up would not change the election result if I were defeated, while if elected I had a hard day ahead of me. So I thought a night's rest was best in any event.
- As quoted in A Call to America : Inspiring and Empowering Quotations from the 43 presidents of the United States (2002) by Bryan Curtis
Inaugural address (1889)
- Washington D. C. (4 March 1889) - Full text online at Wikisource
- There is no constitutional or legal requirement that the President shall take the oath of office in the presence of the people, but there is so manifest an appropriateness in the public induction to office of the chief executive officer of the nation that from the beginning of the Government the people, to whose service the official oath consecrates the officer, have been called to witness the solemn ceremonial. The oath taken in the presence of the people becomes a mutual covenant. The officer covenants to serve the whole body of the people by a faithful execution of the laws, so that they may be the unfailing defense and security of those who respect and observe them, and that neither wealth, station, nor the power of combinations shall be able to evade their just penalties or to wrest them from a beneficent public purpose to serve the ends of cruelty or selfishness.
- The virtues of courage and patriotism have given recent proof of their continued presence and increasing power in the hearts and over the lives of our people. The influences of religion have been multiplied and strengthened. The sweet offices of charity have greatly increased. The virtue of temperance is held in higher estimation. We have not attained an ideal condition. Not all of our people are happy and prosperous; not all of them are virtuous and law-abiding. But on the whole the opportunities offered to the individual to secure the comforts of life are better than are found elsewhere and largely better than they were here one hundred years ago.