George Corley Wallace, Jr. (25 August 1919 – 13 September 1998) was an American politician who served as the 45th governor of Alabama for four terms. A member of the Democratic Party, he is best remembered for his staunch segregationist and populist views. Wallace sought the United States presidency as a Democrat three times, and once as an American Independent Party candidate, unsuccessfully each time. Wallace opposed desegregation and supported the policies of "Jim Crow" during the Civil Rights Movement, declaring in his 1963 inaugural address that he stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever".
- Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we've been bombing over the years been complaining?
- Absurdities, Scandals & Stupidities in Politics (2006) by Hakeem Shittu and Callie Query, p. 106
- If any demonstrator ever lays down in front of my car, it'll be the last car he'll ever lay down in front of.
- Said at a speech, footage of which is shown in the documentary George Wallace, part of PBS' American Experience
- If I can't forgive him, the Lord won’t forgive me.
- I was young and brash.
- We shall continue to maintain segregation in Alabama completely and absolutely without violence or ill-will. … I advocate hatred of no man, because hate will only compound the problems facing the South. … We ask for patience and tolerance and make an earnest request that we be allowed to handle state and local affairs without outside interference.
- First gubernatorial campaign (14 February 1958), quoted in George Wallace: American Populist (1995) by Stephen Lesher
- I want to tell the good people of this state as a judge of the 3rd Judicial Circuit, if I didn’t have what it took to treat a man fair regardless of his color, then I don’t have what it takes to be the governor of your great state.
- First gubernatorial campaign (1958), quoted in George Wallace: Conservative Populist (2004) by Lloyd Earl Rohler
- I was out-niggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be out-niggered again.
- To Seymore Trammell (1958), quoted in George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire
- As your governor, I shall resist any illegal federal court order, even to the point of standing at the schoolhouse door in person, if necessary.
- Gubernatorial campaign promise (1962), quoted in George Wallace: Conservative Populist
- It is very appropriate that from this cradle of the Confederacy, this very heart of the great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us time and again down through history. Let us rise to the call for freedom-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.
- First Inaugural Speech as Governor of Alabama, (January 1963)
- I stand here today, as Governor of this sovereign state, and refuse to willingly submit to illegal usurpation of power by the Central Government.
- Speech in the door of the University of Alabama auditorium (11 June 1963), quoted in New York Times (12 June 1963) "Alabama Admits Negro Students"
- The unwelcomed, unwanted, unwarranted, and force-induced intrusion upon the campus of the University of Alabama today of the might of the central government offers frightful example of the oppression of the rights, privileges and sovereignty of this state by officers of the federal government.
- Speech in the door of the University of Alabama auditorium
- You’ve got some folks out here who know a lot of four letter words. But there are two four-letter words they don’t know. W-O-R-K and S-O-A-P, you don’t know those two letter words I’ll tell you that much.
- 18th October 1968 
- I am a conservative. I intend to give the American people a clear choice. I welcome a fight between our philosophy and the liberal left-wing dogma which now threatens to engulf every man, woman, and child in the United States. I am in this race because I believe the American people have been pushed around long enough and that they, like you and I, are fed up with the continuing trend toward a socialist state which now subjects the individual to the dictates of an all-powerful central government.
- Speech (4 July 1964)
- There is no need for him to call on me. I am not about to be a party to anything having to do with the law that is going to destroy individual freedom and liberty in this country. I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that will destroy our free enterprise system. I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that will destroy neighborhood schools. I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that will destroy the rights of private property. I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that destroys your right --and my right -- to choose my neighbors -- or to sell my house to whomever I choose. I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that destroys the labor seniority system. I am having nothing to do with this so-called civil rights bill. The liberal left-wingers have passed it. Now let them employ some pinknik social engineers in Washington, D.C., to figure out what to do with it.
- Speech (4 July 1964)
- Being governor don't mean a thing anymore in this country. We're nothing. Just high-paid ornaments is all. I'm thinking of running for president myself.
- Quoted in "On the Lookout for Lurleen" Life (22 July 1966) by Shana Alexander
- I have learned what suffering means. In a way that was impossible, I think I can understand something of the pain black people have come to endure. I know I contributed to that pain, and I can only ask your forgiveness.
- Address to the Montgomery Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (1979), as quoted in "George Wallace – From the Heart" (17 March 1995), The Washington Post.
- I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over.
- Speech (1979), as quoted in Government in America: people, politics, and policy (2009), by George C. Edwards, Pearson Education, p. 80.
Quotes about Wallace
- But no one who knew Wallace well ever took seriously his earnest profession, uttered a thousand times after 1963, that he [had been] a segregationist, not a racist...
- According to Carter (1995, pp. 236-37)
- Wallace, like most white southerners of his generation, genuinely believed blacks to be a separate, inferior race.
- According to Carter (1995, pp. 236-37)
- Shooting segregationist dinosaurs wasn't as bad as harming mainstream politicians.
- A decade later, Alabama governor George Wallace’s defiant segregationist stance vaulted him to national prominence, leading to surprisingly vigorous bids for the presidency in 1968 and 1972. Wallace engaged in what journalist Arthur Hadley called the “old and honorable American tradition of hate the powerful.” He was, Hadley wrote, a master at exploiting “plain old American rage.” Wallace often encouraged violence and displayed a casual disregard for constitutional norms, declaring: "There is one thing more powerful than the Constitution….That’s the will of the people. What is a Constitution anyway? They’re the products of the people, the people are the first source of power, and the people can abolish a Constitution if they want to." Wallace’s message, which mixed racism with populist appeals to working-class whites’ sense of victimhood and economic anger, helped him make inroads into the Democrats’ traditional blue-collar base. Polls showed that roughly 40 percent of Americans approved of Wallace in his third-party run in 1968, and in 1972 he shocked the establishment by emerging as a serious contender in the Democratic primaries. When Wallace’s campaign was derailed by an assassination attempt in May 1972, he was leading George McGovern by more than a million votes in the primaries.
- Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (2018) How Democracies Die. New York: Crown.