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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


STATESMANSHIP

It is sound statesmanship to add two battleships every time our neighbor adds one and two stories to our skyscrapers every time he piles a new one on top of his to threaten our light. There is no limit to this soundness but the sky.
- More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

Get the formalities right, never mind about the moralities.
- Following the Equator

If we had less statesmanship, we would get along with fewer battleships.
- Notebook, 1905

...the true statesman does not despise any wisdom howsoever lowly may be its origin: in my boyhood I had always saved pennies, and contributed buttons to the foreign missionary cause. The buttons would answer the ignorant savage as well as the coin, the coin would answer me better than buttons; all hands were happy, and nobody hurt.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Clemens 1901

 

In this game France puts up a battleship; England sees that battleship and goes it one battleship better; Russia comes in and raises it a battleship or two--did, before the untaught stranger entered the game and reduced her stately pile of chips to a damaged ferryboat and a cruiser that can't cruise. We are in it ourselves now. This game goes on and on and on. There is never a new shuffle; never a new deal. No player ever calls another's hand. It is merely an unending game of put up and put up and put up; and by the law of probabilities a day is coming when no Christians will be left on the land, except the women. The men will all be at sea, manning the fleets. This singular game, which is so costly and so ruinous and so silly, is called statesmanship--which is different from assmanship on account of the spelling. Anybody but a statesman could invent some way to reduce these vast armaments to rational and sensible and safe police proportions, with the result that thenceforth all Christians could sleep in their beds unafraid, and even the Savior could come down and walk on the seas, foreigner as He is, without dread of being chased by Christian battleships.
- Autobiographical dictation, June 22, 1906 (reprinted in Hudson Review, Autumn 1963)

By and by when each nation has 20,000 battleships and 5,000,000 soldiers we shall all be safe and the wisdom of statesmanship will stand confirmed.
- More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

A statesman gains little by the arbitrary exercise of ironclad authority upon all occasions that offer, for this wounds the just pride of his subordinates, and thus tends to undermine his strength. A little concession, now and then, where it can do no harm is the wiser policy.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

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