Herbert Clark Hoover
While I can make no claim for having introduced the term 'rugged individualism,' I should be proud to have invented it. It has been used by American leaders for over a half-century in eulogy of those God-fearing men and women of honesty whose stamina and character and fearless assertion of rights led them to make their own way in life.
Recently, in my opinion, there has been too much talk about the Common Man. It has been dinned into us that this is the Century of the Common Man. The idea seems to be that the Common Man has come into his own at last. But I have never been able to find out who this is. In fact, most Americans will get mad and fight if you try calling them common.... I have never met a father and mother who did not want their children to grow up to be uncommon men and women. May it always be so. For the future of America rests not in mediocrity, but in the constant renewal of leadership in every phase of our national life.
If America is to be run by the people, it is the people who must think. And we do not need to put on sackcloth and ashes to think. Nor should our minds work like a sundial which records only sunshine. Our thinking must square against some lessons of history, some principles of government and morals, if we would preserve the rights and dignity of men to which this nation is dedicated.
The future of nations cannot be frozen ... cannot be foreseen. If we are going to accomplish anything in our time we must approach our problem in the knowledge that there is nothing rigid or immutable in human affairs. History is a story of growth, decay and change. If no provision, no allowance is made for change by peaceful means, it will come anyway and with violence.