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Jane Addams quotes Showing 1-29 of 29

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
Jane Addams
“True peace is not merely the absence of war, it is the presence of justice.”
Jane Addams
“Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.”
Jane Addams
“I am not one of those who believe - broadly speaking - that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance. ”
Jane Addams
“In the unceasing ebb and flow of justice and oppression we must all dig channels as best we may, that at the propitious moment somewhat of the swelling tide may be conducted to the barren places of life.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House
“The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.”
Jane Addams
“Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.”
Jane Addams
“If the meanest man in the republic is deprived of his rights,then every man in the republic is deprived of his rights. ”
Jane Addams
“Action is indeed the sole medium of expression for ethics. (U.S. Social Worker, 1860-1935)”
Jane Addams
“Nothing can be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon and left one unexpended effort which might have saved the world.”
Jane Addams
“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
Jane Addams
“Perhaps nothing is so fraught with significance as the human hand, this oldest tool with which man has dug his way from savagery, and with which he is constantly groping forward.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House
“In his own way each man must struggle, lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction utterly separated from his active life.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House
“It was not until years afterward that I came upon Tolstoy’s phrase “the snare of preparation,” which he insists we spread before the feet of young people, hopelessly entangling them in a curious inactivity at the very period of life when they are longing to construct the world anew and to conform it to their own ideals.”
Jane Addams, 20 Years at Hull House
“It is well to remind ourselves, from time to time, that "Ethics" is but another word for "righteousness," that for which many men and women of every generation have hungered and thirsted, and without which life becomes meaningless.”
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics
“It is easy to become the dupe of a deferred purpose, of the promise the future can never keep, and I had fallen into the meanest type of self-deception in making myself believe that all this was in preparation for great things to come.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House
“For action is indeed the sole medium of expression for ethics.”
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics
“Yet in moments of industrial stress and strain the community is confronted by a moral perplexity which may arise from the mere fact that the good of yesterday is opposed to the good of today, and that which may appear as a choice between virtue and vice is really but a choice between virtue and virtue. In the disorder and confusion sometimes incident to growth and progress, the community may be unable to see anything but the unlovely struggle itself.”
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics
“In this effort toward a higher morality in our social relations, we must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of personal achievement, and shall be content to realize his activity only in connection with the activity of the many.”
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics
“The Hebrew prophet made three requirements from those who would join the great forward-moving procession led by Jehovah. “To love mercy” and at the same time “to do justly” is the difficult task; to fulfil the first requirement alone is to fall into the error of indiscriminate giving with all its disastrous results; to fulfil the second solely is to obtain the stern policy of withholding, and it results in such a dreary lack of sympathy and understanding that the establishment of justice is impossible. It may be that the combination of the two can never be attained save as we fulfil still the third requirement—“to walk humbly with God,” which may mean to walk for many dreary miles beside the lowliest of His creatures, not even in that peace of mind which the company of the humble is popularly supposed to afford, but rather with the pangs and throes to which the poor human understanding is subjected whenever it attempts to comprehend the meaning of life.”
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics
“Is it not Abraham Lincoln who has cleared the title to our democracy? He made plain, once for all, that democratic government, associated as it is with all the mistakes and shortcomings of the common people, still remains the most valuable contribution America has made to the moral life of the world.”
Jane Addams, Jane Addams: The Collected Works
“There is no doubt that the great difficulty we experience in reducing to action our imperfect code of social ethics arises from the fact that we have not yet learned to act together, and find it far from easy even to fuse our principles and aims into a satisfactory statement. We have all been at times entertained by the futile efforts of half a dozen highly individualized people gathered together as a committee. Their aimless attempts to find a common method of action have recalled the wavering motion of a baby’s arm before he has learned to coördinate his muscles.”
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics
“It is well to remind ourselves, from time to time, that “Ethics” is but another word for “righteousness,” that for which many men and women of every generation have hungered and thirsted, and without which life becomes meaningless.”
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics
“In the German and French pensions, which twenty-five years ago were crowded with American mothers and their daughters who had crossed the seas in search of culture, one often found the mother making real connection with the life about her, using her inadequate German with great fluency, gaily measuring the enormous sheets or exchanging recipes with the German Hausfrau, visiting impartially the nearest kindergarten and market, making an atmosphere of her own, hearty and genuine as far as it went, in the house and on the street. On the other hand, her daughter was critical and uncertain of her linguistic acquirements, and only at ease when in the familiar receptive attitude afforded by the art gallery and the opera house. In the latter she was swayed and moved, appreciative of the power and charm of the music, intelligent as to the legend and poetry of the plot, finding use for her trained and developed powers as she sat "being cultivated" in the familiar atmosphere of he classroom which had, as it were, become sublimated and romanticized.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House
“But stranger than any episode was the fact itself that neither the convict, his wife, nor his godfather for a moment considered him a criminal. He had merely gotten excited over cards and had stabbed his adversary with a knife. "Why should a man who took his luck badly be kept forever from the sun?" was their reiterated inquiry.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House
“Samuel Johnson once remarked that it was surprising to find how much more kindness than justice society contained.”
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics
“I recall that in planning my first European journey I had soberly hoped in two years to trace the entire pattern of human excellence as we passed from one country to another, in the shrines popular affection had consecrated to the saints, in the frequented statues erected to heroes, and in the "worn blasonry of funeral brasses" - an illustration that when we are young we all long for those mountaintops upon which we may soberly stand and dream of our own ephemeral and uncertain attempts at righteousness.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House
“We stand today united in a belief in beauty, genius, and courage, and that these can transform the world.”
Jane Addams
“I had confidence that although life itself might contain many difficulties, the period of mere passive receptivity had come to an end, and I had at last finished with the ever-lasting "preparation for life," however prepared I might be.
It was not until years afterward that I came upon Tolstoy's phrase "the snare of preparation," which he insists we spread before the feet of young people, hopelessly entangling them in a curious inactivity at the very period of life when they are longing to construct the world anew and to conform it to their own ideals.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House


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Twenty Years at Hull House Twenty Years at Hull House
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Democracy and Social Ethics Democracy and Social Ethics
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