Success Cannot Be Legislated: Who Said It?

Perhaps I should leave these matters to our resident quote bleggar Fred Shapiro, but in this case I cannot resist:

Without resorting to Google, a reference book, or the comments section below, who do you think said the following?

The people cannot look to legislation generally for success. Industry, thrift, character, are not conferred by act or resolve. Government cannot relieve from toil. It can provide no substitute for the rewards of service. It can, of course, care for the defective and recognize distinguished merit. The normal must care for themselves. Self-government means self-support.



Commit to your answer.

And now, a second question:

If I told you the statement above were made by either John McCain or Barack Obama, which candidate would you think said it?

Feel free to enter your answers to both questions below. When you choose either McCain or Obama, please note which man you’re voting for, if either.


Why are people guessing? Google it and you will discover it was said by Silent Cal Coolidge. In response to the question, I could see either candidate stating that.


I say Ben Franklin- as in if you don't first succeed try, try again.

If he didn't say it exactly, he said it his' way.

So Frank Sinatra said it too.


I guess TR, then looked it up.

I do not know enough about that speaker/writer to have guessed it correctly. (leaving name out for spoiler reasons)


My first thought was Davy Crockett; I was reminded of his speech before Congress on the subject of using federal money for charity. As for the questions:

1. I'd think McCain said it

2. I'm planning to vote for Obama


1. John Adams

2. Obama

3. Obama


1. It was said in the early 20th century ... perhaps Teddy Roosevelt? Or one of the industrialists?

2. Obama is more likely to say something like this explicitly, although McCain might say things that more or less agree with that sentiment but not in those words.

3. I have yet to find a presidential candidate I can support.


If it was anyone in any position of power, that's highly regrettable.


Read Obama's book "Audacity of Hope" couple of months ago. There were few portions where he spouted liberterian views - so I am guessing this is Obama.

Obama supporter.

Slick Econonerd

1. FDR - Politicians love to say popular and pretty things.

2. Obama - Politicians love to say popular and pretty things.

3. Undecided - I live in NY state a vote for anything other than a Dem is a wasted vote. Considering Bob Barr as an expression of my big-government angst.


-Coolidge, though props to the person who said Rand, I got the same feel

-McCain would say that because one of the platforms of the Republican party is small government...though it seems silly from both him and CC that they should have so little faith in any form of success from the government they seek to lead. FDR thought the opposite, guess who got their face on a coin.

-voting for BHO

Mr Kid

Jim #24, people are guessing because those were the instructions.


Definitely Obama...


sounds like Edmund Burke



It sounds like something Herbert Hoover would have said, becuase of his positions and the circumstances of the start the Great Depression, where people were clammering for government to fix things. It surely is not a modern politician, because advocating sacrifice or hard work is taboo these day!

The philosophy is closer to McCain, but the words are more Obama. I'l say Obama because he has made other comments like this.


Calvin Coolidge (IIRC).

Between McCain and Obama, I would think McCain (Obama is a socialist, and does not believe in self-reliance).

I am wavering between Barr and McCain.

seek and thou shalt find? a good motto or not?

Dear Asad;

You ask a great question. What's is wrong with turning to the government to solve our problems? But will the government be able to solve them or willing? And if the government is unwilling, then who will for us? I can think of one problem that I have at the moment. So far, I have been unsuccessful in solving it. The economy is in my way of finding a job that pays enough to support a family. The government definately has helped. But-- the problem is still mine to solve. And will I be able to?I don't know. At best, I can use my knowledge to at least increase my chances of succeeding.



Teddy Roosevelt or one of Reagan's favorites, Calvin Coolidge

For today, I would go with McCain. Plus, that who I'm voting for.


1. not sure, but definitely an old-timer

2. Barack Obama

3. Barack Obama


Quote: Andrew Carnegie or Teddy Roosevelt

Association: McCain

Vote: Bloomberg


Adam Smith


Voting for neither