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Jane Addams

  • It is as easy for most of us to keep from stealing our dinners as it is to digest them, and there is quite as much voluntary morality involved in one process as the other.

    • Jane Addams,
    • title essay, Democracy and Social Ethics ()
  • To attain individual morality in an age demanding social morality, to pride one's self on the results of personal effort when the time demands social adjustment, is utterly to fail to apprehend the situation.

    • Jane Addams,
    • title essay, Democracy and Social Ethics ()
  • ... action is indeed the sole medium of expression for ethics.

    • Jane Addams,
    • "Political Reform," Democracy and Social Ethics ()
  • It is possible that an individual may be successful, largely because he conserves all his powers for individual achievement and does not put any of his energy into the training which will give him the ability to act with others. The individual acts promptly, and we are dazzled by his success while only dimly conscious of the inadequacy of his code.

    • Jane Addams,
    • "Industrial Amelioration," Democracy and Social Ethics ()
  • The belief that if the meanest man in the republic is deprived of his rights, then every man in the republic is deprived of his rights, is the only patriotism.

    • Jane Addams,
    • speech to the Union League club, Chicago ()
  • A city is in many respects a great business corporation, but in other respects it is enlarged housekeeping. ... may we not say that city housekeeping has failed partly because women, the traditional housekeepers, have not been consulted as to its multiform activities?

    • Jane Addams,
    • "Utilization of Women in City Government," Newer Ideals of Peace ()
  • Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.

    • Jane Addams,
    • "Utilization of Women in City Government," Newer Ideals of Peace ()
  • ... democracy is that which affords a rule of living as well as a test of faith.

  • Perhaps I may record here my protest against the efforts, so often made, to shield children and young people from all that has to do with death and sorrow, to give them a good time at all hazards on the assumption that the ills of life will come soon enough. Young people themselves often resent this attitude on the part of their elders; they feel set aside and belittled as if they were denied the common human experiences.

  • 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.

  • It is easy to become the dupe of a deferred purpose, of the promise the future can never keep ...

  • ... it will be impossible to establish a higher political life than the people themselves crave ...

  • ... of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment.

  • ... private beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of the city's disinherited.

  • But the paradox is here: when cultivated people do stay away from a certain portion of the population, when all social advantages are persistently withheld, it may be for years, the result itself is pointed to as a reason and is used as an argument for the continued withholding.

  • ... when the sense of justice seeks to express itself quite outside the regular channels of established government, it has set forth on a dangerous journey inevitably ending in disaster ...

  • ... the common stock of intellectual enjoyment should not be difficult of access because of the economic position of him who would approach it ...

  • That person is most cultivated who is able to put himself in the place of the greatest number of other persons.

    • Jane Addams,
    • speech (1914), in Expositor and Current Anecdotes ()
  • The worth of every conviction consists precisely in the steadfastness with which it is held.

  • ... social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.

  • Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.

  • 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,
    • in James W. Linn, Jane Addams: A Biography ()
  • The excellent becomes the permanent.

    • Jane Addams,
    • book title ()
  • I think it was Father Huntington who once said that the essence of immorality is to make an exception of one’s self.

    • Jane Addams,
    • "The Home and the Special Child," address to National Education Association (1908), reprinted in J. B. Elshtain, ed., The Jane Addams Reader ()
  • 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,
    • in Charnan Simon, Jane Addams: Pioneer Social Worker ()
  • The belief that a woman is against war simply because she is a woman and not a man cannot of course be substantiated. In every country there are women who believe that war is inevitable and righteous; the majority of women as well as men in the nations at war doubtless hold that conviction. On the other hand, quite as an artist in an artillery corps commanded to fire upon a beautiful building like the duomo at Florence would be deterred by a compunction unknown to the man who had never given himself to creating beauty and did not know the intimate cost of it, so women, who have brought men into the world and nurtured them until they reach the age for fighting, must experience a peculiar revulsion when they see them destroyed, irrespective of the country in which these men may have been born.

    • Jane Addams,
    • 1915, in Margaret R. Higonnet, ed., Lines of Fire: Women Writers of World War I ()
  • America's future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what it is taught, hence we must watch what we teach it, how we live before it.

    • Jane Addams

Jane Addams, U.S. humanitarian, reformer, settlement house founder, sociologist, Nobel Prize winner

(1860 - 1935)

Full name: Laura Jane Addams.