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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index G > James Abram Garfield Quotes

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James Abram Garfield
(19 Nov 1831 - 19 Aug 1881)

American president who served as the 20th President of the U.S. for four months in 1881 before being assasinated. On 2 Jul 1881 he was shot in the back, fatally wounded, and died two months later. In 1858 he debated William Denton, an atheist, defending God in a 'Geology and Religion' debate for several days, at Solon, Ohio (27 Dec 1858 - 1 Jan 1859).

Science Quotes by James Abram Garfield (8 quotes)

I admitted, that the world had existed millions of years. I am astonished at the ignorance of the masses on these subjects. Hugh Miller has it right when he says that 'the battle of evidences must now be fought on the field of the natural sciences.'
— James Abram Garfield
Letter to Burke A. Hinsdale, president of Hiram College (10 Jan 1859), commenting on the audience at Garfield's debate with William Denton. Quoted in John Clark Ridpath, The Life and Work of James A. Garfield (1881), 80.
Science quotes on:  |  Age Of The Earth (10)  |  Evidence (83)  |  Geology (145)  |  Ignorance (110)  |  Hugh Miller (14)  |  Natural Science (29)

I have seen the sea lashed into fury and tossed into spray, and its grandeur moves the soul of the dullest man; but I remember that it is not the billows, but the calm level of the sea from which all heights and depths are measured.
— James Abram Garfield
Speech (5 Jun 1880) at the 7th Republican National Convention, Chicago to nominate John Sherman to be President. In John Tweedy, A History of the Republican National Conventions from 1856 to 1908 (1910), 191. The Convention subsequently nominated Garfield to run for President. He won the election, and was inaugurated on 4 Mar 1881.
Science quotes on:  |  Depth (10)  |  Dull (12)  |  Fury (2)  |  Grandeur (11)  |  Height (13)  |  Level (16)  |  Man (258)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Moving (4)  |  Remember (19)  |  Sea (57)  |  Soul (54)  |  Spray (2)

Mankind have been slow to believe that order reigns in the universe—that the world is a cosmos and a chaos.
… The divinities of heathen superstition still linger in one form or another in the faith of the ignorant, and even intelligent men shrink from the contemplation of one supreme will acting regularly, not fortuitously, through laws beautiful and simple rather than through a fitful and capricious system of intervention.
... The scientific spirit has cast out the demons, and presented us with nature clothed in her right mind and living under the reign of law. It has given us, for the sorceries of the alchemist, the beautiful laws of chemistry; for the dreams of the astrologer, the sublime truths of astronomy; for the wild visions of cosmogony, the monumental records of geology; for the anarchy of diabolism, the laws of God.
— James Abram Garfield
Speech (16 Dec 1867) given while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, introducing resolution for the appointment of a committee to examine the necessities for legislation upon the subject of the ninth census to be taken the following year. Quoted in John Clark Ridpath, The Life and Work of James A. Garfield (1881), 216.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemy (17)  |  Astrology (19)  |  Astronomy (105)  |  Chaos (33)  |  Chemistry (143)  |  Cosmogony (3)  |  Cosmos (23)  |  Faith (73)  |  Geology (145)  |  God (234)  |  Ignorance (110)  |  Intelligence (76)  |  Law (273)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Order (60)  |  Science And Religion (159)  |  Superstition (33)  |  Universe (291)

Statistical science is indispensable to modern statesmanship. In legislation as in physical science it is beginning to be understood that we can control terrestrial forces only by obeying their laws. The legislator must formulate in his statutes not only the national will, but also those great laws of social life revealed by statistics.
— James Abram Garfield
Speech (16 Dec 1867) given while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, introducing resolution for the appointment of a committee to examine the necessities for legislation upon the subject of the ninth census to be taken the following year. Quoted in John Clark Ridpath, The Life and Work of James A. Garfield (1881), 217.
Science quotes on:  |  Government (50)  |  Law (273)  |  Statistics (82)  |  Statute (2)

Statistics has been the handmaid of science, and has poured a flood of light upon the dark questions of famine and pestilence, ignorance and crime, disease and death.
— James Abram Garfield
Speech (16 Dec 1867) given while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, introducing resolution for the appointment of a committee to examine the necessities for legislation upon the subject of the ninth census to be taken the following year. Quoted in John Clark Ridpath, The Life and Work of James A. Garfield (1881), 216.
Science quotes on:  |  Crime (11)  |  Death (183)  |  Disease (170)  |  Famine (5)  |  Ignorance (110)  |  Pestilence (6)  |  Statistics (82)

The chief instrument of American statistics is the census, which should accomplish a two-fold object. It should serve the country by making a full and accurate exhibit of the elements of national life and strength, and it should serve the science of statistics by so exhibiting general results that they may be compared with similar data obtained by other nations.
— James Abram Garfield
Speech (16 Dec 1867) given while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, introducing resolution for the appointment of a committee to examine the necessities for legislation upon the subject of the ninth census to be taken the following year. Quoted in John Clark Ridpath, The Life and Work of James A. Garfield (1881), 219.
Science quotes on:  |  Nation (47)  |  Statistics (82)

The development of statistics are causing history to be rewritten. Till recently the historian studied nations in the aggregate, and gave us only the story of princes, dynasties, sieges, and battles. Of the people themselves—the great social body with life, growth, sources, elements, and laws of its own—he told us nothing. Now statistical inquiry leads him into the hovels, homes, workshops, mines, fields, prisons, hospitals, and all places where human nature displays its weakness and strength. In these explorations he discovers the seeds of national growth and decay, and thus becomes the prophet of his generation.
— James Abram Garfield
Speech (16 Dec 1867) given while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, introducing resolution for the appointment of a committee to examine the necessities for legislation upon the subject of the ninth census to be taken the following year. Quoted in John Clark Ridpath, The Life and Work of James A. Garfield (1881), 217.
Science quotes on:  |  Battle (10)  |  Dynasty (4)  |  Field (69)  |  Growth (70)  |  History (156)  |  Home (19)  |  Hospital (21)  |  Human Nature (34)  |  Mine (7)  |  Nation (47)  |  Prince (5)  |  Prison (3)  |  Statistics (82)  |  Workshop (5)

[Science] is the literature of God written on the stars—the trees—the rocks—and more important because [of] its marked utilitarian character.
— James Abram Garfield
Quoted in Allan Peskin, Garfield: A Biography (1978), 57.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (105)  |  Biology (83)  |  Geology (145)  |  Importance (106)  |  Rock (54)  |  Science (875)  |  Star (132)  |  Tree (88)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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