A President should not only not be selfish, but he ought to avoid the appearance of selfishness. The people would not have confidence in a man that appeared to be grasping for office.
It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshippers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness.
They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant. The chances of having wise and faithful public service are increased by a change in the presidential office after a moderate length of time.
It is necessary for the head of the nation to differ with many people who are honest in their opinions. As his term progresses, the number who are disappointed accumulates. Finally, there is so large a body who have lost confidence in him that he meets a rising opposition which makes his efforts less effective.
In the higher ranges of public service men appear to come forward to perform a certain duty. When it is performed their work is done…
While I had a desire to be relieved of the pretentions and delusions of public life, it was not because of any attraction of pleasure or idleness.
We draw our Presidents from the people. It is a wholesome thing for them to return to the people. I came from them. I wish to be one of them again.
Although all our Presidents have had back of them a good heritage of blood, very few have been born to the purple. Fortunately, they are not supported at public expense after leaving office, so they are not expected to set an example encouraging to a leisure class.
They have only the same title to nobility that belongs to all our citizens, which is the one based on achievement and character, so they need not assume superiority. It is becoming for them to engage in some dignified employment where they can be of service as others are.