Heroism works in contradiction to the voice of mankind, and in contradiction, for a time, to the voice of the great and the good.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Heroism," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
Emerson also says "... every heroic act measures itself by its contempt of some external good." See Kierkegaard's essay "Fear and Trembling" for an elaboration of this idea that the hero may be called to undermine common standards of morality.)
I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Civil Disobedience," originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government" (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 376, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
The day is always his, who works in it with serenity and great aims.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Oration, August 31, 1837, delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "The American Scholar," repr. In Emerson: Essays and Lectures, ed. Joel Porte (1983).)
It is a protest against the way the world has worked.
(Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), U.S. president. Ray Stannard Baker, Woodrow Wilson and World Settlement, vol. 1, p. 93.
Wilson's explanation of "the poison of Bolshevism" from his remarks to newspapermen aboard the George Washington on his way to Europe.)