Quote of moment: Will Rogers on motivating students to learn

Thomas Jefferson urged a Constitutional amendment to institutionalize education as a federal function, part of his grander scheme to lift humanity out of the muck with education as the skyhook.

Will Rogers pointing into camera, Will Rogers Museum image

Will Rogers, photo courtesy the Will Rogers Museum

Will Rogers said:

Why don’t they pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as Prohibition did, in five years we will have the smartest people on earth.

♥ The Quotable Will Rogers, Joseph H. Carter and Larry Gatlin, Gibbs Smith 2005, page 35.

Rogers probably read Mark Twain a lot, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, don’t you think?

Joseph H. Carter heads the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma.  Larry Gatlin is the performer, who did show on Will Rogers that inspired the book.  This collection of Rogers’ quotes is loaded with information, but citations are not easy to get.  We trust that these two guys would be unlikely to misreport — but I’d still like to get a better citation on this quote.  Among other problems for scholars, in his lifetime Rogers wrote about a newspaper column each day, and he often collected columns into books that sold well but are now out of print.

Perhaps the amazing thing is that more bon mots are not misattributed to Will Rogers, especially the funny ones.


Sculpture of Will Rogers on a horse on the gro...

Sculpture of Will Rogers on horseback, on the grounds of the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma. This is a nice place to pause for a couple of hours on a drive along Interstate 44, a bit northeast of Broken Arrow. Wikipedia image

2 Responses to Quote of moment: Will Rogers on motivating students to learn

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Rogers said he didn’t have to write comedy. All he had to do was read the newspapers about what Congress was doing.

    Thinking up the original bon mot is tough work. I’m sure they stole from everyone they could, honestly, but I’ll wager they invented a lot of the stuff, too.


  2. chamblee54 says:

    I have a question regarding the “quote magnets”, like Will Rogers, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Ben Franklin, and others. Did they think of these clever sayings themselves? Or, were they good listeners, who were not above stealing a good line? I wonder if Mr. Rogers had an Uncle, bartender, or sweater salesman who said these things, which Mr. Rogers heard and repeated.


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