People Do Not Lack Strength; They Lack Will

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New York City: Les Misérables at the Imperial Theatre, Manhattan

New York City: Les Misérables at the Imperial Theatre, Manhattan (Photo credit: Andreas Praefcke)

American Minute from William J. Federer

“God is behind everything, but everything hides God,” wrote Victor Hugo in his classic Les Miserables, Book 5, Chapter 4.

Born FEBRUARY 26, 1802, Victor Marie Hugo was hailed as the greatest of the Romanticists poets.

He is best know for writing Cromwell, 1827, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1831, and Les Miserables, 1862, an epic story of redemption set in Paris during the French Revolution.

Hugo’s father was a general in Napoleon’s army, and Hugo supported his heir, until he turned out to be a tyrant.

Hugo opposed him and was forced into exiled for 19 years.

Over 3 million people attended Hugo’s funeral in Paris.

In his Preface to Cromwell, 1827, Victor Hugo wrote:

“Lastly, this threefold poetry flows from three great sources-The Bible, Homer, Shakespeare…

“The Bible before the Iliad, the Iliad before Shakespeare.”

Victor Hugo stated:

“England has two books, the Bible and Shakespeare. England made Shakespeare, but the Bible made England.”

Victor Hugo remarked:

“Courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones, and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”

Victor Hugo wrote in Histoire d’un crime, 1852:

“An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.”

Ronald Reagan remarked to provincial leaders in Quebec City, Canada, March 18, 1985:

“Victor Hugo once observed: ‘No army can stop an idea whose time has come.’ Well, today the tide of freedom is up, lifting our economies ever higher on new currents of imagination, discovery, and hope for our future…

“A role for government that is less interventionist…a role that creates a climate in which the entrepreneurial genius of the private sector can do what it does best–namely, create new wealth, new possibilities of employment.”

On January 27, 1988, Ronald Reagan addressed the Reserve Officers Association:

“Victor Hugo once said that ‘People do not lack strength; they lack will.’

“Well…the American people looked deep into their souls and proved to the world that they still had the will to be free and the courage to carry the torch of liberty…

“To these brave young men and women, to whom we owe so much, we restored the pride this country has in those who wear the military uniform of the United States of America.”

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