30 Frances Perkins Quotes from American Workers-Rights Advocate

Frances Perkins, born Fannie Coralie Perkins in 1882, was the U.S. secretary of labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the first woman appointed to a cabinet post, serving from 1933 to 1945.

She graduated from Mount Holyoke College, pursued social work and furthered her education at Wharton School and Columbia University, earning an M.A. in social economics.

Perkins championed improved wages, working conditions and advocated for unemployment insurance and government fiscal oversight.

As secretary of labor, she advanced a minimum wage, child employment limits, the Civilian Conservation Corps and unemployment compensation.


She was instrumental in crafting the Social Security Act and supervising the Fair Labor Standards Act.

After leaving the cabinet post in 1945, she continued in government roles until 1953, later lecturing and authoring books.

Below you will find the most famous quotes by Frances Perkins.

Top 5 Frances Perkins Quotes


Being a woman has only bothered me in climbing trees. ~ Frances Perkins.


The accusation that I am a woman is incontrovertible. ~ Frances Perkins.


I’ve never taken a nap a day in my life. ~ Frances Perkins.


It’s our job as women, as citizens, to make democracy work. ~ Frances Perkins.


Feminism means revolution and I am a revolutionist. ~ Frances Perkins.

Famous Frances Perkins Quotes

There is always a large horizon…There is much to be done…I am not going to be doing it! It is up to you to contribute some small part to a program of human betterment. ~ Frances Perkins.

But with the slow menace of a glacier, depression came on. No one had any measure of its progress; no one had any plan for stopping it. Everyone tried to get out of its way. ~ Frances Perkins.

All judgment is relative. It may be right today and wrong tomorrow. The only thing that makes it truly right is the desire to have it constantly moving in the right direction. ~ Frances Perkins.


You can always get sympathy by using the word small. With little industries you feel as you do about a little puppy. ~ Frances Perkins.

We all take refuge in the optimism which is typical of this great creative nation. Every situation has found us unprepared. ~ Frances Perkins.

Out of our first century of national life we evolved the ethical principle that it was not right or just that an honest and industrious man should live and die in misery. He was entitled to some degree of sympathy and security. Our conscience declared against the honest workman’s becoming a pauper, but our eyes told us that he very often did. ~ Frances Perkins.


The worst they can say about me is that I’m a humanitarian and I have to admit it. ~ Frances Perkins.

Nothing in human judgment is final. One may courageously take the step that seems right today because it can be modified tomorrow if it does not work well. ~ Frances Perkins.

Best Frances Perkins Quotes


I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen. ~ Frances Perkins.

This leads to a question – if a great many people are for a certain project, is it necessarily right? If the vast majority is for it, is it even more certainly right? This, to be sure, is one of the tricky points of democracy. The minority often turns out to be right, and though one believes in the efficacy of the democratic process, one has also to recognize that the demand of the many for a particular project at a particular time may mean only disaster. ~ Frances Perkins.

Most of man’s problems upon this planet, in the long history of the race, have been met and solved either partially or as a whole by experiment based on common sense and carried out with courage. ~ Frances Perkins.


In America, public opinion is the leader. ~ Frances Perkins.

The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats. ~ Frances Perkins.

Popular Frances Perkins Quotes

The people are what matter to government, and a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life. ~ Frances Perkins.

I was apprehensive and on guard at the first official cabinet meeting. As the only woman member, I did not want my colleagues to get the impression that I was too talkative. I resolved not to speak unless asked to do so … My colleagues looked at me with tense curiosity. I think some weren’t sure I could speak. ~ Frances Perkins.

Very slowly there evolved from these conferences certain basic facts, none of them new, but all of them seen in a new light. It was no new thing for America to refuse to let its people starve, nor was it a new idea that man should live by his own labor, but it had not been generally realized that on the ability of the common man to support himself hung the prosperity of every one in the country. ~ Frances Perkins.

To one who believes that really good industrial conditions are the hope for a machine civilization, nothing is more heartening than to watch conference methods and education replacing police methods. ~ Frances Perkins.

Our idea of what constitutes social good has advanced with the procession of the ages, from those desperate times when just to keep body and soul together was an achievement, to the great present when “good” includes an agreeable, stable civilization accessible to all, the opportunity of each to develop his particular genius and the privilege of mutual usefulness. ~ Frances Perkins.

Wise Frances Perkins Quotes

He didn’t like concentrated responsibility. Agreement with other people who he thought were good, right minded, and trying to do the right thing by the world was almost as necessary to him as air to breathe. ~ Frances Perkins.

It’s only when we’re relaxed that the thing way down deep in all of us – call it the subconscious mind, the spirit, what you will – has a chance to well up and tell us how we shall go. ~ Frances Perkins.

There was a stricken conscience of public guilt and we all felt that we had been wrong, that something was wrong with that building which we had accepted or the tragedy never would have happened. Moved by this sense of stricken guilt, we banded ourselves together to find a way by law to prevent this kind of disaster. ~ Frances Perkins.


The New Deal began on March 25th, 1911. The day that the Triangle factory burned. ~ Frances Perkins.

It is not the nature of man, as I see it, ever to be quite satisfied with what he has in life…. Contentment tends to breed laxity, but a healthy discontent keeps us alert to the changing needs of our time. ~ Frances Perkins.

So these were the 30 top Frances Perkins quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Werner Erhard quotes and Hannah Arendt quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar