Alexander Hamilton? Gordon A. Eadie? Irene Dunne? Peter Marshall? Theodore DeVries? william Sloane Coffin Jr.? Alex Hamilton? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: there is a renowned exhortative statement that employs the difference words “stand” and “fall”. Right here are 3 versions:

(1) If girlfriend don’t stand for something, you’ll loss for anything.(2) Those who stand for nothing autumn for anything.(3) when you was standing for nothing, you loss for everything.

You are watching: Stand for something or you will fall for anything

This adage is attributed come Alexander Hamilton, Peter Marshall, and others. Might you explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: An exciting precursor for the saying appeared in a Methodist church notice in an Iowa newspaper from 1926. The word order and definition were distinct, but the keywords to be the same. In 1927 the exact same precursor was printed as a “Sermonogram” in an Ohio newspaper: 1 2

It is easier to fall for anything than to stand for something.

Thanks to Andrew Steinberg for locating and sharing these nascent citations.

The earliest evidence of close complement known come QI was released in the January 1945 concern of a journal called “Mental Hygiene”. At the moment of publication people War II was still being fought. The adage appeared in an short article by the clinical doctor Gordon A. Eadie titled “The Over-All Mental-Health demands of the industrial Plant, through Special reference to war Veterans”. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 3

We are trying to present him not just what we room fighting against, yet what we room fighting for. So numerous of these boys have only a an extremely hazy idea that the real worries of the war. Around all they see is “going earlier to the great old days.” This is a attention state. If lock don’t stand for something, castle will fall for anything. They have to realize the we are fighting 2 wars—the battle of arms and the war of ideas—that various other war of which the war of arms is one phase.

The essential reference work-related “The dictionary of modern Proverbs” native Yale university Press has an entry because that this adage and also points come the very same journal and also year because that its more quickly citation. 4

Although the saying was employed by Gordon A. Eadie that is no clear whether he make it. A few months later on the adage was talked by the well-known film actress Irene Dunne throughout a radio broadcast as suggested below. QI believes the it is reasonable to categorize this expression together an anonymous modern proverb.

The typical attribution come the eighteenth-century statesman Alexander Hamilton to be probably based upon a mistaken knowledge of a relatively contemporary citation. A various man called Alex Hamilton that was a brothers broadcaster used the saying in 1978. Details space given additional below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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Posted ~ above February 18, 2014June 21, 2020Categories Irene DunneTags Alex Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton, Gordon A. Eadie, Irene Dunne, Peter Marshall, Theodore DeVries, william Sloane Coffin Jr.