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 the employs the difference words “stand” and “fall”. Here are three versions:

(1) If girlfriend don’t was standing for something, you’ll loss for anything.(2) Those that stand because that nothing fall for anything.(3) as soon as you was standing for nothing, you fall for everything.

You are watching: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything

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

Quote Investigator: An amazing precursor because that the saying showed up in a Methodist church notice in an Iowa newspaper from 1926. Words order and definition were distinct, however the keywords were the same. In 1927 the same precursor was printed as a “Sermonogram” in one Ohio newspaper: 1 2

It is less complicated to loss for anything 보다 to stand for something.

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

The earliest evidence of close match known come QI was published in the January 1945 issue of a journal dubbed “Mental Hygiene”. At the time of publication world War II to be still gift fought. The adage showed up in an post by the clinical doctor Gordon A. Eadie titled “The Over-All Mental-Health requirements of the commercial Plant, through Special referral to war Veterans”. Boldface has actually been included to excerpts: 3

We are trying to display him not only what we are fighting against, but what we space fighting for. So plenty of of this boys have only a really hazy idea that the real worries of the war. Around all they see is “going back to the good old days.” This is a attention state. If castle don’t stand for something, castle will fall for anything. They should realize that we space fighting 2 wars—the battle of arms and also the battle of ideas—that other war of which the war of eight is one phase.

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

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

The common attribution come the eighteenth-century statesman Alexander Hamilton was probably based on a mistaken knowledge of a relatively modern-day citation. A different man called Alex Hamilton that was a brothers broadcaster offered the saying in 1978. Details space given additional below.

Here are added 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.