FACT CHECK: Did Winston Churchill Say This Quote About Courage?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Verdict: False

Churchill did not author this statement. The saying dates back to at least the 1970s.

Fact Check:

Churchill served as prime minister of the U.K. from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955. He is widely recognized for his role in the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Despite his prolific record as a speaker and writer, Churchill did not make the statement attributed to him in the Facebook post. The Daily Caller found no record of the saying in the Churchill Archive, which houses around 800,000 original documents related to the statesman, or in the Churchill Papers, another collection of his works.

Furthermore, the International Churchill Society has identified the quote as falsely attributed to Churchill. The statement was also included by Hillsdale College historian and Churchill expert Richard Langworth in a 2018 list entitled “All The ‘Quotes’ Winston Churchill Never Said.”

The source of the aphorism is unknown, but it has been in use since at least 1970s. In 1976, New Jersey General Assembly Speaker Joseph LeFante used the expression during a General Assembly meeting, without attributing it to a specific source.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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