Proverbs in political rhetoric help grass-roots efforts to bring about human and social improvements regionally, nationally, and globally. Drawing on the proverbial prowess of such national figures as Abigail and John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, and others, this article shows that they employ proverbs based on spatial metaphors or proverbs in general that help to bring into focus the ethics of place that is ever more concerned with global matters. Proverbs as "monumenta humana" are part and parcel of the ongoing struggle toward progress on many social and political fronts in an interconnected world. As traditional and more recent shared wisdom, proverbs play a significant role in relating local and national issues to the global sphere of politics aimed at the equality of all people and their unalienable right for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Save for a number of small additions, this article reproduces the text of my plenary lecture organized by the Folklore Fellows of the American Folklore Society. I delivered the talk on October 23, 2009, in Boise, Idaho, with the theme of this annual national conference having been "Examining the Ethics of Place."

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