President’s Day- 15 Lessons and Quotes

Allison and I in front of the White House last year
Allison and I in front of the White House last year

Happy President’s Day! As you probably know, Presidents generally speak (and sometimes write) a lot. So, in honor of President’s Day in the United States being today, here are 15 quotes and lessons from some of the Presidents themselves:

1. George Washington: “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.” – Rules of Civility

2. George Washington: “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” -Maxims of Washington

3. Thomas Jefferson: Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations- entangling alliances with none.” – First Inaugural Address

4. Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” – The Declaration of Independence

5. John Quincy Adams: “Alas! how swift the mountains fly! How flash the years along! Scarce here, yet gone already by, The burden of a song. See childhood, youth and manhood pass, And age with furrowed brow; Time was- Time shall be- drain the glass- But where in Time is now? – The Hour Glass

Allison, Maria and I in front of President Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial
Allison, Maria and I in front of President Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial

6. Abraham Lincoln: “Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.” – First Annual Message to Congress (December 3, 1861)

7. Abraham Lincoln: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” – Letter to A. G. Hodges, 1864

8. Ulysses S. Grant: “Let us have peace.” – Letter, 1868

9. Rutherford B. Hayes: “He serves his party best who serves the country best.” – Address (March 5, 1877)

10. Theodore Roosevelt: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” – Address, 1901 (quoting a proverb)

11. Woodrow Wilson: “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight.” – Speech (May 10, 1915)

12. Franklin D. Roosevelt: “We would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.” – Address, 1939

13. Franklin D. Roosevelt: “We build and defend not for our generation alone. We defend the foundations laid by our fathers. We build for generations yet unborn. We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all mankind.” – Fireside Chat (May 1940)

14. John F. Kennedy: “Now the trumpet summons us again- not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need- not as a call to battle, though embattled we are- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out… a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself…. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country.”

15. William J. Clinton: “If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”

What are your favorite presidential quotes? 

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