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Quotations for Presidents Day

 


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QUOTATIONS ABOUT ABRAHAM LINCOLN


Not in vain has Lincoln lived, for he has helped to make this republic an example of justice, with no caste but the caste of humanity.  ~George Bancroft


His heart was as great as the world, but there was no room in it to hold the memory of a wrong.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


He is one of those giant figures, of whom there are very few in history, who lose their nationality in death.  ~David Lloyd George


Oh, wise physician of a wasted land!  ~Hermann Hagedorn


Would I might rouse the Lincoln in you all.  ~Vachel Lindsay


Mute though his lips be, yet they still speak.  Hushed is his voice, but its echoes of liberty are ringing through the world, and the sons of bondage listen with joy.  ~Matthew Simpson


The important thing today is not what we say of Lincoln but what Lincoln would say of us if he were here in this hour and could note the drift and tendency in American life and American politics.  ~Stephen Samuel Wise


Abraham Lincoln needs no marble shaft to perpetuate his name; his words are the most enduring monument, and will forever live in the hearts of the people.  ~Osborn H. Oldroyd


If you look at his portraits they always give you an indelible impression of his great height.  So does his life.  Height of purpose, height of ideal, height of character, height of intelligence.  ~David Lloyd George


Lincoln was not a type.  He stands alone - no ancestors, no fellows, no successors.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll


His grave a nation's heart shall be,
His monument a people free!
~Caroline Atherton Mason


A faith like Lincoln's would transform the world!  ~James Oppenheim


He showed that fame may be won and what services be rendered by a plain son of the people unaided by any gifts of fortune.  ~James Bryce


In him was vindicated the greatness of real goodness and the goodness of real greatness.  ~Phillips Brooks


Humble birth did not retard his genius, nor high place corrupt his soul.  ~Cass Gilbert


He was one of the few great rulers whose wisdom increased with his power, and whose spirit grew gentler and tenderer as his triumphs were multiplied.  ~James A. Garfield


God and Nature together shaped him to lead in the van,
In the stress of her wildest weather when the Nation needed a Man.
~Margaret E. Sangster


His heart and his brain were utterly foreign to all vindictiveness or personal bitterness.  He declared himself hotly and strongly against wrong causes, but never against men.  ~London Spectator


His was the nation's sacrifice,
And ours the priceless gain.
~John Greenleaf Whittier


A statesman of the school of sound common sense, and a philanthropist of the most practical type, a patriot without a superior - his monument is a country preserved.  ~C.S. Harrington


Lincoln had faith in time, and time has justified his faith.  ~Benjamin Harrison


Nor all America can claim him now:
Forevermore he is Mankind's and God's.
~Reginald Wright Kauffman


He raised his hands, not to strike, but in benediction.  Lincoln was the grandest figure of the fiercest civil war.  He is the gentlest memory of our world.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll


Look on this cast, and know the hand
That bore a nation in its hold;
From this mute witness understand
What Lincoln was - how large of mould.
~E.C. Stedman


He was a common man expanded into giant proportions; well acquainted with the people, he placed his hand on the beating pulse of the nation, judged of its disease and was ready with a remedy.  ~Joshua Speed


One fire was on his spirit, one resolve -
To send the keen axe to the root of wrong,
Clearing a free way to the feet of God,
The eyes of conscience testing every stroke.
~Edwin Markham


His love shone as impartial as the sun.  ~Maurice Thompson


Abraham Lincoln is not dead.  Emancipated from the thraldom of time, he has stepped beyond the trammels of birth, and race, and state.  He lives in an epic all his own; in ever widening spiritual leadership; in the splendor of realized ideals; in inspiration to good citizenship and in multiplying memorials in literature and art, in progress and reform, in patriotism and philanthropy, in education and humanitarianism.  ~John Wesley Hill


A martyr to the cause of man,
His blood is freedom's eucharist,
And in the world's great hero list
His name shall lead the van.
~Charles G. Halpin


To him was given the duty and responsibility of making that great classic of liberty, the Declaration of Independence, no longer an empty promise, but a glorious fulfillment.  ~William McKinley


A type that nature wills to plan
But once in all a people's years.
~E.C. Stedman


Abraham Lincoln - the spirit incarnate of those who won victory in the Civil War - was the true representative of this people, not only for his own generation, but for all time, because he was a man among men.  ~Theodore Roosevelt


It was a very lonely spirit that looked out from underneath those shaggy brows and comprehended men without fully communing with them, as if in spite of all its genial efforts at comradeship, it dwelt apart, saw its visions of duty where no man looked on.  ~Woodrow Wilson


Hail, Lincoln! As the swift years lengthen
Still more majestic grows thy fame.
~Nathan Haskell Dole


This statesman was no conqueror, but his superiority consisted in his moral conquest; this President vanquished no foreign people, and his superiority lay in his self-constraint; this excellent judge of human nature cast a spell over nobody, yet is more fascinating than the shining victors of history.  ~Emil Ludwig


The qualities which caused him to be acclaimed the leader, he possessed when he was teaching school, and splitting rails, and reading law in a judge's musty office.  From the beginning he was a man among men who always upheld the right, advocated justice for the oppressed, and a square deal for all.  ~Frank Dorrance Hopley


Meseems I feel his presence.  Is he dead?
Death is a word.  He lives and grander grows.
~Maurice Thompson



QUOTATIONS ABOUT GEORGE WASHINGTON


Let him who looks for a monument to Washington look around the United States.  Your freedom, your independence, your national power, your prosperity, and your prodigious growth are a monument to him.  ~Louis Kossuth


If I were to characterize George Washington's feelings toward his country, I should be less inclined than most people to stress what is called Washington's love of his country.  What impresses me as far more important is what I should call Washington's respect for his country.  ~Randolph G. Adams


Then honor to the day that gave him birth,
For it is also Freedom's natal day.
~Arthur J. Burdick


George Washington is one of the beacons placed at intervals along the highroad of history.  ~Orestes Ferrara


More than all, and above all, Washington was master of himself.  ~Charles Francis Adams


His life was a hymn in praise of honor, uprightness, and patriotism.  ~Orestes Ferrara


Washington's is the mightiest name of earth - long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation.  On that name no eulogy is expected.  It cannot be.  To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible.  Let none attempt it.  In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor leave it shining on.  ~Abraham Lincoln


The prevailin' weakness of most public men is to Slop Over!.... G. Washington never slopt over.  ~Artemus Ward


He shaped and molded that office to the contours of his own heroic stature.  ~W.J. Cameron


Eternity alone can reveal to the human race its debt of gratitude to the peerless and immortal name of Washington.  ~James A. Garfield


Blot out from the page of history the names of all the great actors of his time in the drama of nations, and preserve the name of Washington, and the century would be renowned.  ~Chauncey M. Depew


This was the man God gave us when the hour
Proclaimed the dawn of Liberty begun.
~John Hall Ingham


Washington's appointments, when president, were made with a view to gather all the talent of the country in support of the national government; and he bore many things which were personally disagreeable in an endeavor to do this.  ~Paul Leicester Ford


Well hath he been called one of the architects of civilization.  ~Newell Dwight Hillis


The flower imperishable of this valiant age, -
A true American!
~Clinton Scollard


George Washington is the only president who didn't blame the previous administration for his troubles.  ~Author Unknown


He guided the passions of others, because he was master of his own.  ~Ebenezer Grant Marsh


One of the greatest captains of the age.  ~Benjamin Franklin


Great knightly soul who came in time to serve his country's need.  ~Margaret E. Sangster


I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him "father."  ~Will Rogers


Posterity will talk of Washington as the founder of a great empire, when my name shall be lost in the vortex of revolution.  ~Napoleon I


The great citizen, the first-born son of the New World.  ~Simón Bolívar


May it please Heaven that his example shall continue to serve as a beacon to our Republics in their darkest moments of doubt and adversity.  ~Jorge Ubico



QUOTATIONS BY U.S. PRESIDENTS
and their anonymous speechwriters



 
 
I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.  ~George Washington


In executing the duties of my present important station, I can promise nothing but purity of intentions, and, in carrying these into effect, fidelity and diligence.  ~George Washington


I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.  ~George Washington


My movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution.  ~George Washington, letter, 1789


A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.  ~Thomas Jefferson


History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.  ~Thomas Jefferson


Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.  ~Thomas Jefferson


There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.  ~Thomas Jefferson


It is error alone which needs the support of government.  Truth can stand by itself.  ~Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia


The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  It is its natural manure.  ~Thomas Jefferson


How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened.  ~Thomas Jefferson


But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.  ~Thomas Jefferson


The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.  ~Thomas Jefferson


The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.  ~Thomas Jefferson


Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.  ~Thomas Jefferson


We never repent of having eaten too little.  ~Thomas Jefferson


Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.  ~Thomas Jefferson


I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.  ~James Madison, speech, Virginia Convention, 1788


If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  ~James Madison


The public history of all countries, and all ages, is but a sort of mask, richly colored.  The interior working of the machinery must be foul.  ~John Quincy Adams


If you are as happy, my dear sir, on entering this house as I am in leaving it and returning home, you are the happiest man in this country.  ~James Buchanan to Abraham Lincoln, 1861


A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.  It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems.  And not only so.  It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the unsolved ones.  ~Abraham Lincoln


Discourage litigation.  Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can.  Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser - in fees, expenses, and waste of time.  As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man.  There will still be business enough.  ~Abraham Lincoln


I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.  ~Abraham Lincoln


I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him.  ~Abraham Lincoln


I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.  My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.  ~Abraham Lincoln


I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.  ~Abraham Lincoln


Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.  Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.  Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.  ~Abraham Lincoln


Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.  ~Abraham Lincoln


There are no accidents in my philosophy.  Every effect must have its cause.  The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future.  All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite.  ~Abraham Lincoln


Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.  ~Abraham Lincoln


We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.  The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.  ~Abraham Lincoln


What is conservatism?  Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?  ~Abraham Lincoln


Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.  ~Abraham Lincoln


With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.  ~Abraham Lincoln


I have never advocated war except as a means of peace.  ~Ulysses S. Grant


Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.  ~Ulysses S. Grant


The lesson of history is rarely learned by the actors themselves.  ~James A. Garfield


Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.  The relative positions to be assumed by man and woman in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours.  ~Grover Cleveland, 1905


It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the nation's need of trees will become serious. We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted.  ~Theodore Roosevelt, 1907 Arbor Day Message


A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.  ~Theodore Roosevelt


To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.  ~Theodore Roosevelt, seventh annual message, 3 December 1907


Order without liberty and liberty without order are equally destructive.  ~Theodore Roosevelt


The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.  ~Theodore Roosevelt


This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.  ~Theodore Roosevelt


Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.  ~Theodore Roosevelt


I would never read a book if it were possible for me to talk half an hour with the man who wrote it.  ~Woodrow Wilson


The flag of the United States has not been created by rhetorical sentences in declarations of independence and in bills of rights.  It has been created by the experience of a great people, and nothing is written upon it that has not been written by their life.  It is the embodiment, not of a sentiment, but of a history.  ~Woodrow Wilson


The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation.  ~Woodrow Wilson


I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.  ~Woodrow Wilson


A conservative is a man who just sits and thinks, mostly sits.  ~Woodrow Wilson


The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests.  An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.  ~Woodrow Wilson


Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose.  ~Woodrow Wilson


We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.  ~Calvin Coolidge


Patriotism is easy to understand in America - it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.  ~Calvin Coolidge


If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.  ~Calvin Coolidge


Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.  ~Calvin Coolidge


Older men declare war.  But it is the youth that must fight and die.  ~Herbert Hoover


Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.  ~Herbert Hoover, attributed


When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt


It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt


A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.  ~Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio speech, 26 October 1939


A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.  ~Harry Truman


Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


Leadership:  the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.  This is not a way of life at all in any true sense.  Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953


The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower, address, Columbia University, 31 May 1954


Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


You do not lead by hitting people over the head.  That's assault, not leadership.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower, first inaugural address, 20 January 1953


If you want total security, go to prison.  There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on.  The only thing lacking... is freedom.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower


Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.  ~John F. Kennedy, 1961


War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.  ~John F. Kennedy


The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution.  ~John F. Kennedy


When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.  ~John F. Kennedy, address, 12 April 1959


I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.  ~John F. Kennedy


The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.  ~John F. Kennedy


Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.  ~John F. Kennedy


We are inclined that if we watch a football game or baseball game, we have taken part in it.  ~John F. Kennedy, 1961


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John F. Kennedy


Modern cynics and skeptics... see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.  ~John F. Kennedy


Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.  ~John F. Kennedy


Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.  ~John F. Kennedy


I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy.  First, let her think she's having her own way.  And second, let her have it.  ~Lyndon B. Johnson


Freedom is not enough.  ~Lyndon B. Johnson


If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read:  "President Can't Swim."  ~Lyndon B. Johnson


I know I am getting better at golf because I'm hitting fewer spectators.  ~Gerald Ford


I would like to deny all allegations by Bob Hope that during my last game of golf, I hit an eagle, a birdie, an elk and a moose.  ~Gerald Ford


America did not invent human rights.  In a very real sense... human rights invented America.  ~Jimmy Carter


I couldn't help but say to [Mr. Gorbachev], just think how easy his task and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from another planet.  [We'd] find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this earth together.  ~Ronald Reagan, 1985


The taxpayer - that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.  ~Ronald Reagan


The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time that he's on earth.  In other words, if I fish today, that should be added to the amount of time I get to live.  That's the way I look at recreation.  That's why I'll be a big conservation, environmental President, because I plan to fish and hunt as much as I possibly can.  ~George Bush, quoted in Los Angeles Times, 30 December 1988


We cannot blame the schools alone for the dismal decline in SAT verbal scores.  When our kids come home from school do they pick up a book or do they sit glued to the tube, watching music videos?  Parents, don't make the mistake of thinking your kid only learns between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.  ~George Bush


There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.  ~William J. Clinton


The real differences around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs; Protestants and Catholics; Muslims, Croats, and Serbs.  The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past; between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists.  ~William J. Clinton, 1997



QUOTATIONS ABOUT THE U.S. PRESIDENCY


George Washington is the only president who didn't blame the previous administration for his troubles.  ~Author Unknown


I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined here alone.  ~John F. Kennedy, to his Nobel Prize-winning guests


No man will ever bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it.  ~Thomas Jefferson, letter, 1796


Leadership is action, not position.  ~Donald H. McGannon


A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.  ~Author Unknown


Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.  ~Robert Jarvik


Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.  ~Thomas J. Watson


A leader is a dealer in hope.  ~Napoleon Bonaparte


Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders.  ~Tom Peters


I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscle; but today it means getting along with people.  ~Indira Gandhi


Ohio claims they are due a president as they haven't had one since Taft.  Look at the United States, they have not had one since Lincoln.  ~Will Rogers


As President, I have no eyes but constitutional eyes; I cannot see you.  ~Abraham Lincoln


The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of cliches the first prize.  ~Saul Bellow


When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it.  ~Clarence Darrow


The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is... the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.  ~Adlai Stevenson, speech, Democratic National Convention, 18 August 1956


Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so.  ~Gore Vidal

 



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