44 of the Best Quotes from American Presidents

44 of the Best Quotes from American Presidents

Election season in the United States precedes the quadrennial event when citizens select the next leader of the country. The months of campaigning and debates culminate in the casting of ballots, followed by the big reveal of who will take office. Looking back at the roster of presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, here are some of the best quotes from the leaders of America.


  1. George Washington (1789-1797)

George Washington“My observation is that whenever one person is found adequate to the discharge of a duty . .  . it is worse executed by two persons, and scarcely done at all if three or more are employed therein.”


  1. John Adams (1797-1801)

“I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any man judge, unless his mind has been opened and enlarged by reading.”


  1. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)

“But whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.”


  1. James Madison (1809-1817)

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”


  1. James Monroe (1817-1825)

“A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue.”


  1. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”


  1. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
Andrew Jackson
Image courtesy Wikipedia

“One man with courage makes a majority.”


  1. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)

“It’s easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.”


  1. William Henry Harrison (1841)

“The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.”


  1. John Tyler (1841-1845)

“Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.”


  1. James K. Polk (1845-1849)

“No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure.”


  1. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)

“I have always done my duty.”


  1. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)

“An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.”


  1. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)

“If your past is limited, your future is boundless.”


  1. James Buchanan (1857-1861)

“I like the noise of democracy.”


  1. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)

Abe Lincoln Memorial“Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.”


  1. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)

“If you always support the correct principles then you will never get the wrong results!”


  1. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)

“Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.”


  1. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)

“Every expert was once a beginner.”


  1. James A. Garfield (1881)

“There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are. . . . They teach the truth by living it.”


  1. Chester Arthur (1881-1885)

“Where you stand depends where you sit.”


  1. Grover Cleveland (1885-1889 and 1893-1897)

“Honor lies in honest toil.”


  1. Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)

“I am a thorough believer in the American test of character. He will not build high who does not build for himself.”


  1. Grover Cleveland (1893-1897)
Grover Cleveland
Image courtesy WIkipedia

“Whatever you do, tell the truth.”


  1. William McKinley (1897-1901)

“In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest.”


  1. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)

“Unless a man is master of his soul, all other kinds of mastery amount to little.”


  1. William Howard Taft (1909-1913)

“Enthusiasm for a cause sometimes warps judgment.”


  1. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)

“You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”


  1. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)

“Ambition is a commendable attribute, without which no man succeeds.”


  1. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

“Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”


  1. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)

“Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.”


  1. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)

FDR memorial“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”


  1. Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”


  1. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)

“Accomplishment will prove to be a journey, not a destination.”


  1. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)

“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”


  1. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)

“You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking.”


  1. Richard Nixon (1969-1974)

“Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does. A man is not finished when he’s defeated. He’s finished when he quits.”


  1. Gerald Ford (1974-1977)

“Responsibilities abandoned today will return as more acute crises tomorrow.”


  1. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Jimmy Carter
Image courtesy Wikipedia

“Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent.”


  1. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”


  1. George Bush (1989-1993)

“I do not mistrust the future; I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger.”


  1. Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

“Leadership means bringing people together in pursuit of a common cause, developing a plan to achieve it, and staying with it until the goal is achieved.”


  1. George W. Bush (2001-2009)

“Leadership to me means duty, honor, country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time.”


  1. Barack Obama (2009-present)

Barack Obama“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”