Inspirational Quotes by U.S. Presidents Throughout The Years

Today is Presidents’ Day. Initially established to celebrate the birthday of George Washington, Presidents’ Day now takes place on the third monday in February to celebrate all U.S. presidents. With that being said, here are the most inspirational quotes from America’s greatest leaders throughout the years:

“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” — George Washington (1789–1787)

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.” — John Adams (1797–1801)

“One man with courage is a majority.” — Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809)

“The problem to be solved is, not what form of government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect.” — James Madison (1809–1817)

“The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.” — James Monroe (1817–1825)

“May our country be always successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.” — John Quincy Adams (1825–1829)

“Internal improvement and the diffusion of knowledge, so far as they can be promoted by the constitutional acts of the Federal Government, are of high importance.” — Andrew Jackson (1829–1837)

“It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.” — Martin Van Buren (1837–1841)

“A decent and manly examination of the acts of the Government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged.” — William Henry Harrison (1841)

“So far as it depends on the course of this government, our relations of good will and friendship will be sedulously cultivated with all nations.” — John Tyler (1841–1845)

“The world has nothing to fear from military ambition in our Government.” — James Knox Polk (1845–1849)

“It would be judicious to act with magnanimity towards a prostrate foe.” — Zachary Taylor (1849–1850 )

“It is not strange . . . to mistake change for progress.” — Millard Fillmore (1850–1853)

“We have nothing in our history or position to invite aggression; we have everything to beckon us to the cultivation of relations of peace and amity with all nations.” — Franklin Pierce (1853–1857)

“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” — James Buchanan (1857–1861)

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” — Abraham Lincoln (1861–1865)

“Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide.” — Andrew Johnson (1865–1869)

“My failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.” — Ulysses Simpson Grant (1869–1877)

“The President of the United States should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves his country best.” — Rutherford B. Hayes (1877–1881)

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” — James A. Garfield (1881)

“If it were not for the reporters, I would tell you the truth.” — Chester A. Arthur (1881–1885)

“Above all, tell the truth.” — Grover Cleveland (1885–1889)

“The bud of victory is always in the truth.” — Benjamin Harrison (1889–1893)

“In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest.” — William McKinley (1897–1901)

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” — Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909)

“Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood.” — William Howard Taft (1909–1913)

“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” — Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921)

“Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little.” — Warren G. Harding (1921–1923)

“I have never been hurt by anything I didn’t say.” — John Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929)

“Absolute freedom of the press to discuss public questions is a foundation stone of American liberty.” — Herbert Hoover (1929–1933)

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933–1945)

“You can not stop the spread of an idea by passing a law against it.” — Harry S. Truman (1945–1953)

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953–1961)

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” — John F. Kennedy (1961–1963)

“You ain’t learnin’ nothin’ when you’re talkin’.” — Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963–1969)

“A man who has never lost himself in a cause bigger than himself has missed one of life’s mountaintop experiences. Only in losing himself does he find himself.” — Richard Nixon (1969–1974)

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” — Gerald Rudolph Ford (1974–1977)

“We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.” — Jimmy Carter (1977–1981)

“We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around. And that makes us special among the nations of the earth.” — Ronald Wilson Reagan (1981–1989)

“If anyone tells you that America’s best days are behind her, they’re looking the wrong way.” — George H. W. Bush (1989–1993)

“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.” — Bill Clinton (1993–2001)

“Recognizing and confronting our history is important. Transcending our history is essential. We are not limited by what we have done, or what we have left undone. We are limited only by what we are willing to do.” — George Walker Bush (2001–2009)

“We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it.” — Barack Obama (2009–2016)