Presidential Quotes

Quotes By the American Presidents
From Washington to Obama:

George Washington Quotes

"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person's own mind than on the externals in the world."
Letter to Mary Ball Washington, February 1787

"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace"
State of the Union Address, January 8, 1790

~George Washington

John Adams Quotes

"The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing."

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."       LetterOctober 11, 1798

~John Adams

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

"If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions."

~Thomas Jefferson

James Madison Quotes

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny"

~James Madison

James Monroe Quotes

"It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty."

~James Monroe

John Quincy Adams

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."

~John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson Quotes

"There are no necessary evils in government. its evils exist only in its abuses."

~Andrew Jackson

Martin Van Buren Quotes

"In periods of danger and alarm we must rely principally upon a well-organized militia, and some general arrangement that will render this description of force more efficient has long been a subject of anxious solicitude. It was recommended to the First Congress by General Washington, and has been since frequently brought to your notice, and recently its importance strongly urged by my immediate predecessor."
First Annual Message to Congress
December 5, 1837

William Henry Harrison Quotes

"The Executive can put his negative upon the acts of the Legislature for other cause than that of want of conformity to the Constitution, whilst the judiciary can only declare void those which violate that instrument."
William Henry Harrison Inaugural Address
March 4, 1841

~William Henry Harrison

John Tyler Quotes

"We are in the enjoyment of all the blessings of civil and religious liberty, with unexampled means of education, knowledge, and improvement."
First Annual Message to Congress
December 7, 1841

James Polk Quotes

"A few years ago our whole national debt growing out of the Revolution and the War of 1812 with Great Britain was extinguished, and we presented to the world the rare and noble spectacle of a great and growing people who had fully discharged every obligation. Since that time the existing debt has been contracted, and, small as it is in comparison with the similar burdens of most other nations, it should be extinguished at the earliest practicable period."
First Annual Message to Congress
December 2, 1845

~James K. Polk

Zachary Taylor Quotes

"The Executive has authority to recommend (not to dictate) measures to Congress."

"The check provided by the Constitution in the clause conferring the qualified veto will never be exercised by me except in the cases contemplated by the fathers of the Republic. I view it as an extreme measure to be resorted to only in extraordinary cases."

"As indispensable to the preservation of our system of self-government, the independence of the representatives of the States and the people is guaranteed by the Constitution, and they owe no responsibility to any human power but their constituents. By holding the representative responsible only to the people, and exempting him from all other influences."
Annual Message to Congress
December 4, 1849

~Zachary Taylor

Millard Fillmore Quotes

"The Government of the United States is a limited Government. It is confined to the exercise of powers expressly granted and such others as may be necessary for carrying those powers into effect; and it is at all times an especial duty to guard against any infringement on the just rights of the States."
First Annual Message to Congress
December 2, 1850

"The Constitution has made it the duty of the President to take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
First Annual Message to Congress
December 2, 1850

~Millard Fillmore

Franklin Pierce Quotes

"Of the practical consequences which flow from the nature of the Federal Government, the primary one is the duty of administering with integrity and fidelity the high trust reposed in it by the Constitution, especially in the application of the public funds as drawn by taxation from the people and appropriated to specific objects by Congress."
First Annual Message to Congress
December 5, 1853

James Buchanan Quotes

"Congress alone has power to decide whether the present laws can or can not be amended so as to carry out more effectually the objects of the Constitution."
First Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union
December 8, 1857

~James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln Quotes

"A house divided against itself cannot stand." 

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts."

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

~ Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson Quotes

"The Constitution is the work of "the people of the United States," and it should be as indestructible as the people."
First Annual Message to Congress, December 4, 1865

~Andrew Johnson

Ulysses Grant Quotes

"The vast resources of the nation, both developed and undeveloped, ought to make our credit the best on earth. With a less burden of taxation than the citizen has endured for six years past, the entire public debt could be paid in ten years. But it is not desirable that the people should be taxed to pay it in that time."
First Annual Message to Congress
December 1869

"As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation, in the quarrels between different nations or between governments and their subjects."
First Annual Message to Congress
December 1869

Rutherford Hayes Quotes

"The protection of liberty requires the maintenance in full vigor of the manly methods of free speech, free press, and free suffrage, and will sustain the full authority of Government to enforce the laws which are framed to preserve these inestimable rights."
Second Annual Message to Congress
December 2, 1878

James Garfield Quotes

"The supreme trial of the Constitution came at last under the tremendous pressure of civil war. We ourselves are witnesses that the Union emerged from the blood and fire of that conflict purified and made stronger for all the beneficent purposes of good government."
Inaugural Address
March 4, 1881

"The will of the nation, speaking with the voice of battle and through the amended Constitution, has fulfilled the great promise of 1776 by proclaiming liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof."
Inaugural Address
March 4, 1881

~James Garfield

Chester Arthur Quotes

"The memory of his exalted character, of his noble achievements, and of his patriotic life will be treasured forever as a sacred possession of the whole people."

"The announcement of his death drew from foreign governments and peoples tributes of sympathy and sorrow which history will record as signal tokens of the kinship of nations and the federation of mankind."
Statement about the assassination of President Garfield
First Annual Message to Congress
December 6, 1881

~Chester A. Arthur

Grover Cleveland Quotes

"When more of the people's sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of government and expenses of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of free government."

~Grover Cleveland

William McKinley Quotes

"While the Congress may not find it an easy task to reduce the expenses of the Government, it should not encourage their increase. These expenses will in my judgment admit of a decrease in many branches of the Government without injury to the public service. It is a commanding duty to keep the appropriations within the receipts of the Government, and thus avoid a deficit."
First Annual Message to Congress, December 6, 1897

~William McKinley

Theodore Roosevelt Quotes

"No man is worth his salt in public life who makes on the stump a pledge which he does not keep after election."

~Theodore Roosevelt

William Taft Quotes

"The economies are of two kinds--first, there is a saving in the permanent administration of the Departments, bureaus, and offices of the Government; and, second, there is a present reduction in expenses by a postponement of projects and improvements that ultimately will have to be carried out but which are now delayed with the hope that additional revenue in the future will permit their execution without producing a deficit."
First Annual Message to Congress, December 9, 1909

~William H. Taft

Woodrow Wilson Quotes

"If you will think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself."

~Woodrow Wilson

Warren Harding Quotes

"Necessarily legislation is a matter of compromise. The full ideal is seldom attained. In that meeting of minds necessary to insure results, there must and will be accommodations and compromises, but in the estimate of convictions and sincere purposes the supreme responsibility to national interest must not be ignored."
First Annual Message to Congress, December 6, 1921

~Warren G. Harding

Calvin Coolidge Quotes

"No matter what anyone may say about making the rich and the corporations pay the taxes, in the end they come out of the people who toil. The people pay the expense of government. often many times over, in the increased cost of living...I want taxes to be less, that the people may have more."
Labor Speech, September 1, 1924

"To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race."
White House, December 12, 1924

"Character is the only secure foundation of the State"

~Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover Quotes

"We can not fail to recognize the obligations of the Government in support of the public welfare but we must coincidentally bear in mind the burden of taxes and strive to find relief through some tax reduction. Every dollar so returned fertilizes the soil of prosperity." State of the Union Address, December 3, 1929

~Herbert Hoover

Franklin Roosevelt Quotes

"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country."

~Franklin Roosevelt

Harry Truman Quotes

"I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

~Harry Truman

Dwight Eisenhower Quotes

"The United States does not wish merely to present strength, but also the desire and the hope for peace."

~Dwight Eisenhower

John Kennedy Quotes

"The greatest danger of all would be to do nothing."

"And so, my fellow Americans... ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer."

~John F. Kennedy

Richard Nixon Quotes

"You must not give power to a man unless, above everything else, he has character."

"The time has come for the responsible leaders of both political parties to take a stand against overgrown Government and for the American taxpayer. We are not spending the Federal Government's money, we are spending the taxpayer's money, and it must be spent in a way which guarantees his money's worth and yields the fullest possible benefit to the people being helped."

"The answer to many of the domestic problems we face is not higher taxes and more spending. It is less waste, more results and greater freedom for the individual American to earn a rightful place in his own community...and for States and localities to address their own needs in their own ways, in the light of their own priorities. "

~Richard Nixon

Gerald Ford Quotes

"Our Constitution works, our great Republic is a government of laws and not of me. Here the people rule."
Presidential Oath Remarks, August 9, 1974

~Gerald Ford

Jimmy Carter Quotes

"We are a great country, a strong country, a vital and a dynamic country and so...we will remain.

We are a confident people and a hardworking people, a decent and a compassionate people and so...we will remain."
State of the Union Address
January 19, 1979

Ronald Reagan Quotes

"My view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The trust is where it belongs the people."
Presidential Nomination acceptance speech
July 17, 1980

"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

~Ronald Reagan

George H. W. Bush Quotes

"Never before in this century have our values of freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity been such a powerful and intellectual force around the globe. Never before has our leadership been so crucial, because while America has its eyes on the future, the world has its eyes on America."
Joint Session of Congress
February 9, 1989

~George H. W. Bush

Bill Clinton Quotes

"We must work together. The people of this Nation elected us all. They want us to be partners, not partisans. They put us all right here in the same boat, they gave us all oars, and they told us to row."
State of the Union Address, February 4, 1997

"America is far more than a place. It is an idea, the most powerful idea in the history of nations. And all of us in this Chamber, we are now the bearers of that idea, leading a great people into a new world. A child born tonight will have almost no memory of the 20th century. Everything that child will know about America will be because of what we do now to build a new century."
State of the Union Address, February 4, 1997

~Bill Clinton

George W. Bush Quotes

"America is a Nation with a mission - and that mission comes from our most basic beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a democratic peace - a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman." 

"I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

"On Osama Bin Laden's death... This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."

~George W. Bush

Barack Obama Quotes

"I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible."

"Any fool can have a child. That doesn't make you a father. it's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father."

~Barack Obama

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"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
~United States Constitution, Article II, Section I, Clause 8

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