Monday, February 20, 2012

A President's Day Compendium Of Quotes

Love 'em or hate 'em, our presidents have, in many ways, helped shape America as we know it today. Yes, some of them were idiots – I'm not naming any names, since this is an issue that's always open to interpretation – but some of them have also been among the wisest, wittiest, and most well-respected citizens this nation has ever seen. Most, if not all of our presidents, have left behind numerous nuggets of wisdom, humorous quotes, or candidly honest remarks which history has preserved. In honor of President's Day, I hope you'll enjoy this collection of some of their more memorable quotes, as well as a few lesser-known but still priceless gems...

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence." ~ George Washington

"There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live." ~ John Adams

"Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree." ~ James Madison

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

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." ~ John Quincy Adams

"Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it." ~ Andrew Jackson

"The government should not be guided by Temporary Excitement, but by Sober Second Thought." ~ Martin Van Buren

"All the measures of the Government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer." ~ William Henry Harrison

"Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette – the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace." ~ John Tyler

"No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure." ~ James K. Polk

"I have always done my duty. I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me." ~ Zachary Taylor

"May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not." ~ Millard Fillmore

"Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion." ~ Franklin Pierce

"What is right and what is practicable are two different things." ~ James Buchanan

"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" ~ Abraham Lincoln

"It's a d@#% poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word." ~ Andrew Johnson

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

"In avoiding the appearance of evil, I am not sure but I have sometimes unnecessarily deprived myself and others of innocent enjoyments." ~ Rutherford B. Hayes

"Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter." ~ James A. Garfield

"I may be president of the United States, but my private life is nobody's d@#%ed business." ~ Chester A. Arthur

"I would rather the man who presents something for my consideration subject me to a zephyr of truth and a gentle breeze of responsibility than blow me down with a curtain of hot wind."  ~ Grover Cleveland

"Great lives never go out; they go on." ~ Benjamin Harrison

"Sometimes I wake at night in the White House and rub my eyes and wonder if it is not all a dream." ~ Grover Cleveland  (in his nonconsecutive second term)

"War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed." ~ William McKinley

"A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

"Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood." ~ William Howard Taft

"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." ~ Woodrow Wilson

"America's present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration." ~ Warren G. Harding  (interesting fact: Harding invented the word "normalcy" in this speech, but it caught on and has since become a "real" word)

"Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~ Calvin Coolidge

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

"Be sincere; be brief; be seated." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

"If you can't convince them, confuse them." ~ Harry S Truman

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men." ~ John F. Kennedy

"I'd rather give my life than to be afraid to give it." ~ Lyndon B. Johnson

"Always remember that others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself." ~ Richard M. Nixon

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have." ~ Gerald R. Ford

"We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles." ~ Jimmy Carter

40)  "Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." ~ Ronald Reagan


41)  "I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don't always agree with them." ~ George H.W. Bush

42)  "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America." ~ Bill Clinton

43)  "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." ~ George W. Bush

44)  "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." ~ Barack Obama

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