Quotes from United States Presidents for Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day

President George Washington died in 1799. Many celebrated his life on his birthday in February. Years later, Washington’s birthday became a federal holiday. Still later, Washington’s Birthday was replaced with President’s Day.

This year, most of the United States is endlessly focused on the current race for the highest office. Since we find these words splashed in the headlines, I thought it would be of interest to see some of the words spoken years ago.


44 Quotes from the 43 Presidents

Read that headline again. It’s true. We count Grover Cleveland twice because he was elected at two different times.

Here is a quote from each president in honor of the holiday:


“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” –George Washington


“Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write.” –John Adams


“I cannot live without books.” –Thomas Jefferson


“The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.” –James Madison


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


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


“There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it.” –Andrew Jackson


“As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it.” –Martin Van Buren


“But I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free.” –William Henry Harrison


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


“Whatever you are, be a good one.” –Abraham Lincoln


“The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people.” –Andrew Johnson


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


“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


“If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old.” –James A. Garfield


“Men may die, but the fabrics of free institutions remains unshaken.” –Chester Arthur


“Some day I will be better remembered.” –Grover Cleveland


“I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.” –Benjamin Harrison


“I have tried so hard to do right.” –Grover Cleveland


“That’s all a man can hope for during his lifetime – to set an example – and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history.” –William McKinley


“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” –Theodore Roosevelt


“Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood.” –William Howard Taft


“The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.” –Woodrow Wilson


“Only solitary men know the full joys of friendship. Others have their family; but to a solitary and an exile his friends are everything.” –Warren G. Harding


“It takes a great man to be a good listener.” –Calvin Coolidge


“Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.” –Herbert Hoover


“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt


“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” –Harry S. Truman


“Don’t join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower


“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” –John F. Kennedy


“Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.” –Lyndon B. Johnson


“If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together.” –Richard Nixon


“I had a lot of experience with people smarter than I am.” –Gerald Ford


“You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.” –Jimmy Carter


“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” –Ronald Reagan


“We are a nation of communities…a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” –George H.W. Bush


“Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it’s the time when they most need to think.” –Bill Clinton


“The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom.” –George W. Bush


“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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