Quotes by American Presidents

The White House

The White House has served as a symbol of the American people, the United States government, and a home for the Presidents of the past two hundred years. An Act of Congress was signed by President George Washington in December of 1790 stating that the federal government would settle in a district "not exceeding ten miles square…on the river Potomac." Construction began on the site where the White House still stands today in October of 1792.

President Washington supervised the construction of the house, yet he never lived there. President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, were the first to live in the White House. From President Adams until today, the White House has been the private home to our nations leaders during their terms in office.

George Washington

~ It is better to be alone than in bad company. ~

~ Few people have the virtue to withstand the highest bidder. ~

~ Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light. ~

~ When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen. ~

~ Reason, too late perhaps, may convince you of the folly in misspending time. ~

~ An army of asses led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by an ass. ~

~ Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise. ~

~ There is no restraining men's tongues or pens when charged with a little vanity.~

~ If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. ~

~ Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. ~

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

~ Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. ~

~ My first wish is to see this plague of mankind banished from the earth, and the sons and daughters of this world employed in more pleasing and innocent amusements, than in preparing implements and exercising them for the destruction of mankind. ~

Thomas Jefferson

~ Delay is preferable to error. ~

~ He who knows best knows how little he knows. ~

~ Never spend your money before you have earned it. ~

~ Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. ~

~ Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. ~

~ Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind. ~

~ Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.~

~ One travels more usefully when alone, because he reflects more. ~

~ It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good. ~

~ I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. ~

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

~ In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. ~

~ When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property. ~

~ It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness. ~

~ It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.~

~ My theory has always been, that if we are to dream, the flatteries of hope are as cheap, and pleasanter, than the gloom of despair. ~

John Quincy Adams

~ Idleness is sweet, and its consequences are cruel. ~

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

~ Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. ~

~ All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse. ~

Andrew Jackson

~ Elevate those guns a little lower. ~

~ One man with courage makes a majority. ~

~ You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. ~

~ There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. ~

~ Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my wife there. ~

~ The brave man inattentive to his duty, is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts in the hour of danger. ~

~ Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error. ~

James K. Polk

~ With me it is exceptionally true that the Presidency is no bed of roses.~

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

~ I am heartily rejoiced that my term is so near its close. I will soon cease to be a servant and will become a sovereign. ~

~ If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? ~

~ I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.~

Abraham Lincoln

~ Whatever you are, be a good one. ~

~ What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself. ~

~ The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.~

~ Every one desires to live long, but no one would be old. ~

~ Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory. ~

~ People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.~

~ God must love the common man, he made so many of them.~

~ No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.~

~ Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.~

~ The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. ~

~ You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. ~

~ A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me. ~

~ No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens. ~

~ I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. ~

~ Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. ~

~ It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. ~

~ You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence. ~

~ Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.~

~ Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all. ~

~ When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run. ~

~ Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.~

~ Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ~

~ You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. ~

~ Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter. ~

James A. Garfield

~ Suicide is not a remedy. ~

~ Ideas control the world. ~

~ Right reason is stronger than force. ~

~ Justice and goodwill will outlast passion. ~

~ The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.~

~ I have had many troubles in my life, but the worst of them never came. ~

~ A brave man is a man who dares to look the Devil in the face and tell him he is a Devil. ~

~ I mean to make myself a man, and if I succeed in that, I shall succeed in everything else. ~

~ Territory is but the body of a nation. The people who inhabit its hills and valleys are its soul, its spirit, its life. ~

~ If wrinkles must be written on our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old. ~

~ Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. ~

~ Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young. ~

Theodore Roosevelt

~ Believe you can and you're halfway there. ~

~ Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time. ~

~ With self-discipline most anything is possible. ~

~ No great intellectual thing was ever done by great effort. ~

~ Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~

~ Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage. ~

~ When you play, play hard; when you work, don't play at all.~

~ Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground. ~

~ It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.~

~ To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.~

~ Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.~

~ Absence and death are the same - only that in death there is no suffering. ~

~ The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people. ~

~ Some men can live up to their loftiest ideals without ever going higher than a basement. ~

~ I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head. ~

~ I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do. ~

~ A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad. ~

~ In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. ~

~ If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience. ~

Woodrow Wilson

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

~ The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation. ~

~ Never attempt to murder a man who is committing suicide.~

~ I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow. ~

~ The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.~

~ A conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt. ~

~ There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed. ~

~ The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them. ~

~ You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light. You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape. ~

Calvin Coolidge

~ It takes a great man to be a good listener. ~

~ You can't know too much, but you can say too much. ~

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

~ We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once. ~

~ Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery. ~

~ No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. ~

~ Four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still. ~

~ There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means. ~

~ About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends. ~

Herbert Hoover

~ No public man can be just a little crooked. ~

~ Children are our most valuable natural resource. ~

~ Words without actions are the assassins of idealism. ~

~ Wisdom consists not so much in knowing what to do in the ultimate as knowing what to do next. ~

~ Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity. ~

~ Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die. ~

~ Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt. ~

~ A good many things go around in the dark besides Santa Claus. ~

~ When we are sick, we want an uncommon doctor; when we have a construction job to do, we want an uncommon engineer, and when we are at war, we want an uncommon general. It is only when we get into politics that we are satisfied with the common man. ~

~ When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. ~

~ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. ~

Franklin D. Roosevelt

~ Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection. ~

~ The truth is found when men are free to pursue it. ~

~ It takes a long time to bring the past up to the present. ~

~ There are as many opinions as there are experts. ~

~ Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are. ~

~ The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea. ~

~ The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. ~

~ Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. ~

~ Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. ~

~ To reach a port, we must sail - sail, not tie at anchor - sail, not drift. ~

~ There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still. ~

~ If you treat people right they will treat you right... ninety percent of the time. ~

~ In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way. ~

~ When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him. ~

~ I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm. ~

~ It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. ~

~ It isn't sufficient just to want - you've got to ask yourself what you are going to do to get the things you want. ~

~ A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. ~

~ We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon. ~

~ Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. ~

Dwight D. Eisenhower

~ Pessimism never won any battle. ~

~ If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it. ~

~ Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin. ~

~ Only strength can cooperate. Weakness can only beg. ~

~ Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy. ~

~ I'm saving that rocker for the day when I feel as old as I really am. ~

~ A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. ~

~ Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field. ~

~ What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog. ~

~ An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows. ~

~ Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. ~

~ If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. ~

~ Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process. ~

~ Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all. ~

John F. Kennedy

~ A child miseducated is a child lost. ~

~ We must use time as a tool, not as a couch. ~

~ Things do not happen. Things are made to happen. ~

~ Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. ~

~ Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. ~

~ Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. ~

~ The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. ~ 

~ A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. ~

~ Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. ~

~ The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds. ~

~ Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life. ~

~ If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. ~

~ If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. ~

~ If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. ~

~ Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal. ~

~ For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. ~

~ We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came. ~

~ I am not a crook. ~

Richard Nixon

~ Solutions are not the answer.~

~ Life is one crisis after another. ~

~ Well, I screwed it up real good, didn't I? ~

~ Once you get into this great stream of history, you can't get out. ~

~ A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits. ~

~ You've got to learn to survive a defeat. That's when you develop character. ~

~ My concern today is not with the length of a person's hair but with his conduct. ~

~ If an individual wants to be a leader and isn't controversial, that means he never stood for anything. ~

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

~ If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories. ~

~ Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. ~

~ Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines. ~

Martin Van Buren

~ It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't. ~

~ As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it. ~

William Henry Harrison

~ To Englishmen, life is a topic, not an activity. ~

~ I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free. ~

John Tyler

~ I can never consent to being dictated to. ~

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

Ulysses S. Grant

~ My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent. ~

~ I know only two tunes: one of them is "Yankee Doodle," and the other isn't. ~

~ Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves. ~

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

Jimmy Carter

~ You just have to have a simple faith. ~

~ Aggression unopposed becomes a contagious disease. ~

~ It's not necessary to fear the prospect of failure but to be determined not to fail.~

~ America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense human rights invented America. ~

More Presidential Quotes

John Adams

~ Genius is sorrow's child. ~

~ Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war. ~

~ In politics the middle way is none at all. ~

~ Fear is the foundation of most governments. ~

~If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?~

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

~ Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order. ~

James Madison

~ Philosophy is common sense with big words. ~

~ If men were angels, no government would be necessary. ~

~ The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted. ~

James Monroe

~ A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue. ~

~ The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil. ~

Andrew Johnson

~ Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide. ~

~ It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word. ~

Rutherford B. Hayes

~ As friends go it is less important to live. ~

~ Must swear off from swearing. Bad habit. ~

~ Conscience is the authentic voice of God to you. ~

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

~ 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. ~

Benjamin Harrison

~ Great lives never go out; they go on. ~

~ The bud of victory is always in the truth. ~

William McKinley

~ The free man cannot be long an ignorant man. ~

~ 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 Howard Taft

~ Enthusiasm for a cause sometimes warps judgment. ~

~ Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood. ~

~ No tendency is quite so strong in human nature as the desire to lay down rules of conduct for other people. ~

Harry S. Truman

~ Study men, not historians. ~

~ Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it. ~

~ The reward of suffering is experience. ~

~ You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog. ~

~ If you can't convince them, confuse them. ~

~ If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. ~

~ The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all. ~

~ My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference. ~

Lyndon B. Johnson

~ Freedom is not enough. ~

~ The noblest search is the search for excellence. ~

~ I'd rather give my life than be afraid to give it. ~

~ You aren't learning anything when you're talking. ~

~ While you're saving your face, you're losing your ass. ~

~ Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time. ~

~ Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty. ~

~ It may be, it just may be, that life as we know it with its humanity is more unique than many have thought. ~

~ Only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other is to let her have it. ~

George Bush

~ This way of life is worth defending. ~

~ You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. ~

George W. Bush

~ This way of life is worth defending. ~

~ Everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear. ~

~ Faith crosses every border and touches every heart in every nation. ~

~ A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it. ~

~ After the chaos and carnage of September 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. ~

Gerald Ford

~ I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio. ~

~ When a man is asked to make a speech, the first thing he has to decide is what to say.~

~ I know I am getting better at golf because I am hitting fewer spectators.~

~ Tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time. ~

~ If Lincoln were alive today, he'd be turning over in his grave. ~

~ I had a lot of experience with people smarter than I am. ~

~ Things are more like today than they have ever been before. ~

~ How can a president not be an actor? ~

~You can tell alot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans. ~

Ronald Reagan

~ Facts are stubborn things. ~

~ One picture is worth 1,000 denials. ~

~ A people free to choose will always choose peace. ~

~ All great change in America begins at the dinner table. ~

~ When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat. ~

~ I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself. ~

~ I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon. ~

~ It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance? ~

~ Going to college offered me the chance to play football for four more years. ~

~ While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future. ~

~ No matter what time it is, wake me, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting. ~

~ Today, if you invent a better mousetrap, the government comes along with a better mouse. ~

~ There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder. ~

~ I may not have been the greatest president, but I've had the most fun eight years. ~

~ I tried marijuana once. I did not inhale.~

Bill Clinton

~ Character is a journey, not a destination. ~

~ Sometimes I feel like a fire hydrant looking at a pack of dogs. ~

~ Try to remember that work cannot be the only thing in life.~

~ Try to remember that work cannot be the only thing in life.~

~ You can put wings on a pig, but you don't make it an eagle.~

~ When our memories outweigh our dreams, we have grown old.~

~ That's why you develop a brain, so you can think about more than one thing at a time. ~

~ My doctor ordered me to shut up, which will make every American happy. ~

~ Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~

~ Pessimism is an excuse for not trying and a guarantee to a personal failure. ~

~ Success is not the measure of a man but a triumph over those who choose to hold him back. ~

~ We're doing 60 Minutes because we're too old for "Survivor" and "Star Search".~

~ One of the things that I think we have learned is that we should all be very careful about making predictions about the future. ~

~ 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. ~

Barack Obama

 ~ What Washington needs is adult supervision. ~

~ Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference. ~

~ What do you think a stimulus is? It's spending - that's the whole point! Seriously. ~

~ If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress. ~

~ Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. ~

Presidents with great things to say, yet not many true quotes.

Zachary Taylor

Millard Fillmore

Franklin Pierce

James Buchanan

Chester Arthur

Grover Cleveland

Warren Harding

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