In honor of President's Day, I thought it befitting to reflect upon some of the most significant quotes from those who have led this country since its inception. While gathering these quotes it struck me that dating back to the birth of our constitution, the primary focus of our leaders has remained the same. We as a nation have struggled with maintaining integrity in leadership, achieving peace, and preserving the rights of the American people. Some say we've made great progress, others see us falling backward. What do you think?

Government and politics.

1. "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln

2. "Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." - Calvin Coolidge

3. "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." - James Madison

4. "I can imagine no greater disservice to the country than to establish a system of censorship that would deny to the people of a free republic like our own their indisputable right to criticize their own public officials." - Woodrow Wilson

5. "Although in our country the Chief Magistrate must almost of necessity be chosen by a party and stand pledged to its principles and measures, yet in his official action he should not be the President of a part only, but of the whole people of the United States." - James K. Polk

6. "You cannot extend the mastery of government over the daily life of a people without somewhere making it master of people's souls and thoughts." - Herbert Hoover

7. "There is something inherently wrong, something out of accord with the ideals of representative democracy, when one portion of our citizenship turns its activities to private gain amid defensive war while another is fighting, sacrificing, or dying for national preservation." - Warren G. Harding

8. "Those who want the government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination." -Harry S. Truman

9. "Officeholders are the agents of the people, not their masters." - Grover Cleveland

10. "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt

11. "There should be no bitterness or hate where the sole thought is the welfare of the United States of America. No man can occupy the office of President without realizing that he is President of all the people." - Franklin D. Roosevelt


12. "I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." - Dwight Eisenhauer

13. "Peace is the best time for improvement and preparation of every kind; it is in peace that our commerce flourishes most, that taxes are most easily paid, and that the revenue is most productive." - James Monroe

14. "Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. Is there no other way the world may live?" - Dwight D. Eisenhower

15. "I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty." - Woodrow Wilson

16. "Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

17. "Peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based on the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting." - Barack Obama


18. "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." - Alexander Hamilton

19. "There is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power." - William Henry Harrison

20. "A president's hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right." - Lyndon B. Johnson

21. "It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't." - Martin Van Buren

22. "The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there." - James Buchanan

23. "Every expert was once a beginner." - Rutherford B. Hayes

24. "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

25. "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry S. Truman

26. "Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself." - Richard M. Nixon

27. "The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things." - Ronald Reagan

28. "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." - Thomas Jefferson

29. "We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose." - Jimmy Carter

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

31. "No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit." - George Bush

32. "Accomplishment will prove to be a journey, not a destination." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

33. "Tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time." - Gerald R. Ford

34. "To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do." - John Adams

35. "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

36. "Without passion, you don't have energy, without energy you have nothing." - Donald Trump

37. "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson

38. "Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly." - John F. Kennedy

39. "Example, whether it be good or bad, has a powerful influence." - George Washington

40. "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." - Andrew Jackson

41. "The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away." - Ronald Reagan

42. "A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits." - Richard Nixon

43. "Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction." - John F. Kennedy

44. "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

And, a little humor.

45. "Being president is like running a cemetery: you've got a lot of people under you and nobody's listening." - Bill Clinton

46. "If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?" - Abraham Lincoln

47. "If one morning I walked upon the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: President Can't Swim." - Lyndon Johnson

48. "Washington, D.C. is twelve square miles bordering by reality." - Andrew Johnson

49. "Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process." - John F. Kennedy

50. "I left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency--even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting." - Ronald Reagan