75 Best Inspirational Quotes From Former Presidents


In any country around the world, you will find people who truly look up to their leaders as idols. They listen to what they say, trust in their judgment and have faith that they are being the best leaders they can be.

In the United States, the president is typically the man (perhaps woman one day!) that the people stand behind, so what better to celebrate President's Day with some of the best, most inspirational quotes from presidents throughout history.

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Now there are always going to be people who disagree with the president. That's just natural. It is absolutely impossible to please everyone because everyone has different opinions. But that's okay, it's just the way the world is. We all can think for ourselves. 

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What we can all agree on is that there have been a lot of wise words said throughout the years of our nation from these presidents. 

We have had a lot of great notable leaders. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, JFK, Ronald Regan, and Barack Obama just to name a few. The president of our country has a great duty. He must live to serve and protect the people and do everything in his power to try and make the country the best it can possibly be

Whether or not you have agreed with past presidents you can still appreciate some of the knowledge that they had. Why would we listen to what John Adams had to say over three hundred years ago? He couldn't possibly say anything that would matter for today... or so you would think.

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Turning back the clock to look way into the past is interesting because the words may be phrased a little differently, but the basis and principles are still very prevalent to today. 

So if you are looking for a bit of inspiration look no further. Here are some of the best quotes from our nation's past leaders. 

1. If you are just willing to have some courage. 

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

2. Choose your people wisely.

"Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company." — George Washington

3. Lead by example.

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

4. Have faith and success will follow.

"The cynics may be the loudest voices- but I promise you they will accomplish the least" — Barack Obama

5. Do good.

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

6. Once you believe in yourself anything is possible.

"Believe you can and you're halfway there" — Theodore Roosevelt

7. You have the power to do that.

"The best way to predict the future is to create it" — Abraham Lincoln

8. Be confident.

"The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money." — James Madison

9. It takes work.

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

10. Hard work is always worth it.

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try" — John F. Kennedy

11. A step in the right direction.

"It is by a thorough knowledge of the whole subject that [people] are enabled to judge correctly of the past and to give a proper direction to the future." — James Monroe

12. Stand up for what you believe in.

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

13. What you're here for.

"A leadership is someone who brings people together." — George W. Bush

14. Courage over fear.

"Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men" — John F. Kennedy

15. Don't lose faith.

"We should never despair, our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again" — George Washington

16. Always have passion.

"Without passion you don't have energy, with out energy you have nothing." — Donald Trump

17. Why wait?

"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today" — Thomas Jefferson

18. Be the best you can be.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are"  Theodore Roosevelt

19. What makes a hero.

"Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer." — Ronald Reagan

20. Know what is right.

"Always stand on principle... even if you stand alone" — John Adams 

21. Keep moving forward.

"Never be satisfied with less than your very best effort. If you strive for the top and miss, you'll still 'beat the pack." — Gerald R. Ford

22. Let your voice be heard.

"Let us dare to read, think, speak and write" — John Adams

23. Just live your best life.

"Great lives never go out; they go on" — Benjamin Harrison

24. There's hope.

"Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose." — Lyndon B. Johnson

25. Hard times cannot break you.

"The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph" — George Washington

26. Always keep faith in your heart.

"If wrinkles must be written on our brow, let them not be written on our heart. The spirit should never grow old" — James Garfield

27. Look for the good.

"There's good in everybody. Boost. Don't knock." — Warren G. Harding

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28. The only failure is not trying.

"Try and fail, but don't fail to try" — John Quincy Adams

29. Be a good person.

"Tell the truth, work hard and come to dinner on time" — Gerald Ford 

30. Don't act out of anger.

"Be patient and calm; no one can catch a fish with anger." — Herbert Hoover

31. Always keep trying.

"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress" — Barack Obama

32. Always look ahead.

"I walk slowly, but I never walk backward" — Abraham Lincoln

33. Confidence is key.

"The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money" — James Madison

34. Remember to love.

"The object of love is to serve, not to win." — Woodrow Wilson

35. Just takes some effort.

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

36. No one controls who you are.

"I can never consent to being dictated to" — John Tyler

37. Know where you're going.

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

38. Always be honorable.

"An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory" — Millard Fillmore

39. Stay optimistic.

"Pessimism never won any battle." — Dwight D. Eisenhower

40. Tenacity and bravery.

"In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins" — Ulysses S. Grant

41. Gotta start somewhere.

"Every expert was once a beginner" — Rutherford B.Hayes

42. Keep the faith.

"In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest" — William McKinley

43. What are you a prisoner of?

"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds." — Franklin D. Roosevelt

44. It's going to be hard but it's going to be worth it.

"We must dare to be great, and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage" — William Howard Taft

45. Love is not a game.

"The object of love is to serve not to win"- Woodrow Wilson

46. Take a look in the mirror.

"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month." — Theodore Roosevelt

47. Don't be afraid.

"If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you" — Calvin Coolidge

48. Patience is a virtue.

"Be patient and calm, no one can catch a fish with anger" — Herbert Hoover

49. When all seems lost.

"In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest." — William McKinley

50. We can all co-exist together.

"If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity" — John F. Kennedy

51. The legacy lives on.

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

52. Actions speak louder than words.

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you" — Thomas Jefferson

53. Knowledge is power.

"I not only use all the brains I have but all I can borrow" — Woodrow Wilson

54. When you're feeling defeated.

"It is better to be defeated standing for a high principle than to run by committing subterfuge." — Grover Cleveland

55. Positive thoughts.

"Pessimism never won any battle" — Dwight Eisenhower 

56.  Keep moving forward.

"Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose" — Lyndon B. Johnson 

57. Do what's right.

"Right reason is stronger than force." — James A. Garfield

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58. Hate is like poison.

"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 Nixon

59. Try as hard as you can always.

"Never be satisfied with less than your very best effort. If you strive for the top and miss, you'll still 'beat the pack'" — Gerald R. Ford 

60. How to win.

"In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins." — Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

61. Just believe you can.

"You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can" — Jimmy Carter

62. That's all it takes.

"Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They're just braver five minutes longer" — Ronald Regan 

63. Quitting is not an option.

"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" — William J. Clinton


"I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better." — Abraham Lincoln

65. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

"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 

66. Stay true.

"An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory." — Millard Fillmore

67. Together we rise.

"I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together" — George W. Bush

68. Not a single one.

"No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit" — William J. Clinton

69. Do it the right way the first time.

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

70. Build each other up.

"There's good in everybody. Boost. Don't Knock"  Warren G. Harding 

71. What is right is right.

"Right reason is stronger than force"  James A. Garfield

72. Kindness is key.

"I don't like that man. I must get to know him better" — Abraham Lincoln

73. Be adaptable.

"Times change and we change with them" — William Henry Harrison

74. When change will come.

"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

75. What we're meant to do.

"To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do" — John Adams

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, we’ve got the best quotes to share and savor. For quotes from the most inspiring celebs, activists, and poets, look no further! You might even find the quote that motivates the best parts of your life (and love!) forever.

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Molly Given is a writer and lover of all things to do with mystery and magic in life. When she’s not writing her fingers off she can be found planning her next adventure in a new part of the world.