75 Best Inspirational Barack Obama Quotes About Change

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Best Barack Obama Quotes About Change

It's Obama's 59th birthday today, so in honor of the former POTUS, we've gathered 75 of the best, most inspirational Barack Obama quotes from his time as president, his books and his most famous speeches.

Born on August 4, 1961, Obama served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 until 2017, and will be remembered as one of the greatest speakers of all time. Not only are his messages and quotes carefully crafted, persuasive and powerfully worded, but Barack Obama — side-by-side with his influential wife and First Lady, Michelle Obama — is a constant ambassador for change within the nation, working throughout his presidency and beyond to advance social progress and equality across the nation.

Known for his unique delivery style during his speeches, Obama has a way of emotionally connecting with his audience through his words and successfully won the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

Aside from his terms as president, he has also authored several books, including, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream and Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, as well as given many commencement speeches at universities across the country.

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Whether he's discussing marriage equality, immigration, the criminal justice system or protection for LGBT Americans, Obama's ability to get his point across in an articulate, eloquent way was key to instigating change within some of the oldest, most established systems of government in history. He is a creator of hope and a soldier for change, and his message will live on through his words.

Take a look below at some of our picks of the best Barack Obama quotes about change below — let his message motivate you to fight for change within your communities and inspire you to embrace change in your own life.

1. “A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things."

2. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

3. "Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can seize our future. And as we leave this great state with a new wind at our backs and we take this journey across this great country, a country we love, with the message we carry from the plains of Iowa to the hills of New Hampshire, from the Nevada desert to the South Carolina coast, the same message we had when we were up and when we were down, that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we will hope."

4. “You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.”

5. “Change is never easy, but always possible.”

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6. “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”

7. "Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us - a belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead."

8. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our Democracy; Tonight is your answer.”

9. “Yes We Can!”

10. “We are the change we have been waiting for.”

11. "The cynics may be the loudest voices, but I promise you, they will accomplish the least."

12. “There's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America.”

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

14. “I think perhaps education doesn’t do us much good unless it is mixed with sweat.”

15. “Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.”

16. “If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription, who has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer - even if it's not my grandparent. If there's an Arab-American or Mexican-American family being rounded up by John Ashcroft without benefit of an attorney or due process, I know that that threatens my civil liberties. And I don't have to be a woman to be concerned that the Supreme Court is trying to take away a woman's right, because I know that my rights are next. It is that fundamental belief - I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper - that makes this country work.”

17. “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

18. “All too rarely do I hear people asking just what it is that we've done to make so many children's hearts so hard, or what collectively we might do to right their moral compass - what values we must live by.”

19. “We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”

20. “I'm inspired by the people I meet in my travels--hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I'm inspired by the love people have for their children. And I'm inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.”

21. “I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody's religious beliefs -including my own- on nonbelievers.”

22. “In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.”

23. "Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be."

24. “One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”

25. “It’s important to make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”

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26. "A tradition [of politics] that stretched from the days of the country’s founding to the glory of the civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another, and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done.”

27. “Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled.”

28. "The moment we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold into a library, we've changed their lives forever, and for the better. This is an enormous force for good.”

29. “Our stories may be singular, but our destination is shared.”

30. “We don't ask you to believe in our ability to bring change, rather, we ask you to believe in yours.”

31. “A nation that can't control its energy sources can't control its future.”

32. “No, you can't deny women their basic rights and pretend it's about your 'religious freedom'. If you don't like birth control, don't use it. Religious freedom doesn't mean you can force others to live by your own beliefs.”

33. “Hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.”

34. “What I’ve realized is that life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children — all of our children — a better world. Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.”

35. “We may not be able to stop evil in the world, but how we treat one another is entirely up to us.”

36. “Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. it's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”

37. "We should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations."

38. "Libraries remind us that truth isn't about who yells the loudest, but who has the right information. Because even as we're the most religious of people, America's innovative genius has always been preserved because we also have a deep faith in facts."

39. “My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn't, couldn't end there. At least that's what I would choose to believe.”

40. “While we breathe, we will hope.”

41. “It's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.”

42. “We think of faith as a source of comfort and understanding but find our expressions of faith sowing division; we believe ourselves to be a tolerant people even as racial, religious, and cultural tensions roil the landscape. And instead of resolving these tensions or mediating these conflicts, our politics fans them, exploits them,and drives us further apart.”

43. "It's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.”

44. "The strongest weapon against hate speech is not repression, it's more speech."

45. "To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

46. "As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path."

47. “Where you are right now doesn't have to determine where you'll end up.”

48. “You might be locked in a world not of your own making, but you still have a claim on how it is shaped. You still have responsibilities.”

49. "With fixed eyes on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

50. "Where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words -- yes, we can."

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51. "What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

52. "Clear-eyed, we can understand that there will be war and still strive for peace."

53. “Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths."

54. "We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort."

55. “We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God's plan for us. What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings. ”

56. "To be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship."

57. "That is the America I know. That's the country we love. Clear-eyed. Big-hearted. Undaunted by challenge."

58. "It is you, the young and the fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow."

59. "The role of citizen in a democracy does not end with your vote."

60. "No matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny."

61. “Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.”

62. “Change doesn’t come from Washington; change comes to Washington.”

63. “It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.”

64. "The long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all and not just some."

65. “The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.”

66. "We may come from different places and have different stories, but we share common hopes, and one very American dream."

67. "We are a people of improbable hope."

68. "Words do inspire."

69. “In the end, this is what this election’s about – do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?”

70. "We cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself."

71. "If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost."

72. "All the education and good intentions in the world couldn’t help plug up the holes in the universe or give you the power to change its blind, mindless course."

73. "Although the principle of equality has always been self-evident, it has never been self-executing."

74. "What makes a man is not the ability to have a child but having the courage to raise one."

75. "For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness."

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Kayla Cavanagh is a writer and editor, focusing on pop-culture, quotes, and trending relationship topics.