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Published On: Tue, Jun 8th, 2010

George Washington Famous Quotes

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.

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

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness. – Circular to the States, May 9, 1753

Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.

Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.

“General George Washington at Trenton.” Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Gift of the Society of Cincinnati in Connecticut. 1792 by John Trumbull

Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.

It is better to be alone than in bad company.

It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. – from a letter to Washington’s niece dated October 30, 1791

I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.

I have no other view than to promote the public good, and am unambitious of honors not founded in the approbation of my Country.

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.

It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.

Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. – Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

A free people ought to be armed. -Jan 14 1790, Boston Independent Chronicle.

Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. – Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

I am principled against this kind of traffic in the human species…and to disperse the families I have an aversion. – letter to Robert Lewis, August 18, 1799

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.

‘Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world. – Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. – Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

But if we are to be told by a foreign Power … what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little. – letter to Alexander Hamilton, May 8, 1796

Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country. – letter to Benedict Arnold, September 14, 1775

The thing that separates the American Christian from every other person on earth is the fact that he would rather die on his feet, than live on his knees!

A people… who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything. – letter to Benjamin Harrison, October 10, 1784

Tis folly in one Nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its Independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favours and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from Nation to Nation. ‘Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard. – Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity. – letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, January 9, 1790

Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country. – upon fumbling for his glasses before delivering the Newburgh Address, March 15, 1783

Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action; and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life. – Address to Congress on Resigning his Commission, December 23, 1783

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.

James Madison in response to George Washington’s first Inaugural address, May 18, 1789:

If individuals be not influenced by moral principles; it is in vain to look for public virtue; it is, therefore, the duty of legislators to enforce, both by precept and example, the utility, as well as the necessity of a strict adherence to the rules of distributive justice.

 

 

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