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50 Dwight D. Eisenhower Quotes On Life, Politics and Progress

What made Eisenhower a great president? Just how old was he when he became president? Keep reading through these Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes to find out!

Eisenhower was not only the 34th President of the United States. He was also a five star general during WWII. He won both the 1952 and 1956 elections in a landslide—winning 442 electoral votes to Stevenson’s 89 in 1952.

The two ran against each other again in 1956, with Eisenhower garnering 457 electoral votes. It’s no surprise that there are many Eisenhower quotes about leadership, freedom, and America.

‘I like Ike’ campaign pins were popular during the races, and many people really did like Ike! He was an excellent leader who displayed sincerity, integrity, and the duties of the office.

Eisenhower was a religious and family man, which also made him likable. He ran as a Republican but urged the party to be progressive stating, “I have just one purpose … and that is to build up a strong progressive Republican Party in this country. If the right-wing wants a fight, they are going to get it … before I end up, either this Republican Party will reflect progressivism or I won’t be with them anymore.”

I wonder what Eisenhower quotes we would hear today if he was witnessing his party’s leadership.

Don’t forget to also read these wise presidential quotes from our past leaders. 

Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes about leadership and the power of plans

1. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

2. “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

3. “The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

4. “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

5. “When you put on a uniform, there are certain inhibitions that you accept.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

6. “I would rather try to persuade a man to go along because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

7. “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

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8. “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

9. “Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Political musings and other Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes about government

10. “Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

11. “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of political quotes that show all perspectives.

12. “When you are in any contest, you should work as if there were – to the very last minute – a chance to lose it. This is battle, this is politics, this is anything.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

13. “Politics is a profession; a serious, complicated, and, in its true sense, a noble one.”— Dwight D. Eisenhower

14. “Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

15. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

16. “No one should ever sit in this office over 70 years old, and that I know.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

17. “This desk of mine is one at which a man may die, but from which he cannot resign.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

18. “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wise Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes for life

19. “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.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

20. “An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

21. “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

22. “Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.” — Dwight Eisenhower

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23. “May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

24. “There is no victory at bargain-basement prices.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

25. “We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

26. “The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

27. “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

28. “Only strength can cooperate. Weakness can only beg.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

29. “The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

30. “Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration, and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

31. “If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

32. “The spirit of man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fiber of a nation than its wealth.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

33. “There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

34. “It is far more important to be able to hit the target than it is to haggle over who makes a weapon or who pulls a trigger.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

35. “Don’t join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes that remind us about the importance of freedom

36. “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.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

37. “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

38. “The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice; their choice!” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

39. “Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

40. “We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

41. “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days the government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

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42. “We are going to have peace, even if we have to fight for it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

43. “In the final choice, a soldier’s pack is not so heavy as a prisoner’s chains.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes on what it means to be an American

44. “There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

45. “Here in America, we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

46. “Only Americans can hurt America.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

47. “I have found out in later years that we were very poor, but the glory of America is that we didn’t know it then.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

48. “Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

49. “I have one yardstick by which I test every major problem – and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

50. “This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

You might also like these Harry Truman quotes from the unpopular president.

What did you learn from these Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes?

Eisenhower achieved many progressive initiatives during his two terms, including the Interstate Highway System, which we are familiar with today. Eisenhower created NASA and began America’s fascination with outer space.

He was also willing to use any means necessary to end segregation in the nation’s Armed Forces. His administration also declared radical discrimination as a national security threat.

Eisenhower was 62 when he became president, and yet, the Old Guard of the House and Senate viewed him as a young upstart trying to tell them how to change things.

He wanted to end the Korean War and bring fiscal responsibility to the government along with a departure of corruption. What a radically progressive idea! There are many Americans still wishing for this to happen and it is 2021.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Dwight D. Eisenhower quotes and sayings? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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