140 Founding Fathers Quotes from the first American Leaders

Here are Founding Fathers’ quotes that helped shape the country’s freedom.

There might be no United States of America if not for the great contribution of each one of the Founding Fathers.

Their ideals and aspirations for a greater country have paved the way for America’s freedom.

Tell us which Founding Fathers’ quotes you liked the most in the comment section below.

What are the benefits of reading these Founding Fathers’ quotes?

Their words and thoughts, as stated in hundreds of Founding Fathers’ quotes, are highly regarded to this day.

The Founding Fathers of America comprise eight noblemen whose great contributions are also pivotal in America’s declaration of independence.

They are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay.

These quotes will help you:

  • better understand what the beginning hope for the United States
  • find some motivation for everyday life
  • learn more about politics and governance

Together, they formed a democratic government that shaped the United States.

Apart from the eight men, there were additional fathers whose roles are also essential in America’s liberation.

Enjoy these Founding Fathers’ quotes and sayings!

Don’t forget to check out these George Washington quotes celebrating America’s ideals.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.

Our inspirational quotes category page has all of our motivational quotes for all the different areas of life.

Motivational Founding Fathers’ Quotes and Sayings

1. “I never expect a perfect work from an imperfect man.” – Alexander Hamilton

Founding Fathers quotes about imperfect man

You will also enjoy our article on minion quotes.

2. “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” – Benjamin Franklin

Founding Fathers quotes about keeping secret

You will also enjoy our article on history quotes.

3. “A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.” – Benjamin Franklin

Founding Fathers quotes about blockhead

You will also enjoy our article on Alexander the Great quotes.

4. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…” – Thomas Jefferson

Founding Fathers quotes to be slef evident

You will also enjoy our article on quotes about voting.

5. “Truth will ultimately prevail where pains is taken to bring it to light.” – George Washington

Founding Fathers quotes that truth will ultimately prevail where pains is taken to bring it to light

You will also enjoy our article on atheist quotes.

6. “A fat kitchen makes a lean will.” – Benjamin Franklin

Founding Fathers quotes about a fat kitchen makes a lean will

You will also enjoy our article on dad quotes.

7. “Let frugality and industry be our virtues. Fire (our children) with ambition to be useful.” – John Adams

Founding Fathers quotes about ambition

You will also enjoy our article on corruption quotes.

8. “If conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value.” – John Adams

Founding Fathers quotes from John Adams

You will also enjoy our article on Benjamin Franklin quotes.

9. “My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.” – George Washington

Founding Fathers quotes about mankind

You will also enjoy our article on integrity quotes-2.

10. “Those who stand for nothing fall for everything.” – Alexander Hamilton

Founding Fathers quotes about those who stand for nothing fall for everything

Quotes from our Founding Fathers about Politics and Governance

11. “I agree with you that it is the duty of every good citizen to use all the opportunities, which occur to him, for preserving documents relating to the history of our country.” – Thomas Jefferson

Founding Fathers quotes about history of our country

12. “I fear that in every elected office, members will obtain an influence by noise, not sense. By meanness, not greatness. By ignorance, not learning. By contracted hearts, not large souls . . . There must be decency and respect.” – John Adams

Founding Fathers quotes about making sense

13. “Human passions unbridled by morality and religion… would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.” – John Adams

Founding Fathers quotes about human passions

14. “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” – James Madison

Founding Fathers quotes about government is power

15. “We must go home to be happy, and our home is not in this world. Here we have nothing to do but our duty.” – John Jay

Founding Fathers quotes to be happy

16. “In the main, it will be found that a power over a man’s support (salary) is a power over his will.” – Alexander Hamilton

Founding Fathers quotes about power

17. “Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.” – John Adams

Founding Fathers quotes about power corrupts

18. “The wise and the good never form the majority of any large society and it seldom happens that their measures are uniformly adopted…” – John Jay

Founding Fathers quotes about society

Founding Fathers’ quotes about the constitution

19. “Our country may be likened to a new house. We lack many things, but we possess the most precious of all – liberty!” – James Monroe

Founding Fathers quotes about liberty

20. “The emigrants although of different parties and different religious sects all flew from persecution in pursuit of liberty.” – James Monroe

Founding Fathers quotes about pursuit of liberty

21. “The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.” – James Monroe

Founding Fathers quotes about goverment

22. “The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” – James Madison

Founding Fathers quotes form James Madison

23. “In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.” – James Madison

Founding Fathers quotes to respect the rights of the minority

24. “The proposed Constitution is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal constitution; but a composition of both.” – James Madison

Founding Fathers quotes about constitution

25. “The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked, than the supine, secure, and negligent.” – Benjamin Franklin

Founding Fathers quotes about the way. to secure peace is to be prepared for war

Famous Founding Fathers’ Quotes on Freedom and Liberty

26. “As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.”― James Madison

Related  80 Religious Quotes to Bring You Inner Peace

27. “Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” – John Adams

28. “There is a price tag on human liberty. That price is the willingness to assume the responsibilities of being free men. Payment of this price is a personal matter with each of us.” – James Monroe

29. “The liberty, prosperity, and the happiness of our country will always be the object of my most fervent prayers to the Supreme Author of All Good.” – James Monroe

30. “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” – Thomas Jefferson

31. “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” – George Washington

32. “As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.” – James Madison

33. “It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty.” – James Monroe

Founding Fathers’ Quotes About Truth

34. “It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” – James Madison

35. “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.”― James Madison

36. “Experience is the oracle of truth; and where its responses are unequivocal, they ought to be conclusive and sacred.” – James Madison

37. “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.” – James Madison

38. “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.” – Thomas Jefferson

39. “Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout.” – Benjamin Franklin

40. “Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.” – Benjamin Franklin

41. “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is the best policy.” – George Washington

42. “Public business, my son, must always be done by somebody. It will be done by somebody or other. If wise men decline it, others will not; if honest men refuse it, others will not.” – John Adams

43. “Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. education & free discussion are the antidotes of both.” – Thomas Jefferson

Other Founding Fathers’ Quotes on Friendship

44. “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.” – George Washington

45. “It is a common error in friends, when they would extol their friends, to make comparisons, and to depreciate the merits of others.” – Benjamin Franklin

46. “Friendship is one of the distinguishing glories of man… From this I expect to receive the chief happiness of my future life.” – John Adams

47. “When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly.” – George Washington

48. “Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power.”― James Madison

49. “To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.” – John Adams

50. “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” – John Adams

Thought-provoking founding fathers quotes

51. “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives. We ought to do all we can.” – John Adams

52. “I read my eyes out and can’t read half enough neither. The more one reads the more one sees we have to read.” – John Adams

53. “I think the first duty of society is justice.” – Alexander Hamilton

54. “Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

55. “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.” – James Madison

56. “No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.” ― John Jay

57. “Those who own the country ought to govern it.” – John Jay

58. “Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.” ― Thomas Jefferson

59. “In politics the middle way is none at all.” – John Adams

60. “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” – James Madison

Other Founding Fathers’ quotes

61. “It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.” – George Washington

62. “Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.” John Adams

63. “A promise must never be broken.” – Alexander Hamilton

64. “Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their safety seems to be the first.” – John Jay

65. “It is the knowledge that all men have weaknesses and that many have vices that makes government necessary.” – James Monroe

Related  116 Worry Quotes To Calm Your Fears and Anxieties

66. “Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.” – John Adams

67. “The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted.” – James Madison

68. “A pure democracy is a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person.” – James Madison

69. “The furnace of affliction produces refinement, in states as well as individuals.” – John Adams

70. “A government of laws, and not of men.” – John Adams

Inspiring Founding Fathers’ quotes

71. “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations.” – George Washington

72. “The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.” – James Madison

73. “Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.” – George Washington

74. “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” – John Adams

75. “Honesty is the best policy.” – Benjamin Franklin

76. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

77. “I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” – Benjamin Franklin

78. “The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government.” – Thomas Jefferson

79. “The only thing that is more expensive than education is ignorance.” – Benjamin Franklin

80. “If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” ― James Madison

More Founding Fathers’ Quotes And Sayings

81. “Our unalterable resolution should be to be free.” — Sam Adams

82. “Wear none of thine own chains; but keep free, whilst thou art free.” — William Penn

83. “You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve YOUR freedom. I hope you will make a good use of it.” — John Adams

84. “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive.” — Thomas Jefferson

85. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” — Thomas Jefferson

86. “Freedom and not servitude is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition.” — Edmund Burke

87. “Those that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin

88. “Law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained.” — Aaron Burr

89. “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” — Benjamin Franklin

90. “Any government is free to the people under it where the laws rule and the people are a party to the laws.” — William Penn

Founding Fathers’ Quotes That Embrace Patriotism

91. “Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” ― John Adams

92. “The U.S. didn’t achieve its liberty or prosperity by mistake. It was by design, and the architects were the Founding Fathers. Don’t mess with the Constitution. The Constitution matters.” ― A.E. Samaan

93. “…Defeat appears to me preferable to total Inaction.” ― John Adams

94. “The straight and narrow, so beloved of our founding fathers and all fathers thereafter, is now obviously and irrevocably bent. What is God trying to tell us…?” ― Larry Kramer

95. “Equal laws protecting equal rights—the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.” — James Madison

96. “However weak our country may be, I hope we shall never sacrifice our liberties.” — Alexander Hamilton

97. “There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.” — Alexander Hamilton

98. “The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.” — Samuel Adams

99. “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” — George Washington

100. “A spirit of liberty and patriotism animates all degrees and denominations of men.” — James Madison

Founding Fathers’ Quotes About Peace

101. “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” — Thomas Jefferson

102. “There never was a good war or a bad peace.” — Benjamin Franklin

103. “Our plan is peace forever.” — Thomas Paine

104. “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

105. “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, so that my child may have peace.” — Thomas Paine

106. “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” — Patrick Henry

107. “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet an enemy.” — George Washington

108. “To preserve peace will no doubt be difficult, but by accomplishing it we can show our wisdom and magnanimity, and secure to our people the enjoyment of a dignified repose by indulging in which they will be prosperous and happy.” — James Monroe

109. “As to myself, I love peace, and I am anxious that we should give the world still another useful lesson, by showing to them other modes of punishing injuries than by war, which is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer.” — Thomas Jefferson

Related  25 Mortal Kombat Quotes From the Movies Modeled After the Video Games

110. “It is not by the consolidation or concentration of powers, but by their distribution that good government is affected.” — Thomas Jefferson

Founding Fathers’ quotes on religion

111. “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion.” – George Washington

112. “The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth.” – John Quincy Adams

113. “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited!” – John Adams

114. “I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor.” – Alexander Hamilton

115. “God who gave us life gave us liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

116. “By conveying the Bible to people thus circumstanced, we certainly do them a most interesting kindness.” – John Jay

117. “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.” – Benjamin Franklin

118. “Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.” – John Adams

119. “A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest while we are building ideal monuments of Renown and Bliss here we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.” – James Madison

120. “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.” – Thomas Jefferson

Founding Fathers Quotes About Religion

121. “Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor – over each other.” ― Thomas Jefferson

122. “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.” ― James Madison

123. “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.” ― Thomas Jefferson

124. “It is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws.” ― George Washington

125. “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” ― Benjamin Franklin

126. “Let us with Caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.” ― George Washington

127. “The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.” ― Benjamin Franklin

128. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” ― James Madison

129. “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.” ― John Adams

130. “I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendency of one sect over another.” ― Thomas Jefferson

Founding Fathers Quotes About the Church

131. “The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.” — James Madison

132. “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men.” — Benjamin Franklin

133. “I looked around for God’s judgments, but saw no signs of them.” — Benjamin Franklin

134. “Creeds have been the bane of the Christian church … made of Christendom a slaughter-house.” — Thomas Jefferson

135. “Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.” — Thomas Paine

136. “I have sworn upon the altar of god.” — Thomas Jefferson

137. “The rights essential to happiness. . . . We claim them from a higher source – from the King of kings and Lord of all the earth.” — John Dickinson

138. “Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption.” — James Madison

139. “The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?” — John Adams

140. “Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.” — George Washington

What did you learn from these Founding Fathers’ Quotes?

The Founding Fathers’ quotes have formed and inspired a deep sense of love for country and fellowmen.

As they fought to unite 13 disparate colonies and write the Declaration of Independence that led to a military victory, the United States of America earned its name as a great country.

Their words are motivation to fight for freedom and equality and not let other powers take control of what should be ours.

If not for the Founding Fathers, America would not be the great country it is today and might have been still under the control of the British government.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Founding Fathers’ quotes and sayings?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Click to view
  1. Katelyn

    April 7, 2022 at 1:58 PM

    Thank you! These are so inspiring, insightful and important to read!

    • Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor

      May 2, 2022 at 12:23 PM

      You’re welcome! Thanks for the kind words!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *