78 Wise Presidential Quotes from Past Presidents for this Election Year

As we are full swing into another election year, we can continue to learn from our leaders of the past with these presidential quotes. 

There are few things that seem to rile people up as much as talking about politics.

But whatever side of the political parties you tend to lean towards, it’s hard to deny that America is the greatest nation.

We’ve had some incredible leaders who have changed history in many ways. 

There is a lot that we can learn from past presidents as we prepare to vote in another election later this year.

Take a moment to read through the wise presidential quotes from our past leaders.

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

Our inspirational quote category page has even more inspirational and educational quotes.

Presidential Quotes By George Washington

1. “It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor.” – George Washington

2. “Be Americans. Let there be no sectionalism, no North, South, East or West. You are all dependent on one another and should be one in union. In one word, be a nation. Be Americans, and be true to yourselves.” – George Washington

3. “The future of this nation depends on the Christian training of our youth.” – George Washington

4. “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” – George Washington

5. “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God.” – George Washington

6. “The power under the Constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will be recalled.” – George Washington

7. “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” – George Washington

8. “Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy Holy Word…direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. Bless, O Lord, all the people of this land.” – George Washington

9. “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges…” – George Washington

10. “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” – George Washington

See more George Washington quotes celebrating America’s ideals.

Presidential Quotes By John Adams

11. “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams

12. “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” – John Adams

13. “It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them a habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.” – John Adams

14. “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” – John Adams

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15. “The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Adams

16. “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people, and must be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.” – John Adams

17. “Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.” – John Adams

18. “Mankind will in time discover that unbridled majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots.” – John Adams

19. “The date will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.” – John Adams

20. “There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” – John Adams

If you enjoy this article, check out our collection of Volodymyr Zelenskyy quotes from the Ukrainian president.

You will also enjoy our article on quotes about voting.

Presidential Quotes By Abraham Lincoln

21. “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

22. “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” – Abraham Lincoln

23. “By all means, don’t say, ‘if I can,’ say ‘I will.’” – Abraham Lincoln

24. “Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” – Abraham Lincoln

25. “Tell the truth and you won’t have so much to remember.” – Abraham Lincoln

26. “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.” – Abraham Lincoln

27. “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” – Abraham Lincoln

28. “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

29. “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” – Abraham Lincoln

30. “I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that his hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me – and I think He has – I believe I am ready.” – Abraham Lincoln

See more Abraham Lincoln quotes on life, education and freedom.

Presidential Quotes By Thomas Jefferson

31. “I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson

32. “Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

33. “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” – Thomas Jefferson

34. “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” – Thomas Jefferson

35. “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” – Thomas Jefferson

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If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of political quotes that show all perspectives.

36. “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

37. “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” – Thomas Jefferson

See more Thomas Jefferson quotes about revolution, freedom and education.

Presidential Quotes By Theodore Roosevelt

38. “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” – Theodore Roosevelt

39. “Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

40. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

41. “Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

42. “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt

See more Theodore Roosevelt quotes about leadership and success.

Presidential Quotes By James Madison

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

44. “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” – James Madison

45. “You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” – James Madison

46. “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” – James Madison

47. “Let me recommend the best medicine in the world a long journey at a mild season through a pleasant country in easy stages.” – James Madison

48. “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.” – James Madison

49. “In framing a government, which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” – James Madison

50. “The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.” – James Madison

Other presidential quotes

51. “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” – Theodore Roosevelt

52. “Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance.” – Suzy Kassem

53. “One of the most important qualities of a president is the ability to inspire, to bring people together for the common good.” – DaShanne Stokes

54. “Presidents are selected, not elected.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

55. “A president cannot defend a nation if he is not held accountable to its laws.” – DaShanne Stokes

56. “The most important thing you need to do in this job is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking.” – Barack Obama

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

58. “I’ll be damned if I am not getting tired of this. It seems to be the profession of a President simply to hear other people talk.” – William Howard Taft

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You may also enjoy reading these William McKinley quotes.

More presidential quotes that are full of wisdom

59. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” — Ronald Reagan

60. “Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

61. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” — Theodore Roosevelt

62. “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

63. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” — Thomas Jefferson

64. “A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.” — Richard M. Nixon

65. Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.” — Joe Biden

66. The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it.” — Woodrow Wilson

67. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.” — Jimmy Carter

68. “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” — Harry S Truman

Presidential Quotes To Improve The Nation

69. “We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.” — Jimmy Carter

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

71. “May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not.” — Millard Fillmore

72. “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” — John F. Kennedy

73. “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” — Theodore Roosevelt

74. “We must teach our children to resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons.” — William J. Clinton

75. “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend.” — Thomas Jefferson

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

77. “Peace is not made at the council table or by treaties, but in the hearts of men.” — Herbert Hoover

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

What did you learn from these presidential quotes?

Do you have a few favorite presidential quotes that stand out to you?

Our former leaders, especially the founding leaders of our country, helped set the platform that allowed America to become the greatest nation in the world. 

As we head towards another election it’s important to take a lesson from these leaders.

Use your vote carefully and choose a leader that you feel would fill the shoes well of our past leaders. 

And even if you can’t stand the thought of another election and don’t like politics, there are plenty of lessons that you can learn from these quotes and apply to your life. 

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

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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