15 Presidents Day Quotes To Inspire You, From George Washington To Barack Obama To Grover Cleveland

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Hopefully you'll have had enough time to recover from your Valentine's Day activities over the weekend, but if not, you're in luck — Monday is Presidents Day! And while it’s definitely a much-deserved day off, Presidents Day is also a great opportunity to reflect on some of our presidents' most powerful quotes (and our most powerful First Ladies, if you’re so inclined). You probably know the classic “Speak softly and carry a big stick” from your school days, but our Founding Fathers and their successors also had a lot to say about diversity, taking chances, and the American Dream.

Presidents Day, sometimes called Washington’s Birthday since the holiday was originally celebrated on George Washington’s actual birthday, was the first federal holiday that spotlighted an individual’s birth date. Post-1970s, the holiday is seen as a day to celebrate all of America’s presidents, past and present. And love them or hate them, these men are worthy of respect and deserving of being remembered — for better or worse (or in strange fiction novels).

Many of our presidents lived through and dealt with many of the same base crisis we’re still dealing with today — war, racism, corruption, and technological and ideological shifts — and their words have just as much meaning today as when they first said them.

1. “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

2. “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.” —  Abraham Lincoln

3. "We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it." — Barack Obama

4. “I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.” — Woodrow Wilson

5. "If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity." — John F. Kennedy

6. “When we make college more affordable, we make the American dream more achievable.” — Bill Clinton

7. "The only man who makes no mistake is the man who does nothing." — Theodore Roosevelt

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

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

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

11. "Absolute freedom of the press to discuss public questions is a foundation stone of American liberty." — Herbert Hoover

12. "A man is known by the company he keeps, and also by the company from which he is kept out." — Grover Cleveland

13. "That's all a man can hope for during his lifetime — to set an example — and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history." — William McKinley

14. "It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't." — Martin Van Buren

15. "Truth is the glue that holds governments together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go." — Gerald Ford

Images: WikiCommons (15)