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  • 101 Great Presidential Quotes

       June 26, 2005

    In the spirit of the endless AFI lists, I thought I'd put together a list of my 101 favorite Presidential quotes. Note that these quotes aren't necessarily from when the individual was President, but rather something they said (or wrote) throughout their lifetime.

    I'd tried to pick some that are inspirational, some that are practical, some that are topical and some that are just plain goofy. The top five quotees are:

    1. Ronald Reagan with 16 quotes
    2. Thomas Jefferson with 10
    3. Theodore Roosevelt with 9
    4. Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower with 8 each

    Let the listing commence:

    101. I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times.
    -Jimmy Carter

    100. I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. I am President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.
    -George H. W. Bush

    99. Give me a one-handed economist! All my economics say, ''On the one hand… on the other.''
    -Harry Truman

    98. Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.
    -John F. Kennedy

    97. Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.
    -Woodrow Wilson

    96. Boys, I may not know much, but I know chicken shit from chicken salad.
    -Lyndon Johnson

    95. For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that is sleeping in the unplowed ground.
    -Lyndon Johnson

    94. It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquillity and occupation which give happiness.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    93. A radical is a man with both feet firmly planted in the air.
    -Franklin Roosevelt

    92. Don't foul, don't flinch. Hit the line hard.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    91. There is no victory at bargain basement prices.
    -Dwight Eisenhower

    90. We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.
    -Ronald Reagan

    89. If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that 9 will run into the ditch before they reach you.
    -Calvin Coolidge

    88. If you want to make enemies, try to change something.
    -Woodrow Wilson

    87. History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
    -Dwight Eisenhower

    86. If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together.
    -Richard Nixon

    85. How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
    -Ronald Reagan

    84. No one ever listened themselves out of a job.
    -Calvin Coolidge

    83. In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
    -Dwight Eisenhower

    82. Yet we can maintain a free society only if we recognize that in a free society no one can win all the time. No one can have his own way all the time, and no one is right all the time.
    -Richard Nixon

    81. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
    -John F. Kennedy

    80. Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that to-day is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity.
    -William Taft

    79. There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit.
    -Ronald Reagan

    78. For of those to whom much is given, much is required.
    -John F. Kennedy

    77. There is nothing wrong in America that can't be fixed with what is right in America.
    -Bill Clinton

    76. The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest.
    -Ronald Reagan

    75. Pessimism never won any battle.
    -Dwight Eisenhower

    74. When they call the roll in the Senate, the senators do not know whether to answer ''present'' or ''not guilty.''
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    73. Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
    -George Washington

    72. The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    71. There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.
    -John Adams

    70. We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    69. We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions -- by abandoning every value except the will to power -- they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies
    -George W. Bush

    68. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    67. Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world.
    -Woodrow Wilson

    66. Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.
    -Ronald Reagan

    65. Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth.
    -George Washington

    64. To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    63. There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.
    -Ronald Reagan

    62. I not only use all the brains I have but all I can borrow.
    -Woodrow Wilson

    61. The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    60. As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    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, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
    -Ronald Reagan

    58. 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 Eisenhower

    57. In politics the middle way is none at all.
    -John Adams

    56. No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!
    -Ronald Reagan

    55. Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
    -John Adams

    54. Towering genius disdains a beaten path.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    53. In matters of principals, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    52. 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

    51. No man needs sympathy because he has to work. Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    Oh, we're halfway there. Oh! Oh! Living on a prayer. I hope you enjoyed that short musical interlude. Now it's time for the top 50.

    50. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    49. My country owes me nothing. It gave me, as it gives every boy and girl, a chance.
    -Herbert Hoover

    48. Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    47. Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.
    -Calvin Coolidge

    46. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.
    -Dwight Eisenhower

    45. The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.
    -Ronald Reagan

    44. Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.
    -Calvin Coolidge

    43. I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.
    -John Adams

    42. Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    41. What I do say is that no man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    40. The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'
    -Ronald Reagan

    39. Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race.
    -William Taft

    38. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    37. 9 times out of 10 the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and be compelled to sink or swim.
    -James Garfield

    36. Were we to be directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    35. You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    34. How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?
    -Harry Truman

    33. When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike you, do not wait until he has struck before you crush him.
    -Franklin Roosevelt

    32. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
    -John F. Kennedy

    31. Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.
    -Ronald Reagan

    30. The sky is no longer the limit.
    -Richard Nixon

    29. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    28. Government is not reason and it is not eloquence. It is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
    -George Washington

    27. I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: ''Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.'' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have.
    -Harry Truman

    26. How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    Still with me? Here's the top 25.

    25. Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.
    -Calvin Coolidge

    24. I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
    -George W. Bush

    23. I've often said there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.
    -Ronald Reagan

    22. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
    -Ronald Reagan

    21. I have found out in later years that my family was very poor, but the glory of America is that we didn't know it.
    -Dwight Eisenhower

    20. No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    19. Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us; to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    18. Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
    -John Quincy Adams

    17. It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    -Andrew Jackson

    16. The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
    -Ronald Reagan

    15. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
    -Franklin Roosevelt

    14. You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American.
    -Woodrow Wilson

    13. The buck stops here.
    -Harry Truman

    12. Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    11. Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    10. Man is not free unless government is limited.... As government expands, liberty contracts
    -Ronald Reagan

    9. What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog.
    -Dwight Eisenhower

    8. The business of America is business and the chief ideal of the American people is idealism.
    -Calvin Coolidge

    7. One man with courage makes a majority.
    -Andrew Jackson

    6. America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.
    -Woodrow Wilson

    5. In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
    -Theodore Roosevelt

    4. We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.
    -Franklin Roosevelt

    3. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.
    -John F. Kennedy

    2. Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
    -Ronald Reagan

    1. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Let the criticisms begin...


    Posted by at June 26, 2005 08:22 PM

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    Comments

    #  June 26th, 2005 9:30 PM      Daddy
    Kris....thanks.

    Excellent post.  
     
    #  June 27th, 2005 5:46 PM      james
    top 5 underrated quotes on kris' list:

    1. 26. How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
    -Abraham Lincoln

    2. 81. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
    -John F. Kennedy

    3. 85. How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
    -Ronald Reagan

    4. 66. Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.
    -Ronald Reagan

    5. 27. I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: ''Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.'' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have.
    -Harry Truman

    5.5. 38. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
    -Theodore Roosevelt
     
     
    #  June 27th, 2005 6:46 PM      kris
    You chose three of the quotes that I really loved, and that I hadn't heard before (Truman, Lincoln and Reagan #66)

    I wouldn't read too much into the specific rankings. Other than the first few and the last few, I can't say that I was that precise with where I placed them.  
     
    #  June 27th, 2005 7:30 PM      james
    oh, i was just criticizing as requested.

    and stimulating discussion.  
     

     

     


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