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Quotations for Presidents Day

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The King's English



Not in vain has Lincoln lived, for he has helped to make this republic an example of justice, with no caste but the caste of humanity.  ~George Bancroft

His heart was as great as the world, but there was no room in it to hold the memory of a wrong.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

He is one of those giant figures, of whom there are very few in history, who lose their nationality in death.  ~David Lloyd George

Oh, wise physician of a wasted land!  ~Hermann Hagedorn

Would I might rouse the Lincoln in you all.  ~Vachel Lindsay

Mute though his lips be, yet they still speak.  Hushed is his voice, but its echoes of liberty are ringing through the world, and the sons of bondage listen with joy.  ~Matthew Simpson

The important thing today is not what we say of Lincoln but what Lincoln would say of us if he were here in this hour and could note the drift and tendency in American life and American politics.  ~Stephen Samuel Wise

Abraham Lincoln needs no marble shaft to perpetuate his name; his words are the most enduring monument, and will forever live in the hearts of the people.  ~Osborn H. Oldroyd

If you look at his portraits they always give you an indelible impression of his great height.  So does his life.  Height of purpose, height of ideal, height of character, height of intelligence.  ~David Lloyd George

Lincoln was not a type.  He stands alone - no ancestors, no fellows, no successors.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

His grave a nation's heart shall be,
His monument a people free!
~Caroline Atherton Mason

A faith like Lincoln's would transform the world!  ~James Oppenheim

He showed that fame may be won and what services be rendered by a plain son of the people unaided by any gifts of fortune.  ~James Bryce

In him was vindicated the greatness of real goodness and the goodness of real greatness.  ~Phillips Brooks

Humble birth did not retard his genius, nor high place corrupt his soul.  ~Cass Gilbert

He was one of the few great rulers whose wisdom increased with his power, and whose spirit grew gentler and tenderer as his triumphs were multiplied.  ~James A. Garfield

God and Nature together shaped him to lead in the van,
In the stress of her wildest weather when the Nation needed a Man.
~Margaret E. Sangster

His heart and his brain were utterly foreign to all vindictiveness or personal bitterness.  He declared himself hotly and strongly against wrong causes, but never against men.  ~London Spectator

His was the nation's sacrifice,
And ours the priceless gain.
~John Greenleaf Whittier

A statesman of the school of sound common sense, and a philanthropist of the most practical type, a patriot without a superior - his monument is a country preserved.  ~C.S. Harrington

Lincoln had faith in time, and time has justified his faith.  ~Benjamin Harrison

Nor all America can claim him now:
Forevermore he is Mankind's and God's.
~Reginald Wright Kauffman

He raised his hands, not to strike, but in benediction.  Lincoln was the grandest figure of the fiercest civil war.  He is the gentlest memory of our world.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Look on this cast, and know the hand
That bore a nation in its hold;
From this mute witness understand
What Lincoln was - how large of mould.
~E.C. Stedman

He was a common man expanded into giant proportions; well acquainted with the people, he placed his hand on the beating pulse of the nation, judged of its disease and was ready with a remedy.  ~Joshua Speed

One fire was on his spirit, one resolve -
To send the keen axe to the root of wrong,
Clearing a free way to the feet of God,
The eyes of conscience testing every stroke.
~Edwin Markham

His love shone as impartial as the sun.  ~Maurice Thompson

Abraham Lincoln is not dead.  Emancipated from the thraldom of time, he has stepped beyond the trammels of birth, and race, and state.  He lives in an epic all his own; in ever widening spiritual leadership; in the splendor of realized ideals; in inspiration to good citizenship and in multiplying memorials in literature and art, in progress and reform, in patriotism and philanthropy, in education and humanitarianism.  ~John Wesley Hill

A martyr to the cause of man,
His blood is freedom's eucharist,
And in the world's great hero list
His name shall lead the van.
~Charles G. Halpin

To him was given the duty and responsibility of making that great classic of liberty, the Declaration of Independence, no longer an empty promise, but a glorious fulfillment.  ~William McKinley

A type that nature wills to plan
But once in all a people's years.
~E.C. Stedman

Abraham Lincoln - the spirit incarnate of those who won victory in the Civil War - was the true representative of this people, not only for his own generation, but for all time, because he was a man among men.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

It was a very lonely spirit that looked out from underneath those shaggy brows and comprehended men without fully communing with them, as if in spite of all its genial efforts at comradeship, it dwelt apart, saw its visions of duty where no man looked on.  ~Woodrow Wilson

Hail, Lincoln! As the swift years lengthen
Still more majestic grows thy fame.
~Nathan Haskell Dole

This statesman was no conqueror, but his superiority consisted in his moral conquest; this President vanquished no foreign people, and his superiority lay in his self-constraint; this excellent judge of human nature cast a spell over nobody, yet is more fascinating than the shining victors of history.  ~Emil Ludwig

The qualities which caused him to be acclaimed the leader, he possessed when he was teaching school, and splitting rails, and reading law in a judge's musty office.  From the beginning he was a man among men who always upheld the right, advocated justice for the oppressed, and a square deal for all.  ~Frank Dorrance Hopley

Meseems I feel his presence.  Is he dead?
Death is a word.  He lives and grander grows.
~Maurice Thompson


Let him who looks for a monument to Washington look around the United States.  Your freedom, your independence, your national power, your prosperity, and your prodigious growth are a monument to him.  ~Louis Kossuth

If I were to characterize George Washington's feelings toward his country, I should be less inclined than most people to stress what is called Washington's love of his country.  What impresses me as far more important is what I should call Washington's respect for his country.  ~Randolph G. Adams

Then honor to the day that gave him birth,
For it is also Freedom's natal day.
~Arthur J. Burdick

George Washington is one of the beacons placed at intervals along the highroad of history.  ~Orestes Ferrara

More than all, and above all, Washington was master of himself.  ~Charles Francis Adams

His life was a hymn in praise of honor, uprightness, and patriotism.  ~Orestes Ferrara

Washington's is the mightiest name of earth - long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation.  On that name no eulogy is expected.  It cannot be.  To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible.  Let none attempt it.  In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor leave it shining on.  ~Abraham Lincoln

The prevailin' weakness of most public men is to Slop Over!.... G. Washington never slopt over.  ~Artemus Ward

He shaped and molded that office to the contours of his own heroic stature.  ~W.J. Cameron

Eternity alone can reveal to the human race its debt of gratitude to the peerless and immortal name of Washington.  ~James A. Garfield

Blot out from the page of history the names of all the great actors of his time in the drama of nations, and preserve the name of Washington, and the century would be renowned.  ~Chauncey M. Depew

This was the man God gave us when the hour
Proclaimed the dawn of Liberty begun.
~John Hall Ingham

Washington's appointments, when president, were made with a view to gather all the talent of the country in support of the national government; and he bore many things which were personally disagreeable in an endeavor to do this.  ~Paul Leicester Ford

Well hath he been called one of the architects of civilization.  ~Newell Dwight Hillis

The flower imperishable of this valiant age, -
A true American!
~Clinton Scollard

George Washington is the only president who didn't blame the previous administration for his troubles.  ~Author Unknown

He guided the passions of others, because he was master of his own.  ~Ebenezer Grant Marsh

One of the greatest captains of the age.  ~Benjamin Franklin

Great knightly soul who came in time to serve his country's need.  ~Margaret E. Sangster

I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him "father."  ~Will Rogers

Posterity will talk of Washington as the founder of a great empire, when my name shall be lost in the vortex of revolution.  ~Napoleon I

The great citizen, the first-born son of the New World.  ~Simón Bolívar

May it please Heaven that his example shall continue to serve as a beacon to our Republics in their darkest moments of doubt and adversity.  ~Jorge Ubico


I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.  ~George Washington

In executing the duties of my present important station, I can promise nothing but purity of intentions, and, in carrying these into effect, fidelity and diligence.  ~George Washington

I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.  ~George Washington

My movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution.  ~George Washington, letter, 1789

A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.  ~Thomas Jefferson

History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.  ~Thomas Jefferson

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.  ~Thomas Jefferson

There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.  ~Thomas Jefferson

It is error alone which needs the support of government.  Truth can stand by itself.  ~Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia

I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.  ~Thomas Jefferson

The tree of liberty must be ref