The Presidents Speak

quotationsaturdayMamacita says:  For Presidents’ Day, I thought I’d feature a quotation from each of our presidents.  No matter what our personal opinion of a president might be, he is the leader of our nation and the position, if not the person, deserves some respect.

It’s not Saturday, but let’s dive into some presidential quotations!

1.  To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. — George Washington (1789–1797)

2. I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessing on this house (the White House) and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof! — John Adams (1797–1801)

3. That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves. — Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809)

4. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. — James Madison (1809–1817)

5. It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. — James Monroe (1817–1825)

6. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. — John Quincy Adams (1825–1829)

7. As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending. — Andrew Jackson (1829–1837)

8. The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity. — Martin Van Buren (1837–1841)

9. A decent and manly examination of the acts of the Government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged. — William Henry Harrison (1841)

10. Let it be henceforth proclaimed to the world that man’s conscience was created free; that he is no longer accountable to his fellow man for his religious opinions, being responsible therefore only to his God. — John Tyler (1841–1845)

11. No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure. — James Knox Polk (1845–1849)

12. I have no private purpose to accomplish, no party objectives to build up, no enemies to punish—nothing to serve but my country. — Zachary Taylor (1849–1850 )

13. May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not. — Millard Fillmore (1850–1853)

14. The dangers of a concentration of all power in the general government of a confederacy so vast as ours are too obvious to be disregarded. — Franklin Pierce (1853–1857)

15. I like the noise of democracy. — James Buchanan (1857–1861)

16. America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. — Abraham Lincoln (1861–1865)

17. If the rabble were lopped off at one end and the aristocrat at the other, all would be well with the country. — Andrew Johnson (1865–1869)

18. Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate. — Ulysses S. Grant (1869–1877)

19. It is now true that this is God’s Country, if equal rights—a fair start and an equal chance in the race of life — are everywhere secured to all. — Rutherford B. Hayes (1877–1881)

20. Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained. — James A. Garfield (1881)

21. I may be president of the United States, but my private life is nobody’s damned business. — Chester A. Arthur (1881–1885)

22. It is the responsibility of the citizens to support their government. It is not the responsibility of the government to support its citizens. — Stephen Grover Cleveland (1885–1889)

23. We Americans have no commission from God to police the world. — Benjamin Harrison — (1889–1893)

24. Officeholders are the agents of the people, not their masters. — Grover Cleveland (1893-1897)

25. Unlike any other nation, here the people rule, and their will is the supreme law. It is sometimes sneeringly said by those who do not like free government, that here we count heads. True, heads are counted, but brains also . . . — William McKinley (1897–1901)

26. The only man who makes no mistake is the man who does nothing. — Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909)

27. Politics, when I am in it, makes me sick. — William Howard Taft (1909–1913)

28. If you want to make enemies, try to change something. — Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921)

29. Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little. — Warren G. Harding (1921–1923)

30. Character is the only secure foundation of the state. John Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929)

31. Absolute freedom of the press to discuss public questions is a foundation stone of American liberty. — Herbert Clark Hoover (1929–1933)

32. Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. — Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933–1945)

33. We need not fear the expression of ideas—we do need to fear their suppression. — Harry S. Truman (1945–1953)

34. There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure. — Dwight David Eisenhower (1953–1961)

35. If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. — John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1961–1963)

36. You ain’t learnin’ nothin’ when you’re talkin’. — Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963–1969)

37. Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you. Those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself. — Richard Milhous Nixon (1969–1974)

38. A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. — Gerald Rudolph Ford (1974–1977)

39. We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles. — James Earl Carter, Jr. (1977–1981)

40. We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And that makes us special among the nations of the earth. — Ronald Wilson Reagan (1981–1989)

41. The United States is the best and fairest and most decent nation on the face of the earth. — George Herbert Walker Bush (1989–1993)

42. There is nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed with what is right in America. — William Jefferson Clinton (1993–2001)

43. Recognizing and confronting our history is important. Transcending our history is essential. We are not limited by what we have done, or what we have left undone. We are limited only by what we are willing to do. — George Walker Bush (2001-2009)

44. My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington. — Barack Obama (2009 – present)

Now, here are some trivia questions for you and your students:

Obama, our 44th president, is actually our 43rd president.  Why?

Kennedy, at 43,  was our youngest elected president, and the oldest was Reagan, who was 69. However, Kennedy was not our youngest president; who was?

Assassination attempts were made on nine presidents, but only four attempts were successful.  Which presidents were were actually assassinated, and which presidents survived the attempt?

Four presidents died in office, besides those who were assassinated.  Can you name them?

For which president’s wife was the term “First Lady” first used?

Has the U.S. ever had an unmarried president?

How many divorced presidents have we had?

What president was not elected by the people?

Have we ever had a president who was not a U.S. citizen?

Several 19th century presidents were not college graduates, but were there any 20th century presidents who never attended any college?

Let’s talk height:  Lincoln was tallest at 6’4″, and Madison was the shortest at 5’4″.

How many of our presidents had also been vice president?

How many presidential wives gave birth while living in the White House?

We assume that most deceased presidents are buried in Arlington Cemetery.  How many presidents are buried there?

Only one president was elected unanimously.  Who was it?

Who was the first White House bride?

James Madison was the first president to wear a certain type of clothing.  What was he the first president to wear?

Which president liked to go skinnydipping in the Potomac River? (He was also the first president to be photographed!)

Which president and first lady always spoke Dutch at home?

The first vice president to become president upon the death of a president never made an inaugural address, and never ran for that office.  He also had the most children – 15!  This presidents second wife started the tradition of playing “Hail to the Chief” whenever a president appeared. Which president was he?

Which president’s wife hosted the first annual White House Thanksgiving dinner?

Who was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House?

Which president’s wife taught him to read and write?

Which president held the first annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn?

Which president liked to answer the White House phone himself?

After the White House was wired for electricity, which president was afraid to use it?

The first president to campaign by telephone was also the first president to ride in an automobile. Who was he?

What was the original name of the White House?

Who was the first president to own a car?

Who put a flock of sheep on the White House lawn, and sold the wool to make money for the Red Cross?  He was also our first president to earn a PhD.

Which president wore size 14 shoes?

Which president donated his salary to charity and approved “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem?

Which president served his entire presidency without the use of his legs?

Which president was first to travel in a submarine and first to give a televised speech?  He used to get up at dawn to practice the piano for two hours.

Which president, while playing football at West Point, was injured when he tried to tackle Jim Thorpe?

Which president once worked as a fashion model and a Yellowstone park ranger?

This speed-reading president was the first president born in a hospital. Who was he?

Who was our first Rhodes Scholar president?

Who is our only president to have won a Grammy Award?

18 presidents never served in Congress.  Who are they? Eight of our presidents have been left-handed.  Which ones?

Fourteen presidents were once vice presidents.  Name them.




The Presidents Speak — 4 Comments

  1. Cleveland served 2 terms non-consecutively, so he was number 22 and 24, and that’s why Obama is our 43rd president.

    Ford was not elected to be vice-president or president.

    We did have one bachelor president, but I forget which one (Garfield would be my guess, but I can’t say for sure).

    I’m guessing George Washington was elected unanimously.

    FDR served without the use of his legs. I didn’t know it was all four terms, tho’.

    I would guess it was Reagan who tried to tackle Jim Thorpe, but that’s a total guess, based on picture I’ve seen of Reagan wearing football gear.

  2. Cleveland served 2 terms non-consecutively, so he was number 22 and 24, and that’s why Obama is our 43rd president.

    Ford was not elected to be vice-president or president.

    We did have one bachelor president, but I forget which one (Garfield would be my guess, but I can’t say for sure).

    I’m guessing George Washington was elected unanimously.

    FDR served without the use of his legs. I didn’t know it was all four terms, tho’.

    I would guess it was Reagan who tried to tackle Jim Thorpe, but that’s a total guess, based on picture I’ve seen of Reagan wearing football gear.

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