George Washington Quotes

Quotes tagged as "george-washington" Showing 1-30 of 36
Thomas Jefferson
“When the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never on any occasion said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so. However [Dr. Rush] observed the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice... I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his secrets & believed himself to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system than he himself did.

{The Anas, February 1, 1800, written shortly after the death of first US president George Washington}”
Thomas Jefferson, The Complete Anas of Thomas Jefferson

George Washington
“Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly, than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank among the Nations; The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment... have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society. At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.

[Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 - Writings 26:484--89]”
George Washington, Writings

Thomas A. Edison
Tom Paine has almost no influence on present-day thinking in the United States because he is unknown to the average citizen. Perhaps I might say right here that this is a national loss and a deplorable lack of understanding concerning the man who first proposed and first wrote those impressive words, 'the United States of America.'

But it is hardly strange.

Paine's teachings have been debarred from schools everywhere and his views of life misrepresented until his memory is hidden in shadows, or he is looked upon as of unsound mind.

We never had a sounder intelligence in this Republic. He was the equal of Washington in making American liberty possible. Where Washington performed Paine devised and wrote. The deeds of one in the Weld were matched by the deeds of the other with his pen.

Washington himself appreciated Paine at his true worth. Franklin knew him for a great patriot and clear thinker. He was a friend and confidant of Jefferson, and the two must often have debated the academic and practical phases of liberty.

I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles. Although the present generation knows little of Paine's writings, and although he has almost no influence upon contemporary thought, Americans of the future will justly appraise his work. I am certain of it.

Truth is governed by natural laws and cannot be denied. Paine spoke truth with a peculiarly clear and forceful ring. Therefore time must balance the scales. The Declaration and the Constitution expressed in form Paine's theory of political rights. He worked in Philadelphia at the time that the first document was written, and occupied a position of intimate contact with the nation's leaders when they framed the Constitution.

Certainly we may believe that Washington had a considerable voice in the Constitution. We know that Jefferson had much to do with the document. Franklin also had a hand and probably was responsible in even larger measure for the Declaration. But all of these men had communed with Paine. Their views were intimately understood and closely correlated. There is no doubt whatever that the two great documents of American liberty reflect the philosophy of Paine.

...Then Paine wrote 'Common Sense,' an anonymous tract which immediately stirred the fires of liberty. It flashed from hand to hand throughout the Colonies. One copy reached the New York Assembly, in session at Albany, and a night meeting was voted to answer this unknown writer with his clarion call to liberty. The Assembly met, but could find no suitable answer. Tom Paine had inscribed a document which never has been answered adversely, and never can be, so long as man esteems his priceless possession.

In 'Common Sense' Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again. It must be remembered that 'Common Sense' preceded the declaration and affirmed the very principles that went into the national doctrine of liberty. But that affirmation was made with more vigor, more of the fire of the patriot and was exactly suited to the hour... Certainly [the Revolution] could not be forestalled, once he had spoken.

{The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}”
Thomas Edison, Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Raphael paints wisdom, Handel sings it, Phidias carves it, Shakespeare writes it, Wren builds it, Columbus sails it, Luther preaches it, Washington arms it, Watt mechanizes it.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

E.A. Bucchianeri
“(The Mona Lisa), that really is the ugliest portrait I’ve seen, the only thing that supposedly makes it famous is the mystery behind it,” Katherine admitted as she remembered her trips to the Louvre and how she shook her head at the poor tourists crowding around to see a jaundiced, eyebrow-less lady that reminded her of tight-lipped Washington on the dollar bill. Surely, they could have chosen a better portrait of the First President for their currency?”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly,

George Washington
“Saya harap, saya selalu memiliki cukup keteguhan dan cukup kebajikan untuk memelihara gelar yang saya anggap paling mengagumkan, yaitu watak sebagai orang jujur.”
George Washington

Moncure Daniel Conway
Washington, like most scholarly Virginians of his time, was a Deist... Contemporary evidence shows that in mature life Washington was a Deist, and did not commune, which is quite consistent with his being a vestryman. In England, where vestries have secular functions, it is not unusual for Unitarians to vestrymen, there being no doctrinal subscription required for that office. Washington's letters during the Revolution occasionally indicate his recognition of the hand of Providence in notable public events, but in the thousands of his letters I have never been able to find the name of Christ or any reference to him.

{Conway was employed to edit Washington's letters}”
Moncure D. Conway

George Washington
“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
George Washington, Writings

“: “[George] Washington possessed the superb self-confidence that comes only to those men whose inner life is faint.”
William E. Woodward

Moncure Daniel Conway
“In editing a volume of Washington's private letters for the Long Island Historical Society, I have been much impressed by indications that this great historic personality represented the Liberal religious tendency of his time. That tendency was to respect religious organizations as part of the social order, which required some minister to visit the sick, bury the dead, and perform marriages. It was considered in nowise inconsistent with disbelief of the clergyman's doctrines to contribute to his support, or even to be a vestryman in his church.

In his many letters to his adopted nephew and younger relatives, he admonishes them about their manners and morals, but in no case have I been able to discover any suggestion that they should read the Bible, keep the Sabbath, go to church, or any warning against Infidelity.

Washington had in his library the writings of Paine, Priestley, Voltaire, Frederick the Great, and other heretical works.

[The Religion of Washington]”
Moncure D. Conway

Timothy Ballard
“After taking his oath, Washington would give his first inaugural address. What would he say? What message would he need his countrymen to understand? Considering the eight-year war we have just finished analyzing we would assume he would fall back on the national covenant. He would not forget who or what had brought him to this point. 'It would be peculiarly improper,' the new president declared, 'to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States.'

He then got to the core of his message, invoking the covenant relationship with God in no uncertain terms: 'We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.'
(Quoted from "Washington's Inaugural Address of 1780.")”
Timothy Ballard, The Washington Hypothesis

“We must have a permanent force, not a force that is constantly fluctuating and sliding from under us as a pedestal of ice would do from a statue on a summer's day, involving us in expense that baffles all calculation - an expense which no funds are equal to.
-George Washington”
Editors of Boston Publishing, Great Americans in Their Own Words

Ron Chernow
“George Washington possessed the gift of inspired simplicity, a clarity and purity of vision that never failed him. Whatever petty partisan disputes swirled around him, he kept his eyes fixed on the transcendent goals that motivated his quest. As sensitive to criticism as any other man, he never allowed personal attacks or threats to distract him, following an inner compass that charted the way ahead. For a quarter century, he had stuck to an undeviating path that led straight to the creation of an independent republic, the enactment of the constitution and the formation of the federal government. History records few examples of a leader who so earnestly wanted to do the right thing, not just for himself but for his country. Avoiding moral shortcuts, he consistently upheld such high ethical standards that he seemed larger than any other figure on the political scene. Again and again, the American people had entrusted him with power, secure in the knowledge that he would exercise it fairly and ably and surrender it when his term of office was up. He had shown that the president and commander-in-chief of a republic could possess a grandeur surpassing that of all the crowned heads of Europe. He brought maturity, sobriety, judgement and integrity to a political experiment that could easily have grown giddy with its own vaunted success and he avoided the back biting envy and intrigue that detracted from the achievements of other founders. He had indeed been the indispensable man of the american revolution.”
Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life

George Washington
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
George Washington

George Washington
“Arbitrary power [tyranny, dictatorship] is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness [lawlessness, anarchy]." — George Washington”
George Washington

“There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily." — George Washington, 31 July 1795”
George Washinton

Jill Lepore
“Washington's Farewell Address consists of a series of warnings about the danger of disunion. The North and the South, the East and the West, ought not to consider their interests separate or competing, Washington urged, "your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty."

Parties, he warned, were the "worst enemy" of every government, agitating "the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms," kindling "the animosity of one part against another," and even fomenting "riot and insurrection".

As to the size of the Republic, "Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it." The American experiment must go on. But it could only thrive if the citizens were supported by religion and morality, and if they were well educated.

"Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge," he urged. "In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that the public opinion should be enlightened.”
Jill Lepore, These Truths : A History of the United States

John P. Avlon
“The heirs of Jefferson and Madison would be the Democratic-Republicans, the heirs of Hamilton and Adams would be the Federalists. But the heirs of Washington would be all Americans.”
John P. Avlon

Ron Chernow
“I can bear to hear of imputed or real errors. The man who wishes to stand well in the opinion of others must do this, because he is thereby enabled to correct his faults or remove the prejudices which are imbibed against him.”
Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life

“President George Washington’s namesake capital, once a marketplace for slave auctions, is now synonymous with democracy and freedom; so is the iconic Jefferson, who wanted to build an “Empire of Liberty” for the world.”
Patrick Mendis, Peaceful War: How the Chinese Dream and the American Destiny Create a New Pacific World Order

Julia Glass
“Bet you did not know that in Mexico they call a Palomino an Isabella. Or that George Washington's warhorse was an Arab named Magnolia. I sure as hell did not. Hey, Magnolia! Takes a mighty secure man to ride a horse into battle with a name like that; well, to ride a horse into battle at all.”
Julia Glass, The Whole World Over

Frank O'Hara
“Dear father of our country, so alive
you must have lied incessantly to be
immediate, here are your bones crossed
on my breast like a rusty flintlock,
a pirate's flag, bravely specific

and ever so light in the misty glare
of a crossing by water in winter to a shore
other than that the bridge reaches for.
Don't shoot until, the white of freedom glinting
on your gun barrel, you see the general fear.”
Frank O'Hara, Meditations in an Emergency

Deborah Harkness
“God didn't give the General sons of his own. I reckon that's why He gave Washington an army - so that he could be father to us all.”
Deborah Harkness, Time's Convert

Susan Wise Bauer
“And who would be willing to travel through hundreds of miles of wilderness, risking capture, carrying a letter telling the French to retreat? A young Virginian volunteered. George Washington, only twenty-one years old... found a wilderness guide and a translator to accompany him and set off...”
Susan Wise Bauer, Early Modern Times: From Elizabeth the First to the Forty-Niners

“The United States was not alone, however, in showing Washington due respect. Time had so changed that the British admiral made the sixty men-of-war off the English coast fly their flags at half-mast, for the very man whom his country had once wished to hang. In France, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered public mourning for ten days; for Washington's name was known and honored everywhere.”
Hélène A. Guerber, The Story of the Americans

“For George Washington, the very act he signed into being haunted him until death. Ona Judge, a twenty-two-year-old enslaved woman, owned by Washington, ran away from his household in the summer of 1793, when Washington signed the nation's most powerful Fugitive Slave Act. Washington immediately placed an ad for her recapture, and insinuated in the ad that he did not know what provocation caused Judge to run away. He seemed to not imagine that a human being held in lifelong bondage might desire freedom, especially from his plantation. Ona Judge remained in the free state of New Hampshire as a fugitive from slavery until her death in 1848.”
Deirdre Cooper Owens, Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

George Washington
“Lay waste all the settlements around... that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed ... listen to any overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements is effected.”
George Washington

Mary Calvi
“She loved the way he touched her without even touching her.”
Mary Calvi, Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington's First Love

Mary Calvi
“His lips were calling her to where warm kisses play.”
Mary Calvi, Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington's First Love

Alexander Rose
“And therefore I ordered him to be instantly hanged.”
Alexander Rose, Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring

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