VII.A. Inspiring Voices and Reflections on America

  1. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" - Martin Luther King Jr.
    1. "America is not just a country, it's an idea." - Bono
  2. "In God we trust."
  3. "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." - Benjamin Franklin
  4. “Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.” - Ronald Reagan
  5. "I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom." - Bob Dylan
  6. "I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit." - Theodore Roosevelt
  7. "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." - Harry S. Truman
  8. "In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
  9. "The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous." - Frederick Douglass
  10. "The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." - Theodore Roosevelt
  11. "The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults." - Alexis de Tocqueville
  12. "My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth." - Abraham Lincoln
  13. "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." - Ronald Reagan
  14. "Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy." - Margaret Thatcher
  15. "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America - there's the United States of America." - Barack Obama
  16. "Some day, following the example of the United States of America, there will be a United States of Europe." - George Washington
  17. "Now, as a nation, we don't promise equal outcomes, but we were founded on the idea everybody should have an equal opportunity to succeed. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you can make it. That's an essential promise of America. Where you start should not determine where you end up." - Barack Obama
  18. "What's right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity - intellect and resources - to do some thing about them." - Henry Ford
  19. "We will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
  20. "Radical changes in world politics leave America with a heightened responsibility to be, for the world, an example of a genuinely free, democratic, just and humane society." - Pope John Paul II
  21. "A free America... means just this: individual freedom for all, rich or poor, or else this system of government we call democracy is only an expedient to enslave man to the machine and make him like it." - Frank Lloyd Wright
  22. "Touring a segregated America - forever being stopped and harassed by white cops hurt you most 'cos you don't realise the damage. You hold it in. You feel empty, like someone reached in and pulled out your guts. You feel hurt and dirty, less than a person." - B.B. King
  23. "America, to me, is freedom." - Willie Nelson
  24. "The burdens of generations of poverty and powerlessness lie heavy in the fields of America. If we fail, there are those who will see violence as the shortcut to change." - Cesar Chavez
  25. "I like America, just as everybody else does. I love America, I gotta say that. But America will be judged." - Bob Dylan
  26. "America is not anything if it consists of each of us. It is something only if it consists of all of us." - Woodrow Wilson
  27. "There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle." - Alexis de Tocqueville
  28. "Building a better you is the first step to building a better America." - Zig Ziglar
  29. "I report to you that our country is challenged at home and abroad: that it is our will that is being tried and not our strength; our sense of purpose and not our ability to achieve a better America." - Lyndon B. Johnson
  30. "There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure." - Dwight D. Eisenhower
  31. "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
  32. "I look forward to a great future for America - a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose." - John F. Kennedy
  33. "Since belief determines behavior, doesn't it make sense that we should be teaching ethical, moral values in every home and in every school in America?" - Zig Ziglar
  34. "America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal - to discover and maintain liberty among men." - Woodrow Wilson
  35. "The world knows that America will never start a war. This generation of Americans has had enough of war and hate... we want to build a world of peace where the weak are secure and the strong are just." - John F. Kennedy
  36. "The men who have guided the destiny of the United States have found the strength for their tasks by going to their knees. This private unity of public men and their God is an enduring source of reassurance for the people of America." - Lyndon B. Johnson
  37. "In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it." - Barack Obama
  38. "You cannot separate peace and freedom. Because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom." - Malcom X
  39. "Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy. And I say this with assurance, because human rights is the soul of our sense of nationhood." - Jimmy Carter
  40. "I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom." - Martin Luther King Jr.
  41. "Down through history, there have been many revolutions, but virtually all of them only exchanged one set of rulers for another set of rulers. Ours was the only truly philosophical revolution. It declared that government would have only those powers granted to it by the people." - Ronald Reagan
  42. "True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and goodwill, and a constant striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded." - Eleanor Roosevelt
  43. "Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation." - Coretta Scott King
  44. "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
  45. "We're blessed with the opportunity to stand for something - for liberty and freedom and fairness. And these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to." - Ronald Reagan
  46. "America is a tune. It must be sung together." - Gerald Stanley Lee
  47. "Our responsibility as citizens is to address the inequalities and injustices that linger, and we must secure our birthright freedoms for all people." - Barack Obama
  48. "Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
  49. "The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources--because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples." - Lyndon B. Johnson
  50. "I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong." - George Washington
  51. "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - President Dwight D. Eisenhower
  52. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." - President Thomas Jefferson
  53. "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." - Abraham Lincoln
  54. "The Constitution only guarantees you the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." - Benjamin Franklin
  55. "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison
  56. "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
  57. "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." - Ronald Reagan
  58. "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." - George Washington
  59. "I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free... so other people would be also free." - Rosa Parks
  60. "If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary." - Malcolm X
  61. "If we mean to support the liberty and independence which have cost us so much blood and treasure to establish, we must drive far away the demon of party spirit and local reproach." - George Washington
  62. "The historic glory of America lies in the fact that it is the one nation that was founded like a church. That is, it was founded on a faith that was not merely summed up after it had existed; it was defined before it existed." - G.K. Chesterton
  63. "Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first happen in the heart of America." - Dwight D. Eisenhower
  64. "Our country is still young and its potential is still enormous. We should remember, as we look toward the future, that the more fully we believe in and achieve freedom and equal opportunity-not simply for ourselves but for others-the greater our accomplishments as a nation will be." - Henry Ford
  65. "Of all the countries in the world, America is that in which the spread of ideas and of human industry is the most continual and most rapid." - Alexis de Tocqueville
  66. “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” - Patrick Henry
  67. “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” - Samuel Adams
  68. “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Benjamin Franklin
  69. “This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” - Abraham Lincoln
  70. “Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” - John Quincy Adams
  71. "My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!" - Thomas Jefferson
  72. "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." - Alexis de Tocqueville
  73. You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done." - Ronald Reagan
  74. "As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality." - George Washington
  75. "From every mountainside, let freedom ring." - Martin Luther King Jr.
  76. "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." - James Madison
  77. "Liberty means responsibility. that is why most men dread it." - George Bernard Shaw
  78. "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit." - Kahlil Gibran
  79. "Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all." - George Washington
  80. “Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  81. “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  82. “We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.” – Barack Obama
  83. "My dream is that as the years go on... that America will come into the full light of the day when all shall know that she puts human rights above all other rights and that her flag is the flag not only of America but of humanity. What other great people has devoted itself to this exalted ideal?" - Woodrow Wilson
  84. "The cement of this union is in the heart blood of every American. I do not believe there is on earth a government established on so immovable a basis." - Thomas Jefferson
  85. "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..." - Constitution of the United States of America
  86. "Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable!" - Daniel Webster
  87. "As Americans, we feel that we've lost our way, that we don't know where we are going - if anywhere. I agree - but I still feel that the diagnosis is curious, for the fact is, of course, that we have a national purpose - the most precisely articulated national purpose in recorded history. Not only is it a famous statement of purpose: it is also an admirable statement of purpose. Prior to July 4, 1776, the national purpose of nations had been to dominate... The American national purpose was the opposite: to liberate from domination; to set men free. All men are created equal. All men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We not only have a national purpose; we have one of such aspiration, such potentiality, such power of hope that we refer to it — or used to — as the American Dream." - Archibald MacLeish
  88. "As we reflect on our history, we must acknowledge the unfortunate chapters of violence, discrimination, and deprivation that went on for far too long, as well as the effects of injustices that continue to be felt." - Barack Obama
  89. "Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood — the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life." - Theodore Roosevelt
  90. "The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation, and the duty laid upon us by that beginning is the duty of bringing the things then begun to a noble triumph of completion." - Woodrow Wilson
  91. "The American Revolution was the birth of a nation; it was the creation of a great free republic based upon traditions of personal liberty which theretofore had been confined to a single little island, but which it was purposed should spread to all mankind. And the singular fascination of American history is that it has been a process of constant re-creation, of making over again in each generation the thing which was conceived at first." - Woodrow Wilson
  92. "America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and a moral fact — the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality. And we love it for this audacity!" ~Adlai Stevenson
  93. "America is the land of dreamers and doers, where the tomorrows give promise and strength to those who dare to look ahead, work and have faith." - Rock Island Lines
  94. "I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man." - Sun Brea, Chippewa
  95. "We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can't speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees." - Qwatsinas, Nuxalk Nation
  96. "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value." - Theodore Roosevelt
  97. "If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace... Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it." - White Elk
  98. "America is great because America is good. If America ever stops being good, she will stop being great." - Alexis de Tocqueville
  99. "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." - John Adams
  100. "Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
  101. "The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach. We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer. We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking!" - Franklin D. Roosevelt
  102. Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."" - Thomas Jefferson
  103. "We defend and we build a way of life, not for America alone, but for all mankind." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
  104. "We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
  105. "Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech." - Benjamin Franklin
  106. "Man is not made for the State but the State for man and it derives its just powers only from the consent of the governed." - Thomas Jefferson (attributed)
  107. "One country, one Constitution, one destiny." - Daniel Webster
  108. "Union, Justice, Tolerance, Liberty, Peace." - Rostrum of House Chamber
  109. "E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one."
  110. "I intend no modification to my personally expressed wish that all men everywhere could be free." - Abraham Lincoln
  111. "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect teh house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other." - Abraham Lincoln
  112. "Justice in the life and conduct of the state is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens" - Plato, inscription in Washington D.C.
  113. "The place of justice is a hallowed place." - inscription, Washington D.C.

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