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In the spirit of President’s Day, I thought it would be fun to get inspiration from each of our 45 U.S. Presidents.

In all fairness, I could not spontaneously name all the presidents in order- how about you? So, not only was this a fun exercise in finding motivating quotes from our country’s leaders, but also a good lesson in history.

Each citation can provide you with insight and encouragement, regardless of what is going on in your life. They are not specific to the time in history when these men were in office, but are rather timeless wisdom.

Here are 45 inspirational quotes from all 45 of the U.S. Presidents.

1. George Washington

"Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company."

2. John Adams

“To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.”

3. Thomas Jefferson

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."

4. James Madison

“The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.”

5. James Monroe

"It is by a thorough knowledge of the whole subject that [people] are enabled to judge correctly of the past and to give a proper direction to the future."

6. John Quincy Adams

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader"

7. Andrew Jackson

“Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.”

8. Martin Van Buren

“It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.”

9. William Henry Harrison

"Times change, and we change with them."

10. John Tyler

“I can never consent to being dictated to.”

11. James K. Polk

"The gratitude ... should be commensurate with the boundless blessings which we enjoy."

12. Zachary Taylor

"I have always done my duty. I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me."

13. Millard Fillmore

"An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory."

14. Franklin Pierce

"While men inhabiting different parts of this vast continent cannot be expected to hold the same opinions, they can unite in a common objective and sustain common principles."

15. James Buchanan

“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”

16. Abraham Lincoln

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”

17. Andrew Johnson

“If you always support the correct principles then you will never get the wrong results!”

18. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant,

“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins.”

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

“Every expert was once a beginner.”

20. James A. Garfield

“Right reason is stronger than force.”

21. Chester A. Arthur

“Be fit for more than the thing you are now doing. Let everyone know that you have a reserve in yourself; that you have more power than you are now using. If you are not too large for the place you occupy, you are too small for it.”

22. Grover Cleveland

“It is better to be defeated standing for a high principle than to run by committing subterfuge.”

23. Benjamin Harrison

“Great lives never go out; they go on.”

24. Grover Cleveland

“Unswerving loyalty to duty, constant devotion to truth, and a clear conscience will overcome every discouragement and surely lead the way to usefulness and high achievement.”

25. William McKinley

“In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest.”

26. Theodore Roosevelt

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

27. William Howard Taft

“We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.”

28. Woodrow Wilson

“The object of love is to serve, not to win.”

29. Warren G. Harding

“There's good in everybody. Boost. Don't knock.”

30. Calvin Coolidge

“If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.”

31. Herbert Hoover

“Be patient and calm; no one can catch a fish with anger.”

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.”

33. Harry S. Truman

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Pessimism never won any battle.”

35. John F. Kennedy

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

36. Lyndon B. Johnson

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”

37. Richard M. Nixon

“Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”

38. Gerald R. Ford

“Never be satisfied with less than your very best effort. If you strive for the top and miss, you'll still 'beat the pack.'”

39. Jimmy Carter

“You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.”

40. Ronald Reagan

“Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.”

41. George Bush

"No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit." 

42. Bill Clinton

“If you live long enough, you'll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you'll be a better person. It's how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”

43. George W. Bush

 "A leadership is someone who brings people together."

44. Barack Obama

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

45. Donald Trump

“Without passion you don't have energy, with out energy you have nothing.”

So, which inspiration will you apply in your life today?

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About the Author

Elizabeth Lombardo Ph.D.

Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D. is a Licensed Practicing Psychologist with an MS in physical therapy who combines research findings, real-life stories, and humor to provide actionable tips for individuals.

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