Presidents' Day 2013: 7 Most Impactful Presidential Quotes of All Time


President's Day 2013 is Monday February 18, and, in honoring the holiday, I've picked the seven most impactful quotes from our country's past and present political leaders:

1. Thomas Jefferson (March 4th, 1801):

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, made this state in his first inaugural address. JFK said this about the third president in 1962 at the Nobel Peace Prize Dinner:

I think that this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.

2. Andrew Jackson (1832):

You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.

This was said to a delegation of bankers that were pushing for renewal of the Second National Bank charter. Andrew Jackson vetoed the charter, and the infamous Bank War began. Jackson stood against tremendous political and financial pressures and made good on his word to the American people.

3. Franklin D. Roosevelt (March 4th, 1933):

Only thing to fear is, fear itself.

FDR said this to the nation in his first inaugural address. The Great Orator was trying to calm the nation down during very turbulent economic times. His wit and orations were far superior to his policies of government intervention in the market place —which many economists say lengthened the depression.  

4. John F. Kennedy (Inaugural Speech, January 1961):

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

This was a poignant statement that expresses American principles of self-governance.  Unfortunately we were denied the chance to get to know JFK better. I believe he would have been one of the great presidents of our time.

5. Ronald Reagan (January 20, 1981):

Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

Reagan said this during his inauguration, and the quote is still echoed in many political conversations. Unfortunately, Reagan failed to make good on his promise to shrink government. 

6. George W. Bush (December 16, 2008):  


I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.

This statement was made in speech to the American people to defend his actions during the financial crisis. The only thing that would fit a line like this is if the next line were "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!” I think Bush should have spent more time in logic class at Yale.

7. Barack Obama (August 8t, 2006):

If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists — to protect them and to promote their common welfare — all else is lost.

Our current president made this statement at the University of Nairobi. I am amazed that a constitutional scholar made this decree. His policies suggest that he knowingly rejects the principles of the Constitution. Much like Mao, who studied various forms of government to choose his path, I believe we are witnessing his desire to transform us completely away from our founding principles.

Our political leaders have since the start of our country has used words to garner support, inspire, comfort or deceive. I picked out eight quotes that give a glimpse of some people that have left an impact on our lives. My personal favorite: Andrew Jackson.