This month marks the 283rd birthday of George Washington, the U.S.’s first and perhaps most famous president. Born in 1732 to a Virginia plantation family, Washington went on the become one of the leaders of the American Revolution and was sworn in as the new nation’s first president on April 30 1789.
While Washington is most known as a revolutionary and political hero, the leader was also known to his contemporaries for his personal integrity, sense of duty and patriotism. In celebration of his birthday, here is a selection of some of the leader’s most inspiring quotations:
1. “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
2. “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
3. “There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”
4. “Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.”
5. “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”
6. “It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”
7. "It is better to be alone than in bad company."
8. “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”
9. “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation."
10. “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.”
11. “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
12. “To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.”
13. “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”
14. “I go to the chair of government with feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution.”
15. “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”