Serving as president from April 30, 1789 to March 3, 1797, George Washington set an example from which leaders around the nation continue to draw inspiration.
He played a key role in the birth of America, setting a precedent for every president who assumed the nation’s highest office after him. And in celebration of his 282nd birthday on Feb. 22, we’ve gathered 20 of his most inspiring quotes on hard work, faith and always expecting your best.
1. “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
2. “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
3. “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
4. “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation."
5. “The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.”
6. “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”
7. “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
8. "It is better to be alone than in bad company."
9. “The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.”
10. “True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation." 11. “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.
12. “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.”
13. “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.
14. “The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”
15. “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”
16. “Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”
17. “My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.”
18. “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.”
19. “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”
20. “It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without the agency of a Supreme Being.”