George Washington
Snow falls past a statue of the first U.S. president George Washington in Boston's Public Garden in Massachusetts, Feb. 8, 2013. Mario Tama/Getty Images

George Washington, the first president of the United States, was born on Feb. 22, 1732, and this year marks his 285th birthday. Washington was born in a Virginia plantation family and played a key role in the birth of America.

Washington was sworn in as the nation’s first president on April 30, 1789. He began working as a surveyor in Culpeper County, Virginia, at the age of 17, where he worked for three years before joining the British military. He married Martha Dandridge Custis, who was a widow with two children, when he was 26. He did not have any children of his own.

In celebration of Washington's birthday, we’ve gathered 20 inspirational sayings by the founding father of U.S.

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. “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”

8. "It is better to be alone than in bad company."

9. “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”

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.”

16. “It is infinitely better to have a few good men than many indifferent ones.”

17. “Example, whether it be good or bad, has a powerful influence.”

18. “It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.”

19. “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

20. “Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”