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George Washington Quotes

Here are quotes by one of America's greatest founding fathers, George Washington, and related quotations about America's founding. For more history, see Founding Fathers.

Founding Fathers Quotes

'Tis folly in one Nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its Independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favours and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from Nation to Nation. 'Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

A people... who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything.

George Washington, letter to Benjamin Harrison, October 10, 1784

Founding Fathers Quotes

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity.

George Washington, letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, January 9, 1790

Founding Fathers Quotes

And you will, by the dignity of your Conduct, afford occasion for Posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to Mankind, had this day been wanting, the World had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.

George Washington, The Newburgh Address, January 2, 1783

Founding Fathers Quotes

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.

George Washington, Circular to the States, May 9, 1753

Founding Fathers Quotes

But if we are to be told by a foreign Power ... what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have Independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little.

George Washington, letter to Alexander Hamilton, May 8, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human Nature.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

Can you then consent to be the only sufferers by this revolution, and retiring from the field, grow old in poverty, wretchedness and contempt? Can you consent to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity, which has hitherto been spent in honor? If you can — GO — and carry with you the jest of tories and scorn of whigs — the ridicule, and what is worse, the pity of the world. Go, starve, and be forgotten!

George Washington, letter to the Officers of the Army, March 12, 1783

Founding Fathers Quotes

Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

Democratical States must always feel before they can see: it is this that makes their Governments slow, but the people will be right at last.

George Washington, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, July 25, 1785

Founding Fathers Quotes

Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.

George Washington, letter to Benedict Arnold, September 14, 1775

Founding Fathers Quotes

For myself the delay [in assuming the office of the President] may be compared with a reprieve; for in confidence I assure you, with the world it would obtain little credit that my movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution: so unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful abode for an Ocean of difficulties, without that competency of political skill, abilities and inclination which is necessary to manage the helm.

George Washington, comment to General Henry Knox, March 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country.

George Washington, upon fumbling for his glasses before delivering the Newburgh Address, March 15, 1783

Founding Fathers Quotes

Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

Happy, thrice happy shall they be pronounced hereafter, who have contributed any thing, who have performed the meanest office in erecting this stupendous fabrick of Freedom and Empire on the broad basis of Independency; who have assisted in protecting the rights of humane nature and establishing an Asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions.

George Washington, General Orders, April 18, 1783

Founding Fathers Quotes

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all Nations, are recommended by policy, humanity and interest. But even our Commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with Powers so disposed; in order to give trade a stable course.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action; and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.

George Washington, Address to Congress on Resigning his Commission, December 23, 1783

Founding Fathers Quotes

I am principled against this kind of traffic in the human species...and to disperse the families I have an aversion.

George Washington, letter to Robert Lewis, August 18, 1799



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