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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

Your love of liberty — your respect for the laws — your habits of industry — and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness.

George Washington, letter to the Residents of Boston, October 27, 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

[A] good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous.

George Washington, letter to Steptoe Washington, December 5, 1790

Founding Fathers Quotes

[H]onesty will be found on every experiment, to be the best and only true policy; let us then as a Nation be just.

George Washington, Circular letter to the States, June 14, 1783

Founding Fathers Quotes

[L]et the poor the needy and oppressed of the Earth, and those who want Land, resort to the fertile plains of our western country, the second land of Promise, and there dwell in peace, fulfilling the first and great commandment.

George Washington, letter to David Humphreys, July 25, 1785

Founding Fathers Quotes

[N]or did I believe until lately, that it was within the bonds of probability; hardly within those of possibility, that, while I was using my utmost exertions to establish a national character of our own, independent, as far as our obligations, and justice would permit, of every nation of the earth; and wished, by steering a steady course, to preserve this Country from the horrors of a desolating war, that I should be accused of being the enemy of one Nation, and subject to the influence of another; and to prove it, that every act of my administration would be tortured, and the grossest, and most insidious misrepresentations of them be made (by giving one side only of a subject, and that too in such exaggerated and indecent terms as could scarcely be applied to a Nero; a notorious defaulter; or even to a common pick-pocket).

George Washington, letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 6, 1796

Founding Fathers Quotes

[T]he first transactions of a nation, like those of an individual upon his first entrance into life make the deepest impression, and are to form the leading traits in its character.

George Washington, letter to John Armstrong, April 25, 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

[T]he foundation of a great Empire is laid, and I please myself with a persuasion, that Providence will not leave its work imperfect.

George Washington, letter to Chevalier de LaLuzerne, August 1, 1786

Founding Fathers Quotes

[T]he great Searcher of human hearts is my witness, that I have no wish, which aspires beyond the humble and happy lot of living and dying a private citizen on my own farm.

George Washington, letter to Charles Pettit, August 16, 1788

Founding Fathers Quotes

[T]he hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty — that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men.

George Washington, General Orders, August 23, 1776

Founding Fathers Quotes

[T]he policy or advantage of [immigration] taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws: in a word, soon become one people.

George Washington, November 15, 1794

Founding Fathers Quotes

[T]he propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.

George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

[T]here exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity.

George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789

Founding Fathers Quotes

[T]here is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.

George Washington, letter to Robert Morris, April 12, 1786

Founding Fathers Quotes

[W]e ought to deprecate the hazard attending ardent and susceptible minds, from being too strongly, and too early prepossessed in favor of other political systems, before they are capable of appreciating their own.

George Washington, letter to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, January 28, 1795

Founding Fathers Quotes

[Y]our late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view to emancipating the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit would diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country; but I despair of seeing it.

George Washington, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, May 10, 1786



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