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Top 20 American Quotes by Americans

To keep up with my love of America, I would love to share some American quotes that help depict our country by those who have founded, fought, and have died for our country. Also, ones that I am proud of and personally enjoy the depth of. Those who hold high ideals that strive to push our country to be better.



"These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or in the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed...Great necessities call out great virtues."

-Abigail Adams (letter to John Quincy Adams, January 19th, 1780)


"The test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members"

- Justice Louis Brandeis (The Words of Justice Brandeis, 1953)


"To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race."

-Calvin Coolidge (December 12, 1924)


"Rights is of no Sex-Truth is of no Color-God is the Father of us all, and all we are Brethren."

-Motto of the North Star (anti-slavery newspaper founded in 1847 by Fredrick Douglass)


"The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."

-General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Message to the Allied Troops on D-Day, June 6, 1944)


"America is another word for Opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of the Divined Providence in behalf of the human race."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson (from his essay American Civilization, 1862)


"If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought-not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate."

-Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (United States v. Schwimmer, 1928)


"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

-Thomas Jefferson (letter to Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800)


"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

-John F. Kennedy (Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961)


"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."

-Martin Luther King Jr. (Speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963)


"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it."

-Thomas Paine (The American Crisis No. 4, September 12, 1777)


"Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here."

-Captain John Parker

(to the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington, Massachusetts, April 19, 1775)


"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."

-Rosa Parks (Quiet Strength, 1994)


"I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity an obligation; every possession, a duty."

-John D. Rockerfeller Jr. (address in New York City, July 8, 1941)


"As soon as I make sure everyone else is out."

-Rick Rescorla, World Trade Center security chief for Morgan Stanley, September 11, 2001

(He evacuated nearly 2,700 employees but died with Tower 2 collapsed)


"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt (speech to the Hamilton Club, Chicago, April 10, 1899)


"'Twant me, 'twas the Lord, I always told Him, "I trust you. I don't know where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me," and He always did."

-Harriet Tubman (as told to biographer Sarah H. Bradford.


"The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem."

-Walt Whitman (preface to the first edition of Leaves of Grass, 1855)


"America...It is a fabulous country, the only fabulous country; it is the one place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time."

-Thomas Wolfe (Of Time and the River, 1935)


"It is for us o pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel towards our distant goal."

-Helen Keller


What other American quotes do you love? What has some profound meaning that you hold dearly? Later this month: Quotes about America...from other countries!


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