2nd Annual Presidential Leadership Tips: Commemorating Independence Day with Executive Wisdom


Happy July 4th! Before you fire up the grill and settle in for an awe-inspiring fireworks show, consider some sage guidance from our current and former Presidents.

“It is the actions, and not the commission, that make the officer.” – George Washington

“Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.” – John Adams

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” – James Madison

“The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.” – James Monroe

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams

“There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses.” – Andrew Jackson

“Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs.” – Martin Van Buren

“The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.” – William Harrison

“Let it be proclaimed that man’s conscience was created free. “– John Tyler

“It has been my constant aim and desire to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations.” – James Polk

“I hope my real friends will never have to blush for me, so far as truth, honesty & fair dealings are concerned.” – Zachary Taylor

“Nations, like individuals…possesses certain rights and owing certain duties to each other.” – Millard Fillmore

“Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion.” – Franklin Pierce

“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” – James Buchanan

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide.” – Andrew Johnson

“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten; he who continues wins.” – Ulysses S. Grant

“Universal suffrage is sound in principle. The radical element is right.” – Rutherford B. Hayes

“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.” – James Garfield

“Men may die, but the fabrics of free institutions remains unshaken.” – Chester Arthur

“What is the use of being elected or re-elected, unless you stand for something?” – Grover Cleveland

“I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man who produces it will starve in the process.” – Benjamin Harrison

“The mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation.” – William McKinley

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Failure to accord credit to anyone for what he may have done is a great weakness in any man.” – William Taft

“There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” – Woodrow Wilson

“I don’t know much about Americanism, but it’s a damn good word with which to carry an election.” – Warren Harding

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

“Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit.” – Herbert Hoover

“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“A great leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do and like it.” – Harry S. Truman

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight Eisenhower

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

“The noblest search is the search for excellence.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

“If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories.” – Richard Nixon

“Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.” – Gerald Ford

“We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.” – Jimmy Carter

“No weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” – Ronald Reagan

“America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle.” – George H.W. Bush

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” – Bill Clinton

“Today we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation’s promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.” – George W. Bush

“We honor [our] ideals by upholding them not when it’s easy, but when it is hard.” – Barack Obama

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