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George Washington Quote

Each George Washington Quote on this page comes from the first few years of his presidency, from 1790-1792. They come from his own personal letters and addresses. Some of the letters are written to such prominent figures as James Madison, Gouverneur Morris and Edmund Pendleton. They cover such topics as the harm the press can do if it does not seek out the facts, the importance of civility in political discussions and the necessity of personal virtue. Each George Washington Quote is listed in chronological order with links to more from before and after this time period at the bottom.

George Washington

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Washington

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"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent on others for essential, particularly for military, supplies." - Speech in the United States Congress, January 8, 1790

"Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness." - Speech in the United States Congress, January 8, 1790

"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." - Letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, January 9, 1790

"In our progress toward political happiness my station is new; and if I may use the expression, I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent." - Letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, January 9, 1790

"I can truly say I had rather be at Mount Vernon with a friend or two about me, than to be attended at the Seat of Government by the Officers of State and the Representatives of every Power in Europe." - Letter to David Stuart, June 15, 1790

"I had rather be at Mount Vernon with a friend or two about me, than to be attended at the seat of government by the officers of state and the representatives of every power in Europe." - Letter to David Stuart, June 15, 1790

"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support." - Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, August 17, 1790

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General George Washington

George
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"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy." - Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, August 17, 1790

"The citizens of the United States of America have the right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were by the indulgence of one class of citizens that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support." - Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, September 9, 1790

"I lay it down as a maxim, that if the number of the pupils is too great for the tutors, justice cannot be done, be the abilities of the latter what they will. What the due proportion, beyond which it ought not to go, is in some measure matter of opinion, but an extreme must be obvious to all." - Letter to Tobias Lear, November 7, 1790

"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." - Letter to Steptoe Washington, December 5, 1790

"It may be proper to observe that 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." - Letter to George Steptoe Washington, December 5, 1790

"Humanity and good policy must make it the wish of every good citizen of the United States, that husbandry, and consequently civilization, should be introduced among the Indians. So strongly am I impressed with the beneficial effects, which our country would receive from such a thing, that I shall always take a singular pleasure in promoting, as far as may be in my power, every measure which may tend to ensure it." - Letter to David Humphreys, July 20, 1791

"The tumultuous populace of large cities are ever to be dreaded. Their indiscriminate violence prostrates for the time all public authority, and its consequences are sometimes extensive and terrible." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, July 28, 1791

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"We must, however, place a confidence in that Providence who rules great events, trusting that out of confusion he will produce order, and, notwithstanding the dark clouds, which may threaten at present, that right will ultimately be established." - Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, July 28, 1791

"I believe it is among nations as with individuals, that the party taking advantage of the distresses of another will lose infinitely more in the opinion of mankind, and in subsequent events, than he will gain by the stroke of the moment." - Letter to Gouverneur Morris, July 28, 1791

"From long experience I have laid it down as an unerring maxim that to exact rents with punctuality is not only the right of the Landlord, but that it is also for the benefit of the Tenant, that it should be so; unless by uncontroulable events, and providential strokes the latter is rendered unable to pay them; in such cases he should not only meet with indulgence, but, in some instances with a remittal of the rent. But, in the ordinary course of these transactions, the rents ought to be collect with the most rigid exactness." - Letter to Robert Lewis, October 15, 1791

"It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one." - Letter to his Niece, Harriet Washington, October 30, 1791

"To be under but little or no control may be pleasing to a mind that does not reflect, but this pleasure cannot be of long duration." - Letter to Harriet Washington, October 30, 1791

"A mind conscious of its own rectitude fears not what is said of it, but will bid defiance to and despise shafts that are not barbed with accusations against honor or integrity." - Letter to Gouverneur Morris, January 28, 1792

Another George Washington Quote for you!

"I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them." - Letter to John Armstrong, March 11, 1792

"However necessary it may be to keep a watchful eye over public servants, and public measures, yet there ought to be limits to it; for suspicions unfounded, and jealousies too lively, are irritating to honest feeling; and oftentimes are productive of more evil than good." - Letter to James Madison, May 20, 1792

"Differences in political opinions are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may perhaps be necessary; but it is exceedingly to be regretted that subjects cannot be discussed with temper on the one hand, or decisions submitted to without having the motives, which led to them, improperly implicated on the other; and this regret borders on chagrin when we find that men of abilities, zealous patriots, having the same general objects in view, and the same upright intentions to prosecute them, will not exercise more charity in deciding on the opinions and actions of one another." - Letter to Alexander Hamilton, August 26, 1792

"If the government and the officers of it are to be the constant theme for newspaper abuse, and this too without condescending to investigate the motives or the facts, it will be impossible, I conceive, for any man living to manage the helm or to keep the machine together." - Letter to Edmund Randolph, August 26, 1792

"Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society." - Letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792


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these inspirational quotes from some other Founding Fathers





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