George Washington: 10 of His Most Stirring Quotes

Today is George Washington’s birthday. You probably know he was the commanding general of the Continental Army that defeated the British in the Revolutionary War. You also know he was the first formally recognized President of The United States. He’s been called The Father of Our Country.

Washington was a surveyor and a farmer by trade. He was also a semi-professional soldier, having fought as a British solder in a number of campaigns prior to the Revolution.

You may not know he has two different birthdays. The one generally accepted today is February 22, 1732. This is his birthday in the Gregorian calendar. However, at the time of Washington’s birth, Great Britain and its colonies were still using the older and less accurate Julian calendar. On that calendar, Washington’s birthday was February 11, 1731.

Along with President Eisenhower’s “Military Industrial Complex” farewell address, Washington’s is probably the best known in history. He never actually gave an address. His farewell message was published in papers across the country. In it he warned against two things that remain very salient in today’s world – the dangers of political parties (he is the only American president who was not a member of a political party) and “foreign entanglements.” Looking at our politics today, both seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Here are 10 of Washington’s most motivational quotes.

  1. Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.
  2. It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.
  3. Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.
  4. It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company.
  5. If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
  6. Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
  7. Worry is interest paid by those who borrow trouble.
  8. My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.
  9. Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.
  10. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.