175+ George Washington Quotes And Words Of Wisdom

George Washington was an American general and the first president of the United States. Here’s some of George Washington’s most quoted words.

George Washington – Politician

Considered to be the founding father of the United States, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia on February 22, 1732. He later became an American general and the first president of the United States.

Prior to his involvement in politics, he served as a colonel in the British army during the Seven Years’ War. He also played a pivotal role in the American Revolution and is considered to be one of the most influential founding fathers of the United States.

After his retirement from politics, he returned to his plantation at Mount Vernon where he enjoyed a peaceful life with his wife Martha Washington. He died on December 14, 1799, at the age of 67.

George Washington was known for his wisdom and his quotes are still relevant today. Here are some of his most famous words:

Famous Quotes by George Washington

To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.

– George Washington

To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace. - George Washington

It is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

– George Washington


It is absolutely necessary… for me to have persons that can think for me, as well as execute orders.

– George Washington


It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.

– George Washington

It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. - George Washington


It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.

– George Washington


Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.

– George Washington


We must consult our means rather than our wishes.

– George Washington

We must consult our means rather than our wishes. - George Washington


The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.

– George Washington


I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.

– George Washington


We began a contest for liberty ill provided with the means for the war, relying on our patriotism to supply the deficiency. We expected to encounter many wants and distressed… we must bear the present evils and fortitude…

– George Washington


Death, the abyss from where no traveler is permitted to return.

– George Washington


Men may speculate as they will; they may talk of patriotism; they may draw a few examples from ancient story, of great achievements performed by its influence; but whoever builds upon it, as a sufficient Basis for conducting a long and bloody War, will find themselves deceived in the end. We must take the passions of Men as Nature has given them, and those principles as a guide which are generally the rule of Action. I do not mean to exclude altogether the Idea of Patriotism. I know it exists, and i know it has done much in the present Contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting War can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of Interest or some reward. For a time, it may, of itself push Men to Action; to bear much, to encounter difficulties; but it will not endure unassisted by Interest.

– George Washington


Of Congress, party disputes and personal quarrels are the great business of the day whilst the momentous concerns of an empire…are but secondary considerations,” that business of a trifling nature and personal concernment withdraws their attention from matters of great national moment.

– George Washington


No people can be bound to acknowledge the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.

– George Washington


One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts.

– George Washington


Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.

– George Washington

Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages. - George Washington


The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. … The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.

– George Washington


George Washington Quotations

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 of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.

– George Washington

Related: 175+ Discipline Quotes For Maximum Motivation


99% of failures come from people who make excuses.

– George Washington


Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do—then do it with all your strength.

– George Washington


There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.

– George Washington


Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.

– George Washington


Real men despise battle, but will never run from it.

– George Washington

Real men despise battle, but will never run from it. - George Washington


Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.

– George Washington


Nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated.

– George Washington


No punishment, in my opinion, is to great, for the man who can build his greatness upon his country’s ruin.

– George Washington


Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.

– George Washington


Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest.

– George Washington


Every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome.

– George Washington


A sensible woman can never be happy with a fool.

– George Washington

A sensible woman can never be happy with a fool. - George Washington


There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy.

– George Washington


Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also—if you love them enough

– George Washington


If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

– George Washington


Quotes by George Washington

Much was to be done by prudence, much by conciliation, much by firmness.

– George Washington

Much was to be done by prudence, much by conciliation, much by firmness. - George Washington


Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

– George Washington


It is a much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fireside than to occupy a cold bleak hill and sleep under frost and snow without clothes or blankets.

– George Washington


A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.

– George Washington


The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government.

– George Washington


There might, Gentlemen, be an impropriety in my taking notice, in this Address to you, of an anonymous production, but the manner in which that performance has been introduced to the army, the effect it was intended to have, together with some other circumstances, will amply justify my observations on the tendency of that Writing. With respect to the advice given by the Author, to suspect the Man, who shall recommend moderate measures and longer forbearance, I spurn it, as every Man, who regards liberty, and reveres that justice for which we contend, undoubtedly must; for if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.

– George Washington


Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated.

– George Washington


A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?

– George Washington


The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.

– George Washington


While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.

– George Washington


My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.

– George Washington


Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for it is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature; and in all cases of passion admit reason to govern.

– George Washington


But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.

– George Washington


I’ll die on my feet before I’ll live on my knees!

I’ll die on my feet before I’ll live on my knees!


Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of Action; and bidding an Affectionate farewell to this August body under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my Commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.

– George Washington


Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest.

– George Washington


George Washington Sayings

It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government.

– George Washington


Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone.

– George Washington

Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone. - George Washington


The gradual extension of our settlements will as certainly cause the savage, as the wolf, to retire; both being beasts of prey, though they differ in shape.

– George Washington


I conceive a knowledge of books is the basis upon which other knowledge is to be built.

– George Washington


Some day, following the example of the United States of America, there will be a United States of Europe.

– George Washington


Those who have committed no faults want no pardon. We are only defending what we deem our indisputable rights.

– George Washington


No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.

– George Washington


Be not glad at the misfortune of another, though he may be your enemy.

– George Washington


Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to appellation.

– George Washington


Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind, than on the externals in the world.

– George Washington


Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those be well-tried before you give them your confidence.

– George Washington


If the cause is advanced, indifferent is it to me where or in what quarter it happens.

– George Washington


In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.

– George Washington


Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.

– George Washington


How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.

– George Washington


Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.

– George Washington

Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble. - George Washington


Quotes George Washington

If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The rest is in the hands of God.

– George Washington


Its better to live alone than to live in a bad company.

– George Washington


Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.

– George Washington

Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust. - George Washington


If Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.

– George Washington


However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

– George Washington


Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.

– George Washington


I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.

– George Washington

I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world. - George Washington


Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

– George Washington


We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.

– George Washington


Wherein you reprove another be unblameable yourself, for example is more prevalent than precepts.

– George Washington


Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for, I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country.

– George Washington


A bad war is fought with a good mind.

– George Washington


To encourage literature and the arts is a duty which every good citizen owes to his country.

– George Washington


Human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.

– George Washington

Human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected. - George Washington


If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.

– George Washington


Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause.

– George Washington


Quotes by George Washington

The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.

– George Washington


Do not suffer your good nature […] to say yes when you ought to say no; remember that it is a public not a private cause that is to be injured or benefitted by your choice.

– George Washington


I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.

– George Washington


The 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 free men, 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


Unhappy it is, though, to reflect that a brother’s sword has been sheathed in a brother’s breast and that the once-happy plains of America are either to be drenched with blood or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous man hesitate in his choice?

– George Washington


All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

– George Washington


The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.

– George Washington


Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a Freeman, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.

– George Washington


A man ought not to value himself of his achievements or rare qualities of wit, much less of his riches, virtue or kindred.

– George Washington


Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.

– George Washington


Decision making, like coffee, needs a cooling process.

– George Washington

Decision making, like coffee, needs a cooling process. - George Washington


Overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.

– George Washington


Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.

– George Washington

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth. - George Washington


Experience has taught us, that men will not adopt and carry into execution measures best calculated for their own good, without the intervention of a coercive power.

– George Washington


Where are our Men of abilities? Why do they not come forth to save their Country?

– George Washington


The great mass of our Citizens require only to understand matters rightly, to form right decisions.

– George Washington

The great mass of our Citizens require only to understand matters rightly, to form right decisions. - George Washington


George Washington Words

It is better to be alone than in bad company.

– George Washington

It is better to be alone than in bad company. - George Washington


The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.

– George Washington

The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph. - George Washington


The turning points of lives are not the great moments. The real crises are often concealed in occurrences so trivial in appearance that they pass unobserved.

– George Washington


Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.

– George Washington


Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.

– George Washington


Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

– George Washington


Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.

– George Washington


To enlarge the sphere of social happiness is worthy of the benevolent design of a Masonic institution; and it is most fervently to be wished, that the conduct of every member of the fraternity, as well as those publications, that discover the principles which actuate them, may tend to convince mankind that the grand object of Masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race.

– George Washington


Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

– George Washington


The reflection upon my situation and that of this army produces many an uneasy hour when all around me are wrapped in sleep. Few people know the predicament we are in.

– George Washington


The common and continual mischief’s [sic] of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion.

– George Washington


To persevere in one’s duty, and be silent is the best answer to calumny.

– George Washington

To persevere in one’s duty, and be silent is the best answer to calumny. - George Washington

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