Political figures are often known because of their words, whether they be pre-prepared speeches or off-the-cuff comments. Many U.S. presidents put an emphasis on patriotism to inspire and unite the American people. There’s no better time than the lead-up to the Fourth of July to celebrate past presidents’ inspirational and patriotic quotes.

“America is too great for small dreams.” – President Ronald Reagan

Ever the optimist, our 40th president believed in the American dream and the opportunities this country could provide for both native citizens and immigrants coming from far and wide.

“America is a nation with a mission… Our aim is a democratic peace – a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and woman.” – President George W. Bush

Bush 43 put emphasis on American values and our democratic system. Throughout his presidency, he spoke about what made the United States unique and successful.

“Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.” – President Calvin Coolidge

Silent Cal was a president of few words, but this quote truly exemplifies what it means to be a patriotic American. By looking out for ourselves and our communities, we are all contributing to making the country a better place.

“The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.” – President John F. Kennedy

President Kennedy often gave inspirational speeches before his tragic assassination in 1963. Here, he speaks about American ingenuity and innovation.

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” – President Harry S. Truman

President Truman entered office near the end of World War II, a time in which many Americans feared for the world’s future. With his decision to drop the atomic bomb, he effectively ended the war on the Pacific front. Although it was an impossible decision, Truman did what he thought was right for the country, a showing of true patriotism.

“America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens.” – President George W. Bush

A part of American patriotism is wanting to share what makes the country so great with anyone coming here to seek opportunity. Many people are born Americans, but many others become Americans later in life too.

“America—a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching in purpose.” – President Herbert Hoover

In its beginning, the United States truly was an experiment. It wasn’t a monarchy ruled by an age-old bloodline. It was a place with the potential to enfranchise many people from different walks of life to control their own destinies.

“We must always dare to be great, and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.”  – President Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt embodied the American spirit and pursued greatness throughout his entire life and career. A conservationist, Roosevelt showed his patriotism by protecting America’s lands.

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

Another optimistic leader, President Bill Clinton reminded his fellow Americans that although the country has flaws, it has many more strengths.

“I know only two tunes: one of them is ‘Yankee Doodle’, and the other one isn’t.” – President Ulysses S. Grant

In this cheeky quote, President Grant showed his love of country through music. An esteemed lieutenant general, Grant fought to preserve the country during the traumatic Civil War.

On this Fourth of July, we can look back and remember so many patriotic, inspirational leaders that this country has had. Looking to the future, we know that the American Dream and the values it relies upon will persevere.  

Karly M.
Karly Matthews is a student at Temple University, where she is majoring in political science and journalism while minoring in Spanish. At any given moment, Karly can be found talking about Marco Rubio and advocating for conservative values with a large coffee mug and color-coded planner in hand.

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