As our nation grows increasingly close to casting ballots and electing the next President of the United States, tension and worry have been growing along both major party lines. Though America has been uneasy with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton officially becoming their party’s nominee, our nation’s past and present leaders can offer solid reminders of what makes America the special place that it continues to be. Here are 20 quotes to calm your nerves, encourage your patriotism, and inspire action to continue America’s legacy of liberty, regardless of who soon claims the Oval Office.

1. “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.” –Theodore Roosevelt

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

3. “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” –Mark Twain

4. “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” –Ronald Reagan

5. “What we need are critical lovers of America–patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it.” –Hubert Humphrey

6. “Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

7. “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” –Thomas Jefferson

8. “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.” –Thomas Jefferson

9. “The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” –Maximilien Robespierre

10. “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” –Thomas Paine

11. “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” –Plato

12. “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” –John F. Kennedy

13. “The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson

14. “I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.” –Ronald Reagan

15. “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” –Abraham Lincoln

16. “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” –Thomas Jefferson

17. “Life takes its own turns, makes its own demands, writes its own story, and along the way, we start to realize that we are not the author.” –George W. Bush

18. “In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.” –Barack Obama

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

20. “I’ve lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God governs in the affairs of men.” –Benjamin Franklin

Though the president holds a special role in the governing of our nation, he or she does not determine what we as a people are capable of. We are leaders, fighters, dreamers and believers. We are diverse and we are hopeful, and currently we are conflicted, but we are also free, and nobody can take that from us without our discretion.

Sarah G
FFL Contributor