A few quotes that capture the essence of America’s greatness.
“The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy, a 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 was by 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.” —George Washington, in a letter to a Jewish congregation
“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” —John Adams
“We’ve staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government. Far from it. We have staked the future upon the capacity of each and every one of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” —James Madison
“We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner ‘Freedom Now’—they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.” —George W. Bush
“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” —Calvin Coolidge
“Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are extended the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father’s.” —Abraham Lincoln
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” ―Harry Truman
“America is another word for Opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of the Divine Providence in behalf of the human race.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
“As soon as I make sure everyone else is out.” —Rick Rescorla, World Trade Center security chief for Morgan Stanley, on September 11, 2001, responding to a colleague who told him he must get out of World Trade Center Tower 2. Rescorla led the evacuation of nearly 2700 Morgan Stanley employees. He died when Tower 2 collapsed.
“I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” —John D. Rockefeller Jr.
“We must be the great arsenal of democracy.” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual—or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” —Samuel Adams
“Some things have not changed at all since 1776. For one thing, freedom is still expensive. It still costs money. It still costs blood. It still calls for courage and endurance, not only in soldiers, but in every man and woman who is free and who is determined to remain free.” —Harry Truman, on the 175th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” —George Washington
“The thing they forget is that liberty and freedom and democracy are so very precious that you do not fight to win them once and then stop. Liberty and freedom and democracy are prizes awarded only to those peoples who fight to win them and then keep fighting eternally to hold them.” —Sergeant Alvin C. York, in reply to those who asked, “What did war get you?”