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WASHINGTON, GEORGE
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[ Also see America Democracy Government Patriotism Presidency Revolution Statesmanship War ]

If the title of a great man ought to be reserved for him who cannot be charged with an indiscretion or a vice, who spent his life in establishing the independence, the glory and durable prosperity of his country; who succeeded in all that he undertook, and whose successes were never won at the expense of justice, integrity, or by the sacrifice of a single principle--this title will not be denied to Washington.
      - Jared Sparks

Whoever would understand the character of Washington, in all its compass and grandeur, must learn it from his own writings, and from a complete history of his country during the long period in which he was the most prominent actor.
      - Jared Sparks

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake.
      - George Washington

Every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest should be indignantly frowned upon.
      - George Washington

I never say anything of a man that I have the smallest scruple of saying to him.
      - George Washington

If there was the same propensity in mankind for investigating the motives, as there is for censuring the conduct, of public characters, it would be found that the censure so freely bestowed is oftentimes unmerited and uncharitable.
      - George Washington

It is incumbent upon every person of every description to contribute to his country's welfare.
      - George Washington

It would be repugnant to the vital principles of our government virtually to exclude from public trusts, talents and virtue, unless accompanied by wealth.
      - George Washington

Let us impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.
      - George Washington

Liberty, property, life, and honor are all at stake. Upon your courage and conduct rest the hopes of our bleeding and insulted country. Our wives, children, and parents expect safety from us only; and they have every reason to believe that heaven will crown with success so just a cause. The enemy will endeavor to intimidate us by show and appearance; but remember they have been repulsed on various occasions by a few brave Americans. Their cause is bad--their men are conscious of it; and, if opposed with firmness and coolness on their first onset, with our advantages of works and knowledge of the ground, the victory is most assuredly ours. Every good soldier will be silent and attentive, wait for orders, and reserve his fire until he is sure of doing execution.
      - George Washington,
        second part of his address to the American troops before the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776; see "The time is now near . . ."

"My brave fellows, let no sensation of satisfaction for the triumphs you have gained induce you to insult your fallen enemy. Let no shouting, no clamorous huzzaing increase their mortification. It is sufficient for us that we witness their humiliation. Posterity will huzza for us."
      - George Washington, at Yorktown

The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practise of profane cursing and swearing, a vice hitherto little known in an American army, is growing into fashion. He hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they and the men will reflect that we can have little hope of the blessing of heaven on our arms, if we insult it by our impiety and folly. Added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense and character detests and despises it.
      - George Washington

The name American must always exalt the just pride of patriotism.
      - George Washington

The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained.
      - George Washington

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or to die. Our own, our country's honor, calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion; and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous before the whole world. Let us, then, rely on the goodness of our cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us; and we shall have their blessings and praises if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them. 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,
        first part of his address to the American troops before the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776; see "Liberty, property, life, and honor . . ."

There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation.
      - George Washington

'Tis substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.
      - George Washington

To the efficacy and permanency of your union a government for the whole is indispensable.
      - George Washington

Where is the man to be found who wishes to remain indebted for the defense of his own person and property to the exertions, the bravery, and the blood of others, without making one generous effort to repay the debt of honor and gratitude?
      - George Washington

Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?
      - George Washington

That name descending with all time, spreading over the whole earth, and uttered in all the languages belonging to all tribes and races of men, will forever be pronounced with affectionate gratitude by everyone in whose breast there shall arise an aspiration for human rights and liberty.
      - Daniel Webster,
        in a speech at the Centennial Anniversary of Washington

That name was a power to rally a nation in the hour of thick-thronging public disasters and calamities; that name shone amid the storm of war, a beacon light to cheer and guide the country's friends; it flamed too like a meteor to repel her foes.
      - Daniel Webster,
        in a speech at a public grant

Washington--a fixed star in the firmament of great names, shining without twinkling or obscuration, with clear, beneficent light.
      - Daniel Webster

America has furnished to the world the character of Washington! And if our American institutions had done nothing else, that alone would have entitled them to the respect of mankind.
      - Daniel Webster,
        Completion of Bunker Hill Monument,
        June 17, 1843, vol. I, p. 105

His genius, it is true, was of a peculiar kind; the genius of character, of thought, and the objects of thought solidified and concentrated into active faculty. He belongs to that rare class of men--rare as Homers and Miltons, rare as Platos and Newtons--who have impressed their characters upon nations without pampering national vices. Such men have natures broad enough to include all the facts of a people's practical life, and deep enough to discern the spiritual laws which underlie, animate, and govern those facts.
      - Edwin Percy Whipple


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