40 (+4) Presidential Words of Wisdom

The words of those who came before us can be a great source of inspiration, motivation, leadership, and teaching.  In honor of Presidents’ Day we take a moment to read a few words from those who have held our government’s top spot.

  1. The best means of forming a manly, virtuous, and happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail.  – George Washington, 1st President of the United States
  2. There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.  – John Adams, 2nd President of the United States
  3. Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.  – Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States
  4. Learned institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.  – James Madison, 4th President of the United States
  5. A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue.  – James Monroe, 5th President of the United States
  6. Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.  – John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States
  7. It is a damn poor mind indeed which can’t think of at least two ways to spell any word.  – Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States
  8. As to the Presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it.  – Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States
  9. A decent and manly examination of the acts of the Government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged.  – William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States
  10. Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.  – John Tyler, 10th President of the United States
  11. With me it is exceptionally true that the Presidency is no bed of roses.  – James K. Polk, 11th President of the United States
  12. I shall pursue a straight forward course deviating neither to the right or left so that comes what may I hope my real friends will never have to blush for me, so far as truth, honesty & fair dealings are concerned.  – Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States
  13. An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.  – Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States
  14. The revenue of the country, levied almost insensibly to the taxpayer, goes on from year to year, increasing beyond either the interests or the prospective wants of the Government.  – Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States
  15. Prevent the American people from crossing the Rocky Mountains? You might as well command Niagara not to flow. We must fulfill our destiny.  – James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States
  16. Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in. That everyone may receive at least a moderate education appears to be an objective of vital importance.  – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
  17. The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people.  – Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States
  18. My failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.  – Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States
  19. He serves his party best who serves the country best.  – Rutherford Hayes, 19th President of the United States
  20. We cannot overestimate the fervent love of liberty, the intelligent courage, and the sum of common sense with which our fathers made the great experiment of self-government.  – James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States
  21. Good ballplayers make good citizens.  – Chester Arthur, 21st President of the United States
  22. A man is known by the company he keeps, and also by the company from which he is kept out.  – (Stephen) Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States
  23. No other people have a government more worthy of their respect and love or a land so magnificent in extent, so pleasant to look upon, and so full of generous suggestion to enterprise and labor.  – Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States
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  25. That’s all a man can hope for during his lifetime—to set an example—and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history.  – William McKinley, 25th President of the United States
  26. To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.  – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
  27. Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution.  – William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States
  28. Some people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world.  – (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States
  29. Ambition is a commendable attribute without which no man succeeds. Only inconsiderate ambition imperils.  – Warren G. Harding, 20th President of the United States
  30. It takes a great man to be a good listener.  – (John) Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
  31. No greater nor more affectionate honor can be conferred on an American than to have a public school named after him.  – Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States
  32. Knowledge—that is, education in its true sense—is our best protection against unreasoning prejudice and panic-making fear, whether engendered by special interest, illiberal minorities, or panic-stricken leaders.  – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
  33. We need not fear the expression of ideas—we do need to fear their suppression.  – Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States
  34. There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure.  – Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States
  35. Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.  – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
  36. Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity.  – Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States
  37. A man who has never lost himself in a cause bigger than himself has missed one of life’s mountaintop experiences. Only in losing himself does he find himself.  – Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States
  38. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.  – Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States
  39. It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.  – Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States
  40. Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.  – Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States
  41. Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.  – George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
  42. If we want to invest in the prosperity of our nation, we must invest in the education of our children so that their talents may be fully employed.  – Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States
  43. You see, we’ll never be able to compete in the 21st century unless we have an education system that doesn’t quit on children, an education system that raises standards, an education that makes sure there’s excellence in every classroom.  – George W. Bush,  43rd President of the United States
  44. And when it comes to developing the high standards we need, it’s time to stop working against our teachers and start working with them. Teachers don’t go in to education to get rich. They don’t go in to education because they don’t believe in their children. They want their children to succeed, but we’ve got to give them the tools. Invest in early childhood education. Invest in our teachers and our children will succeed.  – Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

The 2012-2013 school year marks 40 years of education at Marin Academy.  Throughout the year we will be commemorating this anniversary with on-campus events for students, special publications (including this on-going series of “lists of 40″), and a community celebration at Bimbo’s in San Francisco on April 20 (Save the date!).

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