Famous Quotes Hold Up a Mirror to the Soul of America

Presidents and Writers Crystallize What It Is to Be American

High Angle View Of American Flag On Table
Classen Rafael / EyeEm / Getty Images

The United States of America was founded on the principles of liberty, and freedom is a value nurtured by every American soul. What is it like to be American? What is the American dream? How does this vast nation of diverse races and religions function as one undivided entity? Discover attributes that are intricately woven into the fabric of American life through these famous American quotes.

Adlai Stevenson

"When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect."

Max Lerner

"America is a passionate idea or it is nothing. America is a human brotherhood or it is chaos."

Aurora Raigne

"America, for me, has been the pursuit and catching of happiness.

Carrie Latet

"May I never wake up from the American dream."

James Baldwin

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."

George Washington

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence. It is force, and like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

Thomas Jefferson

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Abraham Lincoln

"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."

Gen. George Patton

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war, by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

Winston Churchill

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else."

Gen. Douglas MacArthur

"Americans never quit."

George W. Bush

"To those of you who received honors, awards, and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States."

Benjamin Franklin

"Where liberty dwells, there is my country."

Theodore Roosevelt

"This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in."

O. Henry

"If ever there was an aviary overstocked with jays it is that Yaptown-on-the-Hudson called New York."

Ayn Rand

"The skyline of New York is a monument of a splendor that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach."

G. K. Chesterton

"There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong."