How Quotes Help Us Become Better Thinkers
I love quotes. I always have. A good quote packs a lot of wisdom and inspiration in a short message; it gives you a glimpse into a person’s mind, and helps you process and express your thoughts and feelings by drawing on the experience of others. Using just the right quote to help you reiterate and drive home your point in a speech or writing is an exceptionally useful tool that has been used for centuries. It is helpful to hear a message repeated in different ways to imprint a lesson on the mind. Reading and reciting quotes – in context! – helps us to deepen our understanding of a subject, form our opinions, and articulate our thoughts with others in an impactful way. I enjoy quotes so much that I am going to open this blog post about quotes with some quotes about the beauty of quotes.
Quotes About Quotes
“The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages is preserved into perpetuity by a nation’s proverbs, fables, folk sayings and quotations.” -William Feather
“A quotation in a speech, article or book is like a rifle in the hands of an infantryman. It speaks with authority.” – Brendan Francis
“The quotations when engraved upon the memory, give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.” -Winston Churchill
Using Quotes The Right Way
Yes. Quotes are fun and powerful things. But often we just take a fun quote from the internet and make it our mantra or instantly try to apply it to our lives without context or background. It is good to have an idea of who the quote is coming from. Is this person reliable? What does he believe? What kind of person was he? And the purpose and broader situation in which the quote was said. Why did they say this? What was their goal? What was their message and who were they delivering it to? You will find that you get to know the person behind the quote quite well when you research the answers to these questions – and you will be much less likely to use spurious quotes or use them incorrectly. Make sure when you are using a quote as the powerful oratorial tool that it is, you know the background of the quote and something about the person who said it, so as not to accidentally misuse a quote and discredit yourself and undermine your point.
Founding Fathers Quotes
Some of the most quoted and quotable men in the history of Western Civilization are the American Founding Fathers. These men, too, often implored the rhetorical and literary device of citing other great thinkers. Indeed, these men quote each other, thinkers of the enlightenment, and most frequently, the Bible.
The Founding Fathers are the men who fought and thought for the independence of America; the military Generals that fought in the Revolutionary War and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. These men built our country and framed our government. To learn about America, you must get to know these men in their own words. You can learn more about our government, the spirit of America, and even our future by reading letters and journals from the Founding Fathers than you can from a political science or social studies textbook. Read below some quotes from our first American presidents – all great architects of the freedom we enjoy today.
Quotes From George Washington
“…religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” – George Washington, to William White, March 3, 1797
“I hope there remains virtue enough in the Assembly of this State, to preserve inviolate public treaties, and private contracts. If these are infringed, farewell to respectability, and safety in the Government.” – George Washington, to Bushrod Washington, November 9, 1787
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” -George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
Quotes From John Adams
“Statesmen my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. . . . The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a greater Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.—They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.” -John Adams, to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams, to John Taylor, December 17, 1814
“There is nothing in the science of human nature, more curious, or that deserves a critical attention from every order of men, so much, as that principle, which moral writers have distinguished by the name of self-deceit. This principle is the spurious offspring of self-love; and is perhaps the source of far the greatest, and worst part of the vices and calamities among mankind. The most abandoned minds are ingenious in contriving excuses for their crimes, from constraint, necessity, the strength, or suddenness of temptation, or the violence of passion; which serves to soften the remordings of their own consciences, and to render them by degrees, insensible equally to the charms of virtue, and the turpitude of vice.” -John Adams, VI. “U” to the Boston Gazette, August 29, 1763
Quotes From Thomas Jefferson
“If a nation expects to be ignorant – and free- in a state of civilization, it expects what it will never be.” – Thomas Jefferson, to Charles Yancey, January 6, 1816
“On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” -Thomas Jefferson, to Supreme Court Justice William Johnson, June 12, 1823
“Of all the cankers of human happiness, none corrodes it with so silent, yet so baneful a tooth, as indolence. Body and mind both unemployed, our being becomes a burthen, and every object about us loathsome, even the dearest. Idleness begets ennui, ennui the hypochrondria, and that a diseased body. No laborious person was ever yet hysterical. Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, chearfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends. It is while we are young that the habit of industry is formed. If not then, it never is afterwards. The fortune of our lives therefore depends on employing well the short period of youth.” -Thomas Jefferson, to Martha Jefferson, March 28, 1787
Quotes From James Madison
“A spirit of Liberty & Patriotism animates all degrees and denominations of men.” – James Madison to William Bradford, November 26, 1774
“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” -James Madison, to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822
“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” -James Madison, The Federalist No. 51, February 6, 1788
To hear more from these great men, and learn early American history in a fun, lively, and interactive way, check out My Dinner With The Founding Fathers: A Collection of Short Stories About Dining With The Men Who Built America.
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