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30 patriotic quotes that honor our country's legacy

Celebrate our country's history with these quotes from famous Americans.
Daughter embracing female U.S. soldier mother in front of home
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In 1776, our founding fathers established life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the foundational principles of American society.

That’s why we celebrate the day these rights were affirmed in the Declaration of Independence each year on the Fourth of July.

Thanks to the bravery and wisdom of our forefathers, America set itself apart as a country dedicated to a new concept of citizenship.

The U.S. Constitution enshrined our national duty to promote justice, peace, and equality. Throughout decades of war and conflict, Americans have fought tenaciously to preserve our national spirit, and each citizen participates in the process of forging our country’s unique identity.

Above all, our sense of collective loyalty, responsibility, and patriotism are central to the health of the country.

As President John F. Kennedy famously told his fellow Americans in his 1961 inaugural address, "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Before you turn on the grill for this year's Fourth of July festivities, take a moment to contemplate the hard work and sacrifice that American citizens have endured with these patriotic quotes from American leaders.

Patriotic quotes that celebrate America

  •  “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” — Nathan Hale
  • “I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” — Thomas Jefferson
  • “I was born an American; I will live an American; I shall die an American!” — Daniel Webster
  • “No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his body, to risk his well-being, to risk his life, in a great cause.” — Theodore Roosevelt
  • “Let me ask you, sir, when is the time for brave men to exert themselves in the cause of liberty and their country, if this is not?” — George Washington
Patriotic quotes
  • “True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “The way to be patriotic in America is not only to love America, but to love the duty that lies nearest to our hand, and to know that in performing it we are serving our country.” — Woodrow Wilson
  • “A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle, and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.” — George William Curtis
  • “The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity — unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.” — Henry Clay
  • “The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism.” — Barack Obama
Patriotic quotes
  • “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin
  • “Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.” — Jane Addams
  • “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” — John F. Kennedy
  • “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” — Edward Abbey
  • “I see that the old flagpole still stands. Have your troops hoist the colors to its peak, and let no enemy ever haul them down.” — Douglas MacArthur
Patriotic quotes
  • “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” — Thomas Jefferson
  • “A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the State with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated by it as enemies.” — Henry David Thoreau
  • “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” — Thomas Paine
  • “Only lay down true principles, and adhere to them inflexibly.” — Thomas Jefferson
  • “True patriots measure themselves not by personal wealth or power but by the degree to which they contribute to the community.” — Eric Liu
Patriotic quotes
  • “We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • “It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.” — Theodore Roosevelt
  • “The great end of all human industry, is the attainment of happiness. For this were arts invented, sciences cultivated, laws ordained, and societies modelled, by the most profound wisdom of patriots and legislators.” — David Hume
  • “Someday, I hope that we will all be patriots of our planet and not just of our respective nations.” — Zoe Weil
  • “Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to an untiring effort.” — John F. Kennedy
Patriotic quotes
  • “It is the flag just as much of the man who was naturalized yesterday as of the man whose people have been here many generations.” — Henry Cabot Lodge
  • “The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • “There is one thing that the American people always rise to and extend their hand to and that is the truth of justice, and of liberty, and of peace.” — Woodrow Wilson
  • “The essence of patriotism lies in a willingness to sacrifice for one’s country, just as true greatness finds expression, not in blessings enjoyed, but in good bestowed.” — William Jennings Bryan
  • “True patriotism, it seems to me, is based on tolerance and a large measure of humility.” — Adlai Stevenson II