How Many Presidents Have We Had, And What Did They Say?

How Many Presidents Have We Had, And What Did They Say?

Unlike many questions we tackle here at Life Daily, a “how many” question has only one answer.

Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America.

But, rather than just give you a boring list that simply names and numbers all presidents since the first one (George Washington), we thought you would like to get a flavor of what made them tick, according to what they said.

The records show that some of them were very verbose and said a lot about many subjects. Others were more tactiturn and said little. We have selected only one saying for each of them in order to save your time and our space.

Some of our quotations are humorous, others are serious and yet others are witty – we think!

Take for example the quip by Abraham Lincoln, “If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?” Or this from Harry Truman, “My choice in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth there’s hardly any difference”.

And, before coming to the full list, what about this from Lyndon Johnson, well known for his blunt speaking, “Did you ever think that making a speech is a bit like pissing down your leg?’ It seems hot to you but it never does to anyone else”.

Those were a few samples. Now browse through our selection and see if you can find others that make you think or chuckle:

George Washington (1789–1797)

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder

John Adams (1797–1801)

The happiness of society is the end of government

Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809)

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves

James Madison (1809–1817)

The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted

James Monroe (1817–1825)

A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue

John Quincy Adams (1825–1829)

May our country be always successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right

Andrew Jackson (1829–1837)

I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way; but I am not fit to be President

Martin Van Buren (1837–1841

It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t

William Henry Harrison (1841)

But I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free

John Tyler (1841–1845)

Here lies the body of my good horse, ‘The General.’ For twenty years he bore me around the circuit of my practice, and in all that time he never made a blunder. Would that his master could say the same!

James Knox Polk (1845–1849)

With me it is exceptionally true that the Presidency is no bed of roses

Zachary Taylor (1849–1850 )

The idea that I should become President seems to me too visionary to require a serious answer. It has never entered my head, nor is it likely to enter the head of any other person

Millard Fillmore (1850–1853)

An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory

Franklin Pierce (1853–1857)

We have nothing in our history or position to invite aggression; we have everything to beckon us to the cultivation of relations of peace and amity with all nations

James Buchanan (1857–1861)

There is nothing stable but Heaven and the Constitution

Abraham Lincoln (1861–1865)

You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time

Andrew Johnson (1865–1869)

The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people

Ulysses Simpson Grant (1869–1877)

My failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1877–1881)

Nothing brings out the lower traits of human nature like office seeking

James Abram Garfield (1881)

I have had many troubles in my life, but the worst of them never came

Chester Alan Arthur (1881–1885)

If it were not for the reporters, I would tell you the truth

Stephen Grover Cleveland (1885–1889)

It is the responsibility of the citizens to support their government. It is not the responsibility of the government to support its citizens

Benjamin Harrison (1889–1893)

We Americans have no commission from God to police the world

William McKinley (1897–1901)

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

Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909)

Speak softly and carry a big stick

William Howard Taft (1909–1913)

Politics, when I am in it, makes me sick

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921)

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

Warren Gamaliel Harding (1921–1923)

My God, this is a hell of a job! I have no trouble with my enemies… but my damn friends, they’re the ones that keep me walking the floor nights

John Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929)

I have never been hurt by anything I didn’t say

Herbert Clark Hoover (1929–1933)

Absolute freedom of the press to discuss public questions is a foundation stone of American liberty

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933–1945)

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Harry S. Truman (1945–1953)

My choice in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth there’s hardly any difference

Dwight David Eisenhower (1953–1961)

I never saw a pessimistic general win a battle

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1961–1963)

And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country

Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963–1969)

Did you ever think that making a speech is a bit like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you but it never does to anyone else

Richard Milhous Nixon (1969–1974)

I like the job I have, but if I had to live my life over again, I would like to have ended up a sports writer

Gerald Rudolph Ford (1974–1977)

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have

James Earl Carter, Jr. (1977–1981)

The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation

Ronald Wilson Reagan (1981–1989)

I have often wondered what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress

George Herbert Walker Bush (1989–1993)

I want a kinder, gentler nation

William Jefferson Clinton (1993–2001)

Being President is like running a cemetery. You’ve got a lot of people under you and nobody’s listening

George Walker Bush (2001–2009)

We will bring the terrorists to justice; or we will bring justice to the terrorists. Either way, justice will be done

Barack Obama (2009–)

I’m so over-exposed I’m making Paris Hilton look like a recluse

Of course, there are so many sayings we didn’t use, including this one from Jimmy Carter, because we weren’t sure if he was being serious. He said,”I have often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming.”

And, finally, from Bill Clinton, “I never had……….”, well, you know the rest!

Did you find something in our list that gave you an insight into the mind of one of our presidents that you hadn’t known before? Is there a saying you think we should have included? You can tell us and our readers through the comments feed below.