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150+ Powerful Ronald Reagan Quotes on Life, Liberty, and Freedom

On February 6th, 1911 former United States President, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois. He started out his career in the world of Hollywood where he starred in over 50 films and met his first wife, actress, Jane Wyman. In 1940 Ronald and Jane were married and together they had two children, Maureen and Michael. In the coming years, he worked for the Army making training videos, and overtime his marriage ended in a painful divorce. Moving forward, Reagan became the president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1947 where he then met his future wife, Nancy Davis. They married in 1952 and had two children of their own, Patricia Ann and Ronald.

Branching away from the realm of acting, in 1964, Reagan gave a speech for Barry Goldwater which inspired him to later run and become the governor of California in 1966. This inspired him to continue his career in politics, eventually running to be the President of the United States in 1980. He won the election that year, making President Reagan the 40th President of the United States. In 1981, there was an assassination attempt made by John Hinckley that left the president with a bullet wound, but he healed and continued his presidency for another 4 years when re-elected in 1984. During his 8 years in office, Reagan navigated many difficult scandals and world affairs such as the Iran-Contra Affair and negotiating the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union leader Gorbachev.

Later in life, in 1994, Reagan announced that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease which eventually caused his death in 2004. President Ronald Reagan lived a life full of many professions and unique experiences that led him to leave a large impact on the American people. Read the article below to discover some impactful Ronald Reagan quotes to share.

Ronald Reagan Quotes
Public domain – Wikipedia

Patriotic Quotes by President Ronald Reagan

“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

“As government expands, liberty contracts.”

“I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

“If there’s one observation that rings true in today’s changing world, it is that freedom and peace go hand in hand.”

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

“There are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret.”

“Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means.”

“You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.”

“The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

“There can be no freedom without order, and there is no order without virtue.”

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

“For years, I’ve heard the question: “How could an actor be president?” I’ve sometimes wondered how you could be president and not be an actor.”

“Life is one grand sweet song so start the music.”

“If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under.”

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”

“I more than love you, I’m not whole without you. You are life itself to me. When you are gone I’m waiting for you to return so I can start living again.”

“Freedom is not just the birthright of the few, it is the God-given right of all His children, in every country. It won’t come by conquest. It will come, because freedom is right and freedom works. It will come, because cooperation and goodwill among free people will carry the day.”

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.”

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

“America was founded by people who believe that God was their rock of safety.”

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

“We are never defeated unless we give up on God.”

“I learned that hard work is an essential part of life—that by and large, you don’t get something for nothing—and that America was a place that offered unlimited opportunity to those who did work hard.”

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would it not be better to do away with them entirely?”

“A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.”

“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.”

“America is too great for small dreams.”

“A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions tell me that’s true, but the facts and evidence tell me it is not.”

“I was not a great communicator, but I communicated great things.”

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose – somehow we win out.”

“I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”

“If politics were a musical, it would be “Promises, Promises”.”

“Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.”

“Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

“We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life–the unborn–without diminishing the value of all human life.”

“[Freedom] must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

“When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”

“Don’t be afraid to see what you see.”

“Coercion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him.”

“Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things.”

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.”

“The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away.”

“Trust but verify.”

“There are no easy answers’ but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

“Protecting the rights of even the least individual among us is basically the only excuse the government has for even existing.”

“Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.”

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”

“To grasp and hold a vision, that is the very essence of successful leadership – not only on the movie set where I learned it, but everywhere.”

“Don’t try to make your dreams a reality, they’re only filled with things that don’t make sense and trolls. Things are better in reality.”

“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

“Never let the things you can’t do stop you from doing what you can.”

“A people free to choose will always choose peace.”

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“Preparing for the future must begin, as always, with our children. We need to set for the new and more rigorous goals.”

“To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will.”

“They had that special grace, that special spirit that says, ‘Give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy’.”

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”

“I spoke to ears that refused to hear.”

“If we’re free to dare – and we are – if we’re free to give – and we are – then we’re free to shape the future and have within our grasp all that we dream the future will be.”

“Someday, the realm of liberty and justice will encompass the planet.”

“I’ve always believed that a lot of the trouble in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other.”

“I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

“Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”

“The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America…our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal.”

“If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.”

“We in America have learned bitter lessons from two world wars: It is better to be here [in Europe] ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We’ve learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.”

“I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.”

“Thomas Jefferson once said, “We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.” And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.”

“Let friend and foe alike know that America has the muscle to back up its words.”

“I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

“Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”

“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

“How can a president not be an actor?”

“I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines.”

“Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.”

“People do not make wars; governments do.”

“We’re in greater danger today than we were the day after Pearl Harbor. Our military is absolutely incapable of defending this country.”

“Excellence does not begin in Washington.”

“Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15.”

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

I consider all proposals for government action with an open mind before voting “no.””

“The thought of being President frightens me and I do not think I want the job.”

“The struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.”

“Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.”

“One way to make sure crime doesn’t pay would be to let the government run it.”

“I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited.”

“The United States remains the last best hope for a mankind plagued by tyranny and deprivation. America is no stronger than its people — and that means you and me. Well, I believe in you, and I believe that if we work together, then one day we will say, “We fought the good fight. We finished the race. We kept the faith.” And to our children and our children’s children, we can say, “We did all what could be done in the brief time that was given us here on earth.”

“There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”

“We the people tell the government what to do. It doesn’t tell us.”

“Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.”

“I believe with all my heart that standing up for America means standing up for the God who has so blessed our land. We need God’s help to guide our nation through stormy seas. But we can’t expect Him to protect America in a crisis if we just leave Him over on the shelf in our day-to-day living.”

“When you see all of the smoke billowing up from the Democrats, ladies and gentlemen, I’d follow the advice of their nominee: Don’t Inhale.”

“I believe now, as I always have, that America’s strength is in ‘We the People.’”

“You can never underestimate the ability of the Democrats to wet their finger and hold it to the wind.”

“In America, our origins matter less than our destination, and that is what democracy is all about. (August 17, 1992)”

“We’re the party that wants to see an America in which people still can get rich”

“It is time to realize we are too great a nation for small dreams. We’re not — as some would have us believe — doomed to an inevitable fate.”

“We think there is a parallel between the Federal involvement in education and the decline in quality over recent years.”

Quotes by President Ronald Reagan about Life and Freedom

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

“We are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.”

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

I did turn 75 today – but remember, that’s only 24 Celsius.”

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”

“We’re blessed with the opportunity to stand for something–for liberty and freedom and fairness–and these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to.” 

“The ultimate determinate in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas – a trial of spiritual resolve; the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideas to which we are dedicated.”

“Middle age is when you’re faced with two temptations and you hoose the one that will get you home by nine o’clock.”

“Honey, I forgot to duck.” (To his wife, Nancy Reagan, when she arrived at the hospital following the assassination attempt on March 30, 1981)

“In raising and instructing our children, in providing personal and compassionate care for the elderly, in maintaining the spiritual strength of religious commitment among our people– in these and other ways, America’s families make immeasurable contributions to America’s well-being.”

“You know, by the time you reach my age, you’ve made plenty of mistakes if you’ve lived your life properly.”

“Today, more than ever, it is essential that these contributions not be taken for granted and that each of us remember that the strength of our families is vital to the strength of our nation.”

Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

Quotes by President Ronald Reagan About Hard Work, Success, and Education

“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.”

“It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?”

“Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.

“I believe the best social program is a job.”

“A leader, once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to stick with it and be undaunted when the going gets tough.”

“Many a man has failed because he had his wishbone where his backbone should have been.”

“Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It seeps through the walls topped by barbed wire, it wafts across the electrified borders.”

“The very key to our success has been our ability, foremost among nations, to preserve our lasting values by making change work for us rather than against us.”

“We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.”

“Most of my dreams came true.”

Other Quotes by President Ronald Reagan

“Even Albert Einstein reportedly needed help on his 1040 form.”

“A recession is when a neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

“Balancing the budget is a little like protecting your virtue: You just have to learn to say ‘no.’”

“Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.”

“Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. “

“I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.”

“They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer — not an easy answer — but simple.” 

“Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.”

“If not us, who? And if not now, when?” 

“We must be cautious in claiming God is on our side. I think the real question we must answer is, are we on His side?”

“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”

“The taxpayer – that’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.”

“One picture is worth 1,000 denials.”

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.”

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”

“It’s difficult to believe that people are still starving in this country because food isn’t available.”

“Status quo, you know, that is Latin for “the mess we’re in.”

“Well, I learned a lot… I went down to Latin America to find out from them and (learn) their views. You’d be surprised. They’re all individual countries.”

“All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.”

“We might come closer to balancing the Budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule.”

“Double, no triple, our troubles and we’d still be better off than any other people on earth. It is time that we recognized that ours was, in truth, a noble cause.”

“I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.”

“Four years ago we said we would invigorate our economy by giving people greater freedom and incentives to take risks and letting them keep more of what they earned. We did what we promised, and a great industrial giant is reborn.”

To learn more about Ronald Reagan and his presidency, visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation’s website.

More Quotes:

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Katee is a lover of language and is in awe of the power it holds. Read more articles from Katee on Thought Catalog.

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