We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. — William Faulkner
On July 4, 1776, fifty-six colonial leaders signed the Declaration of Independence. With this signing, these leaders declared themselves, along with the 2.5 million people living in the thirteen colonies, members of a new, independent nation: The United States of America.
July 4, 2018 marks the 242nd anniversary of the country’s founding.
Every year, people across the nation reflect and celebrate this momentous occasion with firework displays, BBQ parties, parades, outdoor games and lots (and lots!) of American-made beer. On Independence Day, scores of American flags can be seen soaring across the nation.
Last year, The National Retail Federation reported that Americans will spend approximately $7 billion on BBQ cookouts in 2017. Some of the most popular Fourth of July menu items include hamburgers, ribs, potato salad, and hot dogs.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that in 2012, $368.6 million worth of fireworks were purchased across the country.
Check out this spectacular display of fireworks in New York City that took place a few years ago (pretty impressive, huh?):
Displays and events like these bring families, friends, and community members together to mark the day and put their American pride on full display. And being able to celebrate this American pride and patriotism is one of this country’s greatest hallmarks.
Over the years, many have spoken out about what makes America such a remarkable country. These statements are patriotic, inspiring, and thought-provoking. They reflect on our country’s long, unique history as the land of the free and home of the brave. And they show us what it means to be an American and have pride in this country’s values, including liberty, freedom, opportunity, and honesty.
In an era when it’s easy to find faults in this country’s current state of affairs, statements like these remind us of some of the reasons why America is so great after all.
Here’s our list of the 50 best quotes to help you celebrate the Fourth of July.
1. What is democracy?
“Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” – Abraham Lincoln
2. Leaders should practice what they preach.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” — Abraham Lincoln
3. How Ronald Reagan defines freedom.
“Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.” — Ronald Reagan
4. Seeing the power of unity.
“Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.” — John Dickinson
5. Land of the free, and home of the brave.
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” — Elmer Davis
6. What does America mean?
“America means opportunity, freedom, power.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
7. The relationship between liberty and honesty.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” — George Orwell
8. What is America?
“America, to me, is freedom.” — Willie Nelson
9. A reminder of where we came from.
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” — Harry S. Truman
10. Liberty is fueled by knowledge.
“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” — James Madison
11. Remember to be thankful for those who came before us.
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” — George S. Patton
12. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.
“With freedom comes responsibility.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
13. The winds of freedom transcend across the country.
“The winds that blow through the wide sky in these mounts, the winds that sweep from Canada to Mexico, from the Pacific to the Atlantic – have always blown on free men.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
14. Pride is a two-way street.
“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.” — Abraham Lincoln
15. Remember the value of liberty.
“Liberty is the breath of life to nations.” — George Bernard Shaw
16. We’re stronger when we’re united.
“One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, One Nation evermore!” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
17. America’s greatness is unparalleled.
“May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!” — Daniel Webster
18. Freedom doesn’t always come easily.
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
19. Remembering where our freedom came from.
“All we have of freedom, all we use or know -This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.” — Rudyard Kipling
20. Where does liberty come from?
“Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.” — Woodrow Wilson
21. The true meaning of country.
“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
22. Explaining what America stands for.
“America is hope. It is compassion. It is excellence. It is valor.” — Paul Tsongas
23. What is freedom?
“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” — Peter Marshall
24. Highlighting the uniqueness of America.
“America. It is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time.” — Thomas Wolfe
25. Getting to have a new beginning.
“The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation.” — Woodrow Wilson
26. What would the founding fathers think?
“Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness.” — Louis D. Brandeis
27. The best way to keep patriotism alive.
“It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism.” — J. Horace McFarland
28. Remembering our history through the flag.
“The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history.” — Woodrow Wilson
29. Reflecting on the American flag’s symbolism.
“The American flag is the symbol of our freedom, national pride and history.” — Mike Fitzpatrick
30. What is an American?
“The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor, and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.” — John F. Kennedy
31. Freedom gives us opportunities.
“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” — Albert Camus
32. Our own character can sometimes get in the way of progress.
“Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments. If we can get rid of the former, we may easily bear the latter.” — Benjamin Franklin
33. Liberty is worth fighting for.
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy
34. We work best when we are united.
“America is a tune. It must be sung together.” — Gerald Stanley Lee
35. Recognizing the equality of all of us.
“I am an American, free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit.” — Theodore Roosevelt
36. The value of our country.
“If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.” — Hamilton Fish
37. America is the land of opportunity.
“I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.” — Wendell Wilkie
38. High hopes for the future.
“Independence now and forever!” — Daniel Webster
39. Recognizing America’s solid foundation.
“America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination.” — Harry S. Truman
40. Ben Franklin’s American pride.
“Where liberty dwells, there is my country.” — Benjamin Franklin
41. How we earn freedom, according to Hillary Clinton.
“Freedom is never granted. It is earned by each generation.” — Hillary Clinton
42. What is our government founded on?
“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” — Thomas Jefferson
43. Why freedom is so important.
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” — William Faulkner
44. When our freedom is strongest.
“We are free, truly free, when we don’t need to rent our arms to anybody in order to be able to lift a piece of bread to our mouths.” — Ricardo Flores Magon
45. A dare from John Adams.
“Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.” — John Adams
46. Martin Luther King’s iconic decree.
“From every mountainside, let freedom ring.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
47. Patrick Henry’s famous ultimatum.
“Give me liberty or give me death!” — Patrick Henry
48. The key to freedom.
“Freedom lies in being bold.” — Robert Frost
49. Lincoln’s thoughts on why our government will endure.
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” — Abraham Lincoln
50. JFK’s unforgettable call to action.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” — John F. Kennedy
If you’re looking for a little inspiration, we’ve got the best quotes to share and savor. For quotes from the most inspiring celebs, activists, and poets, look no further! You might even find the quote that motivates the best parts of your life (and love!) forever.
Roman Chiarello is a writer and aspiring journalist who is committed to helping others. He currently attends Pace University and resides in New Jersey.