On this Inauguration Day 2017, let us find hope and resilience in the wisdom of former leaders:



F r a n k l i n   R o o s e v e l t
32nd President of the United States

“First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
“This great nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and prosper.”

—first inaugural address, March 4, 1933,
delivered in the depths of the Great Depression

“Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights, then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.”

—fourth inaugural address, January 20, 1945,
at the height of World War II



A b r a h a m   L i n c o l n
16th President of the United States

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.”

first inaugural address, March 4, 1861,
on the eve of the Civil War

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

—second inaugural address, March 4, 1865,
in the closing days of the Civil War



N e l s o n   M a n d e l a
First Black President of South Africa

“I am fundamentally an optimist.

Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

—from Long Walk to Freedom, his autobiography



E d w a r d   M.   K e n n e d y
United States Senator

“The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives,
and the dream shall never die.”

—from his concession speech at the Democratic National Convention,
August 12, 1980


Images: FDR delivers his first inaugural address; Lincoln as photographed by Matthew Brady, 1860; Mandela as featured in’s “19 Inspirational Quotes from Nelson Mandela”; Kennedy delivers his concession speech at the DNC.


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