Quotations from President Washington to President Obama

Original National Motto

E pluribus unum. [From many, one.]

George Washington

“I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.”

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

Thomas Jefferson

“Shall we refuse to the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the [natives] of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe? .... might not the general character and capabilities of a citizen be safely communicated to everyone manifesting a bona fide purpose of embarking his life and fortunes permanently with us.”

Patrick Henry

“Make it [the United States] the home of the skillful, the industrious, the fortunate, the happy, as well as the asylum of the distressed ... Let but this, our celebrated goddess, Liberty, stretch forth her fair hand toward the people of the old world-tell them to come, and bid them welcome.”

John Jay

“The portals of the temple we have raised to freedom shall be thrown wide, as an asylum to mankind. America shall receive to her bosom and comfort and cheer the oppressed, the miserable and the poor of every nation and of every clime.”

Emma Lazarus (Engraved on the Statue of Liberty)

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Fellow immigrants ...”

“Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” (Address to Daughters of the American Revolution)

Archibald Macleish

“Races didn't bother the Americans. They were something a lot better than any race. They were a People. They were the first self-constituted, self-declared, self-created People in the history of the world.”

George W. Bush

“New Americans are not to be feared as strangers. They are to be welcomed as neighbors.”

Barack Obama

“This is our moment. This is our time — to ... reaffirm that fundamental truth — that out of many, we are one ....” (Victory Speech, November 4, 2008)

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; ...” (Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009)

“There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” (DNC Keynote Speech, July 27, 2004)

“I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” (DNC Keynote Speech, July 27, 2004)

Jack Paar

“Immigration is the sincerest form of flattery.”