Independence Day, or the Fourth of July as it’s more commonly spoke of, celebrates the day as it occurred in 1776, when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. From that day onward, the 13 colonies, which made up most of the East Coast from Massachusetts to Georgia, were on their way to becoming a sovereign nation and the first states in the United States.
Today, we celebrate that monumental moment in U.S. history with barbecues, fireworks, and a good day trip to the beach — a far cry from what our founding fathers would have done. It’s easy to forget why we celebrate Independence Day, so here are some patriotic, inspirational quotes that will make you proud to be an American.
1. “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” — Erma Bombeck
2. “The United States is the only country with a known birthday.” — James G. Blaine
3. “I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.” — Wendell L. Wilkie
4. "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." — Benjamin Franklin
5. "May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!" — Daniel Webster
6. "So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring." — Martin Luther King Jr.
7. "In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
8. “As mankind become more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community, are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America amongst the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.” — George Washington
9. "But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations ... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution." — John Adams
10. “America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact - the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality.” — Adlai Stevenson
11. “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
12. “Freedom lies in being bold.” — Robert Frost
13. “My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” — Thomas Jefferson
14. “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself” — Thomas Paine
15. "Courage, then, my countrymen, our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty." — Samuel Adams
16. “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.” — William Faulkner
17. “For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
18. “Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.” — Herbert Hoover
19. "Happily for America, happily, we trust, for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society." — James Madison
20. "This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith." — Lyndon B. Johnson