• “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows …

“… Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'”

— Article II, Section 1, U.S. Constitution

• “Among the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order … The magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies.”

— George Washington, first inaugural address, April 30, 1789

• “I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any action, whose motives may not be subject to a double interpretation. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.”

— Washington, 1790

• “No man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it. The honeymoon would be as short in that case as in any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be ransomed by years of torment and hatred.”

Thomas Jefferson

• “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”

— Abraham Lincoln, first inaugural address

• “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

• “Selling the presidency like cereal. Merchandising the presidency. How can you talk seriously about issues with half-minute spots?”

― Adlai Stevenson, Democratic candidate for president, 1952

• “‘The important thing is the presidency,’ Nixon continued. ‘If need be, save the presidency from the President.’”

― Bob Woodward, author, “The Final Days”

• “I ran because somebody had to do it first. In this country, everybody is supposed to be able to run for president, but that has never really been true.”

Shirley Chisholm, first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for president

• “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

— Theodore Roosevelt, May 1918

• “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”

― Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


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