"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."
by:
George Washington
(1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'
Source:
1789 - letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, Ref: Maxims of George Washington, Schroeder, ed. (37)
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Reader comments about this quote:
To extend through diplomacy and non-entangling alliances; to express through philosophy and reason the normative relationship of how things should/can be. Damn to hell the neoconservative jargon of creating phantom enemies to promote national unity and morality. What we say and do in life will stir in the remembrance of countless generations yet unborn; let us give them a more free world than was given us, wherein they may be free from tyranny and free to express themselves and their property in any way they desire as long as they remember to never infringe upon another's ability of the same.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    I agree with this quote.
     -- Guess Who ?     
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    I am a Believer in America and its' philosophy. I don't believe that the teachings of the founders are just for the benefit of narrow nationalism but for the benefit of all humanity. Thus freedom, human rights, democracy should be preached from these shores to go around the world. After all if the principles are true and work for us they should work for others and bring them happiniss also. If they are happy maybe they won't have to come here to find it. All the above having been said it scares me that this could also be a mantra of radical Islam "to extend his views beyond himself". I guess you are right Logan the secret is diplomacy and reason and not the sword and fear. If something (idea, concept, method) is good and its originators know it is and are optimistic boosters then it will spread around the world. Look at the world brands created by American ingenuity; McDonalds, Wal-Mart etcetera. I am still not sure that most of world resents us however they may be jealous in that they want the same political and economic freedom that we have for themselves.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Logan, very good - the more we extend the philosophy of reason and kindness, a universal religion that has no boundaries, the more we will experience each others hearts and through that process be less likely to pick up the sword of terror, fundamentalism and fear mongers.
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    I would take this a step further..."Its the highest duty of every patriot to keep his goverment in check." I don't know who said that.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    If only America exported the type of freedom our Founders fought for. Waffler is a good example -- he agrees with the quote and yet doesn't realize that his views (like those of Islam) are not those that formed the free and independent united States.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    An excellant maxim
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
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    Yes, the way a president behaves has ramifications. President George W. Bush is leaving a legacy of distrust, dishonesty, and an abominable inability to understand how to conduct himself in public. I am thoroughly ashamed that he is my president and I voted for this bully in 2000. Never again!
     -- A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL     
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    I love Washington, his intellect, his compassion and his love for the country he labored so much to establish. His philosophy is founded in Christian principle. The brotherhood of mankind and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". What we do definitely comes back to us and our posterity. Our actions definitely affect those around us. I wish that people could truly understand the responsibility that we have to each other and the consequences of failing to live up to that responsibility. Wise Father Washington, forgive us for we know not what we do. God help us!
     -- Andy, Logan     
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