35+ William McKinley Quotes about Integrity, Hope, and Peace

William McKinley was the 25th United States President who held office while the country was at war with the Spanish. He is the man who led the nation through the hardships of war and emerged victorious with a reputation as a global power!

He was an Ohio man who loved riding horses, fishing, and swimming. He attended Allegheny College but unfortunately had to drop out during the 1857 Panic. He worked as a teacher at the local school. Still, He later enrolled in the Union Army to contribute during the Civil War.

Once the war was over, he studied law and passed the bar exam to become a lawyer. That was the start of his career as a politician and a government official. As a member of the U.S.  House of Representatives for fourteen years and the governor of Ohio for two terms, McKinley polished his political skills before running for president.

His entire life is an inspirational journey, and his quotes motivate Americans to do better for the country. Here are some William McKinley quotes that will inspire those proud of their history!

Inspirational William McKinley Quotes

1.”The more profoundly we study this wonderful book [the Bible], and the more closely we observe its divine precept, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.” – William McKinley
2.”Strong hearts and helpful hands are needed, and, fortunately, we have them in every part of our beloved country.” – William McKinley
3.”The American flag has not been planted on foreign soil to acquire more territory but for humanity’s sake.” – William McKinley
4.”The liberty to make our laws does not give us the freedom nor the license to break our laws!” – William McKinley
5.”In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest.” – William McKinley
6.”That’s all a man can hope for during his lifetime – to set an example – and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history.” – William McKinley
7.”We cannot always do what is best, but we can do what is practical at the time.” – William McKinley
8.”War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed.” – William McKinley
9.”Unlike any other nation, here the people rule, and their will is the supreme law. It is sometimes sneeringly said by those who do not like free government that here we count heads. True, heads are counted, but brains also…” – William McKinley
10.”Expositions are the timekeepers of progress.” – William McKinley
11.”Without competition, we would be clinging to the clumsy antiquated processes of farming and manufacture and the methods of business of long ago, and the twentieth would be no further advanced than the eighteenth century.” – William McKinley

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Quotes by William McKinley about American reforms
12.”The mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation.” – William McKinley
13.”We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is Manifest Destiny.” – William McKinley
14.”The path of progress is seldom smooth. New things are often found hard to do. Our fathers found them so. We find them so. But are we not made better for the effort and sacrifice?” – William McKinley
15.”Let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not in conflict; and that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war.” – William McKinley
16.”Our differences are policies; our agreements, principles.” – William McKinley
17.”The most popular systems are those that apply a disciplined, systematic technique…The hardest part for investors is finding a system that fits their lifestyle, and that is a critically important component.” – William McKinley
18.”We cannot gamble with anything so sacred as money.” – William McKinley
19.”Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial and who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps.” – William McKinley
20.”The best way for the Government to maintain its credit is to pay as it goes-not by resorting to loans, but by keeping out of debt-through an adequate income secured by a system of taxation, external or internal, or both.” – William McKinley
21.”I went down on my knees and prayed to Almighty God for light and guidance, and one night later, it came to me this way. We could not leave (the Philippines) to themselves-they were unfit for self-government-and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was. There was nothing left for us to do but take them all and educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them.” – William McKinley

William McKinley quotes
22.”The more profoundly we study this wonderful Book, and the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.” – William McKinley
23.”I have already transmitted to Congress the report of the naval court of inquiry on the destruction of the battleship Maine in the harbor of Havana during the night of the fifteenth of February. The destruction of that noble vessel has filled the national heart with inexpressible horror. Two hundred and fifty-eight brave sailors and marines and two officers of our Navy, reposing in the fancied security of a friendly harbor, have been hurled to death, grief and want brought to their homes and sorrow to the nation.” – William McKinley
24.”I am for America because America is for the common people.” – William McKinley
25.”I have never been in doubt since I was old enough to think intelligently that I would someday be made President.” – William McKinley
26.”The free man cannot be long an ignorant man.” – William McKinley
27.”Illiteracy must be banished from the land if we shall attain that high destiny as the foremost of the enlightened nations of the world which, under Providence, we ought to achieve.” – William McKinley
28.”Half-heartedness never won a battle.” – William McKinley
29.”The people of this country want an industrial policy that is for America and Americans.” – William McKinley
30.”We go to war only to make peace. We never went to war with any other design. We carry the national conscience wherever we go.” – William McKinley
31.”The army of Grant and the army of Lee are together. They are one now in faith, in hope, in fraternity, in purpose, and in an invincible patriotism. And therefore, the country is in no danger. In justice strong, in peace secure, and in devotion to the flag all one.” – William McKinley
32.”Finally, it should be the earnest wish and paramount aim of the military administration to win the confidence, respect, and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring them in every possible way that full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of free peoples, and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule.” – William McKinley
33.”Cuba ought to be free and independent, and the government should be turned over to the Cuban people.” – William McKinley

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Quotes by William McKinley
34.”The American people, entrenched in freedom at home, take their love for it with them wherever they go.” – William McKinley
35.”Our earnest prayer is that God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness, and peace to all our neighbors, and like blessings to all the peoples and powers of the earth.” – William McKinley
36.”I do not prize the word cheap. It is not a word of inspiration. It is the badge of poverty, the signal of distress. Cheap merchandise means cheap men, and cheap men mean a cheap country.” – William McKinley
37.”What in the world had Grover Cleveland done? Will you tell me? You give it up? I have been looking for six weeks for a Democrat who could tell me what Cleveland has done for the good of his country and for the benefit of the people, but I have not found him. He says himself that two-thirds of his time has been uselessly spent with Democrats who want office. Now he has been so occupied in that way that he has not done anything else.” – William McKinley

William McKinley: Annex Like the Dickens (1897 – 1901)

William McKinley ushered in a new era for America, one of imperialism that would foreshadow things to come. He was also the third president to be assassinated. He manufactured a reason to go to war; he strengthened the government. Now, this sounds like some 20th-century stuff! Let’s see how his presidency really was the dawn of a new era.


These William McKinley quotes are for those who believe in the great American dream and share his beliefs! His efforts to reform the nation introduced America as a world power, and the leadership he showed during the Spanish-American War played a significant role in the nation’s history. A man who inspired many during his lifetime continues to inspire with his words today!

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Image Credits

Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Copyright by Barnett McFee Clinedinst (1862-1953), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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