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Jimmy Carter’s Quotes Are Inspiring: Read His Messages on Leadership, Peace, Humanity and More

The 39th president of the United States is known for his eloquent speeches and communication

In an era known for political differences, the vast majority can agree that Jimmy Carter – the 39th president of the United States – is a national treasure. Known for his humanitarian approach to politics as well as his work outside of the White House, Carter solidified himself early on as a gifted speaker, sharing memorable quotes on leadership, peace, humanity and more throughout his public life. As the status of health continues to slow down at the age of 99, we look back at Carter’s best messages, many of which posited hope as the guiding force.

Jimmy Carter’s quotes on leadership

  • “My position has always been, along with many other people, that any differences be resolved in a nonviolent way.”
  • “We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength.”
  • “Women are key agents of the changes we need.”
  • “In our democracy, the only title higher and more powerful than that of president is the title of citizen. It is every citizen’s right and duty to help shape the future legacy of our nation.”
  • “Ours was the first nation to be founded on the idea that all are created equal and all deserve equal treatment under the law. Despite our missteps and shortcomings, these ideals still inspire hope among the oppressed and give us pride in being Americans.”
  • “Tremendous progress can be made if we persevere through difficult challenges.”
  • “Each of us citizens, especially in a democracy, must examine ourselves—individually and as a nation—to see how we can improve. We do this not with condemnation, but constructively.”
  • “We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”
  • “A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained.”
  • “Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent.”

Jimmy Carter’s quotes on peace

  • “Everyone has a right to peaceful coexistence, the basic personal freedoms, the alleviation of suffering, and the opportunity to lead a productive life.”
  • “We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes and we must.”
  • “It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”
  • “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”
  • “We cannot be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of the weapons of war.”
  • “On balance, my life has been a constant stream of blessings rather than disappointments and failures and tragedies. I wish I had been re-elected. I think I could have kept our country at peace.”
  • “I think the basic elevation of peace and human rights to the top of our priority list will submerge war and animosity and hatred and persecution to a very low level.”
  • “When I was in the White House, I was confronted with the challenge of the Cold War. Both the Soviet Union and I had 30,000 nuclear weapons that could destroy the entire earth and I had to maintain the peace.”
  • “I’ve used the prestige and influence of having been a president of the United States as effectively as possible. And secondly, I’ve still been able to carry out my commitments to peace and human rights and environmental quality and freedom and democracy and so forth.”
  • “History teaches, perhaps, very few clear lessons. But, surely, one such lesson learned by the world at great cost is that aggression, unopposed, becomes a contagious disease.”

Jimmy Carter’s quotes on humanity

  • “We have a tendency to condemn people who are different from us, to define their sins as paramount and our own sinfulness as being insignificant.”
  • “Failure is a reality; we all fail at times, and it’s painful when we do. But it’s better to fail while striving for something wonderful, challenging, adventurous, and uncertain than to say, ‘I don’t want to try because I may not succeed completely.”
  • “The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices.”
  • “Let us learn together and laugh together and work together and pray together, confident that in the end, we will triumph together in the right.”
  • “We have to inspire our children and grandchildren to take on challenges and risks that at first may seem to be overwhelming, or even impossible. They need to understand that the only failure is not trying.”
  • “The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens.”
  • “Sometimes we face potential failure, and we have to remember to try any way to find a way to reach our goal. We can overcome many global problems and build a better world if we all work together as a community.”
  • “You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.”
  • “To be true to ourselves, we must be true to others.”
  • “It’s not necessary to fear the prospect of failure but to be determined not to fail.”

Jimmy Carter’s quotes on faith

  • “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”
  • “We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon.”
  • “God always answers prayers. Sometimes it’s ‘yes.’ Sometimes the answer is ‘no.’ Sometimes it’s ‘you gotta be kidding.'”
  • “I believe that anyone can be successful in life, regardless of natural talent or the environment within which we live. This is not based on measuring success by human competitiveness for wealth, possessions, influence, and fame, but adhering to God’s standards of truth, justice, humility, service, compassion, forgiveness, and love.”
  • “You only have to have two loves in your life: for God, and for the person in front of you at any particular time.”
  • “The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to work together for peace. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can make these changes and we must remember that there are many ways to accomplish our goals, together.”
  • “He explains the true character of the God of love and reassures us that ultimate power on earth will be good, not evil. It is through God and his Son that I strive to understand the world in which we live.”
  • “God is not my personal valet. God does not build a protective fence around my life, keep me from trouble, fulfill my personal desires, or guarantee my success. However, through prayer God offers me comfort, reassurance, satisfaction, courage, hope, and peace.”
  • “Those Christians who resist the inclination toward fundamentalism and who follow the nature, actions, and words of Jesus Christ should consider people who are different from us to be worthy of our care, generosity, forgiveness, compassion, and unselfish love.”
  • “There are three words that characterize … fundamentalism: pride, domination, and exclusion. In sharp contrast, Jesus espoused humility, servanthood of leaders, and breaking down walls between people.”

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