Looking for inspirational Barack Obama quotes from his speeches, interviews and books?
Barack Obama has accomplished things that most people can only dream of.
He was the first African American to assume the presidency and served for two terms.
Obama is also a bestselling author and philanthropist.
According to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, 61% of Americans say that racial and ethnic discrimination is a big problem in the United States.
This statistic supports Obama’s quote, “The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own,” and highlights the continued need for progress towards equality and justice.
Who is Barack Obama?
Barack Obama came from humble beginnings before rising up to be one of the most powerful people in the world.
During his youth, Obama played basketball and took his studies seriously.
Due to his intelligence and hard work, he achieved a full scholarship to Harvard University.
After graduating at the top of his class, Obama became a journalist in New York City.
Barack Obama recognized that he could become a successful journalist if he worked his way up the ladder.
He was a skilled writer and a hard worker.
However, he had different ambitions.
He knew that he could make a difference through politics.
Before getting into politics, he lectured at the University of Chicago.
During this time, he also worked on his first book, Dreams from My Father, a memoir about Obama’s past and the influence his race had on his life.
He also served on the board of a law firm.
Barack Obama had his eyes on the White House for years.
He was determined to make a difference in the world and knew that being the president of the United States would be the best way to make an impact.
He became the “people’s candidate”.
He had a very high approval rating and received record-breaking amounts of campaign funds.
While the election against John McCain seemed close in the beginning, Barack Obama comfortably defeated him and became president of the United States.
He proceeded to beat Mitt Romney, thus securing his second term in office.
Looking for Barack Obama quotes?
Whether you agree with his politics or not, you have to admire his success story.
In that light, we hope you get some new insights through these Barack Obama quotes.
Also check out these wise presidential quotes from past presidents.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Our inspirational quote category page has even more inspirational and educational quotes.
Barack Obama quotes about hope
According to a 2019 study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2020, 65% of all jobs in the United States will require some form of postsecondary education and training.
This statistic supports Obama’s quote, “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom,” and highlights the increasing importance of higher education and training in the modern workforce.
1. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
2. “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that’s not what America’s about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don’t contract them.” – Barack Obama
3. “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” – Barack Obama
4. “We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.” – Barack Obama
5. “We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.” – Barack Obama
6. “The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” – Barack Obama
7. “Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.” – Barack Obama
8. “It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label.” – Barack Obama
9. “There is probably a perverse pride in my administration…that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.” – Barack Obama
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of marketing quotes about getting your message out there.
10. “I began feeling the way I imagine an actor or athlete must feel when, after years of commitment to a particular dream…he realizes that he’s gone just about as far as talent or fortune will take him. The dream will not happen, and he now faces the choice of accepting this fact like a grownup and moving on to more sensible pursuits, or refusing the truth and ending up bitter, quarrelsome, and slightly pathetic.” – Barack Obama
Also check out these immigration quotes exploring the social issue.
Inspiring Barack Obama quotes on leadership and life
A 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 65% of Americans say that the federal government does not do enough to help poor people.
This statistic supports Obama’s quote, “We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything is possible,” and highlights the ongoing need for policies and programs to support and uplift disadvantaged communities.
11. “I think what you’re seeing is a profound recognition on the part of the American people that gays and lesbians and transgender persons are our brothers, our sisters, our children, our cousins, our friends, our co-workers, and that they’ve got to be treated like every other American. And I think that principle will win out.” – Barack Obama
12. “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists – to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.” – Barack Obama
13. “When we don’t pay close attention to the decisions made by our leaders, when we fail to educate ourselves about the major issues of the day, when we choose not to make our voices and opinions heard, that’s when democracy breaks down. That’s when power is abused. That’s when the most extreme voices in our society fill the void that we leave. That’s when powerful interests and their lobbyists are most able to buy access and influence in the corridors of power – because none of us are there to speak up and stop them.” – Barack Obama
14. “Participation in public life doesn’t mean that you all have to run for public office – though we could certainly use some fresh faces in Washington. But it does mean that you should pay attention and contribute in any way that you can. Stay informed. Write letters, or make phone calls on behalf of an issue you care about. If electoral politics isn’t your thing, continue the tradition so many of you started here at Michigan and find a way to serve your community and your country – an act that will help you stay connected to your fellow citizens and improve the lives of those around you.” – Barack Obama
15. “Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction.” – Barack Obama
16. “In a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy.” – Barack Obama
17. “On every front, there are clear answers out there that can make this country stronger, but we’re going to break through the fear and the frustration people are feeling. Our job is to make sure that even as we make progress, that we are also giving people a sense of hope and vision for the future.” – Barack Obama
18. “With patient and firm determination, I am going to press on for jobs. I’m going to press on for equality. I’m going to press on for the sake of our children. I’m going to press on for the sake of all those families who are struggling right now. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I am going to press on.” – Barack Obama
19. “We didn’t become the most prosperous country in the world just by rewarding greed and recklessness. We didn’t come this far by letting the special interests run wild. We didn’t do it just by gambling and chasing paper profits on Wall Street. We built this country by making things, by producing goods we could sell.” – Barack Obama
20. “In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.” – Barack Obama
More Barack Obama quotes about education and change
According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, leaders who are able to inspire hope in their followers are more likely to be viewed as effective and trustworthy.
This suggests that Obama’s message of hope may have played a role in his success as a leader, both in his political career and beyond.
21. “The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” – Barack Obama
22. “The thing about hip-hop today is it’s smart, it’s insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable.” – Barack Obama
23. “Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,’ he said, his voice rising as applause and cheers mounted. ‘Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.” – Barack Obama
24. “Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.” – Barack Obama
25. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.” – Barack Obama
Barack Obama quotes that will elevate your thinking
A survey conducted by YouGov found that Barack Obama is one of the most quoted living people, with many people sharing his quotes on social media and in other online forums.
This indicates that there is already a built-in audience for Obama’s words of wisdom, making them a potentially popular topic for articles and social media posts.
26. “My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn’t, couldn’t end there. At least that’s what I would choose to believe.” – Barack Obama
27. “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.” – Barack Obama
28. “I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the emperor of the United States.” – Barack Obama
29. “Change is never easy, but always possible.” – Barack Obama
30. “The cynics may be the loudest voices – but I promise you, they will accomplish the least.” – Barack Obama
31. “You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.” – Barack Obama
32. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.” — Barack Obama
33. “We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it.” — Barack Obama
If you’re enjoying this article, make sure to also check out these quotes by famous people about life, love and success.
Barack Obama quotes to inspire and teach
According to a study conducted by Gallup, Barack Obama was consistently rated as one of the most admired men in America during his time in office.
This suggests that his message of hope and his leadership style were viewed positively by many Americans.
34. “In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?” – Barack Obama
35. “If you run you stand a chance of losing, but if you don’t run you’ve already lost.” — Barack Obama
36. “The value of social movements and activism is to get you at the table, get you in the room, and then to start trying to figure out how is this problem going to be solved.” — Barack Obama
37. “I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.” — Barack Obama
38. “Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled.” ― Barack Obama
39. “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” — Barack Obama
40. “If you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like or who you love.”— Barack Obama
41. “Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep asking why. Don’t settle for what you already know. Never stop believing in the power of your ideas, your imagination, your hard work to change the world.” — Barack Obama
42. “We are the change we have been waiting for.” ― Barack Obama
Other insightful Barack Obama quotes
43. “We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer – our homeland more secure, our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation.” – Barack Obama
44. “Michelle’s like Beyoncé in that song. ‘Let me upgrade ya!’ She upgraded me.” — Barack Obama
45. “We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up.” — Barack Obama
46. “What Washington needs is adult supervision.” – Barack Obama
47. “Where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.” — Barack Obama
48. “You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig.” ― Barack Obama
49. “When times get tough, we don’t give up. We get up.” — Barack Obama
50. “We may not be able to stop evil in the world, but how we treat one another is entirely up to us.” ― Barack Obama
Barrack Obama quotes we can relate to
51. “Why can’t I just eat my waffle?” — Barack Obama
52. “I’m a warrior for the middle class.” — Barack Obama
53. “I just miss – I miss being anonymous.” — Barack Obama
54. “I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” — Barack Obama
55. “Issues are never simple. One thing I’m proud of is that very rarely will you hear me simplify the issues.” — Barack Obama
56. “We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.” — Barack Obama
57. “My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.” — Barack Obama
58. “We proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things and tackling our biggest challenges.” — Barack Obama
59. “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America – there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America – there’s the United States of America.” — Barack Obama
60. “Now, as a nation, we don’t promise equal outcomes, but we were founded on the idea everybody should have an equal opportunity to succeed. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you can make it. That’s an essential promise of America. Where you start should not determine where you end up.” — Barack Obama
What are your favorite Barack Obama quotes?
Barack Obama is known for being different than most politicians.
He emphasized that he was going to work to change things for the better throughout his campaign and presidency.
Though Congress turned down many of his laws, he passed important bills, including the health care reform.
He also removed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military, gave marriage rights to all, raised minimum wage, and worked to release nonviolent criminals to give them another chance at life.
What other Barack Obama quotes would you add to the list?