10 of John McCain’s best quotes on courage, happiness, and character

John McCain.

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John McCain.
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Joshua Lott/Getty Images

  • John McCain – two-time presidential candidate, war hero, and senator – died in August 2018.
  • Since his death, President Donald Trump has continued to mock and deride McCain, drawing the condemnation of fellow Republicans.
  • Throughout his life, McCain had many inspirational quotes on what it means to be American, how to be truly happy, and why it’s important to stand up for what you believe in. Here are 10 of his best.

Sen. John McCain, who served in the Senate since 1987, died in August at the age of 81.

Since then, President Donald Trump, who feuded with McCain in life, has continued to disparage the war hero in death. The president is still upset that the Arizona senator turned over a largely uncorroborated dossier full of explosive allegations about Trump and Russia to the FBI in December 2016.

Read more: John McCain describes how he received the Steele dossier that contains the most salacious allegations about Trump and Russia, and why he gave it to the FBI

Here are 10 of the Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate’s best quotes on courage, happiness, and character.


On fighting for a cause:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.”


On the nature of Americans:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“Americans Never Quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We Make History.”


On glory:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you.”


On courage:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.”


On character and happiness:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“It is your character, and your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy.”


On power:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed.”


On the importance of shared values:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“Our shared values define us more than our differences. And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again.”


On America’s greatest strength:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“America’s greatest strength has always been its hopeful vision of human progress.”


On political differences:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“Our political differences, now matter how sharply they are debated, are really quite narrow in comparison to the remarkably durable national consensus on our founding convictions.”


On America:

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Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

“We are a country with a conscience.”