Quotes by Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 April 15, 1865), sometimes called Abe Lincoln and nicknamed Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter, and the Great Emancipator, was the 16th President of the United States (1861 to 1865), and the first ... more

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These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.

Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition.
Lincoln’s Letter to his Son’s Teacher He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero; that for every selfish Politician, there is a dedicated leader… Teach him for every enemy there is a friend, Steer him away from envy, if you can, teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to lick… Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books… But also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and the flowers on a green hillside. In the school teach him it is far honourable to fail than to cheat… Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong… Teach him to be gentle with gentle people, and tough with the tough. Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the band wagon… Teach him to listen to all men… but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through. Teach him if you can, how to laugh when he is sad… Teach him there is no shame in tears, Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness… Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul. Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob and to stand and fight if he thinks he’s right. Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel. Let him have the courage to be impatient… let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will have sublime faith in mankind. This is a big order, but see what you can do… He is such a fine little fellow, my son!
That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.
The victor shall soon be the vanquished, if he relax in his exertion; and that the vanquished this year, may be victor the next, in spite of all competition.
You may burn my body to ashes, and scatter them to the winds of heaven; you may drag my soul down to the regions of darkness and despair to be tormented forever; but you will never get me to support a measure which I believe to be wrong, although by doing so I may accomplish that which I believe to be right.
Whenever [I] hear any one, arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society.
I have very large ideas of the mineral wealth of our Nation. I believe it practically inexhaustible. It abounds all over the western country, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, and its development has scarcely commenced. Immigration, which even the war has not stopped, will land upon our shores hundred of thousands more per year from overcrowded Europe. I intend to point them to the gold and silver that waits for them in the West. Tell the miners from me, that I shall promote their interests to the utmost of my ability; because their prosperity is the prosperity of the Nation, and we shall prove in a very few years that we are indeed the treasury of the world.
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
I think very much of the people, as an old friend said he thought of woman. He said when he lost his first wife, who had been a great help to him in his business, he thought he was ruinedthat he could never find another to fill her place. At length, however, he married another, who he found did quite as well as the first, and that his opinion now was that any woman would do well who was well done by. So I think of the whole people of this nationthey will ever do well if well done by. We will try to do well by them in all parts of the country, North and South, with entire confidence that all will be well with all of us.
We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart.
Beware of rashness, but with energy, and sleepless vigilance, go forward and give us victories.
A house divided against itself cannot stand -- I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.
When I'm getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say.
We must ask where we are and whither we are tending.
Honest statesmanship is the wise employment of individual meanness for the public good.
Few can be induced to labor exclusively for posterity; and none will do it enthusiastically. Posterity has done nothing for us; and theorize on it as we may, practically we shall do very little for it, unless we are made to think we are at the same time doing something for ourselves.
The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts.
I'm a slow walker, but I never walk back.
Whether or not the world would be vastly benefited by a total banishment from it of all intoxicating drinks seems not now an open question. Three-fourths of mankind confess the affirmative with their tongues, and I believe all the rest acknowledge it in their hearts.
Friends, I agree with you in Providence; but I believe in the Providence of the most men, the largest purse, and the longest cannon.
What kills the skunk is the publicity it gives itself.
Seriously, I do not think I fit for the presidency.
He who molds the public sentiment... makes statues and decisions possible or impossible to make.
Slavery is founded on the selfishness of man's nature -- opposition to it on his love of justice. These principles are in eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely as slavery extension brings them, shocks and throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow.
In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.
With public sentiment is everything, with it nothing can fail, without it nothing can succeed.
A jury too often has at least one member more ready to hang the panel than to hang the traitor.
The fiery trials through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation.
I desire to so conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.
The sense of obligation to continue is present in all of us. A duty to strive is the duty of us all. I felt a call to that duty.
Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.
If I care to listen to every criticism, let alone act on them, then this shop may as well be closed for all other businesses. I have learned to do my best, and if the end result is good then I do not care for any criticism, but if the end result is not good, then even the praise of ten angels would not make the difference.
What I do say is that no man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.
It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time and will ever continue to struggle. It is the same spirit that says, You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.
If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.
Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.
If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what you will, is the great high-road to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause.
To correct the evils, great and small, which spring from want of sympathy and from positive enmity among strangers, as nations or as individuals, is one of the highest functions of civilization.
Every person is responsible for his own looks after 40.
The Lord prefers common looking people. That is why he made so many of them.
I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.
As our case is new, we must think and act anew.
A man is about as happy as he makes his mind up to be.
Nearly all men can stand adversity. If you want to test a man's character, give him power.
He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero; that for every selfish Politician, there is a dedicated leader… Teach him for every enemy there is a friend, Steer him away from envy, if you can, teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to lick… Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books… But also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and the flowers on a green hillside. In the school teach him it is far honourable to fail than to cheat… Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong… Teach him to be gentle with gentle people, and tough with the tough. Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the band wagon… Teach him to listen to all men… but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through. Teach him if you can, how to laugh when he is sad… Teach him there is no shame in tears, Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness… Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul. Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob and to stand and fight if he thinks he’s right. Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel. Let him have the courage to be impatient… let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will have sublime faith in mankind. This is a big order, but see what you can do… He is such a fine little fellow, my son!
Among free men there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet.
We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing.
As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].
The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.
The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another mans right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in cases of conflict, the man before the dollar.
What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.
I do the very best I know howthe very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me wont amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
I could as easily bail out the Potomac River with a teaspoon as attend to all the details of the army.
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: And this, too, shall pass away. How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride!how consoling in the depth of affliction!
All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.