Abraham Lincoln Quotes
Most popular Abraham Lincoln Quotes
When I am 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 about him and what he is going to say.
A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall. So with men, 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.
Onward and upward.
I was raised to farm work.
Human nature will not change.
Whatever you are, be a good one.
I am not an accomplished lawyer.
Everyone has a least one book in him.
The ballot is stronger than the bullet.
Freedom is the last, best hope of earth.
I'm a slow walker, but I never walk back.
Avoid popularity if you would have peace.
Bad promises are better broken than kept.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.
I will prepare and some day my chance will come.
If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.
Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.
Think of strangers as friends you have not met yet.
A friend is a man who has the same enemies you have.
To ease another 's heartache is to forget one's own.
I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.
What kills the skunk is the publicity it gives itself.
I have no wealthy or popular relations to recommend me.
Would God show His will for me to others and not to me?
It is best not to swap horses while crossing the river.
Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.
He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.
No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.
We shall meanly lose or nobly save the last hope of earth.
Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived.
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?
Tact: the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.
My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.
We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.
God must have loved the common people, he made so many of them.
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.
There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.
Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.
The power of hope upon human exertion, and happiness, is wonderful.
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
I must, in candor, say I do not think myself fit for the Presidency.
No man is good enough to govern another without the other's consent.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me.
Military glory --the attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood.
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.
I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.
I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.
No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.
I can make a General in five minutes but a good horse is hard to replace.
Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of a man I ever met.
Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.
It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.
People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.
Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.
The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.
We know nothing of what will happen in future, but by the analogy of experience.
When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance.
I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.
With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Honest statesmanship is the wise employment of individual meannesses for the public good.
Public sentiment is everything; with it nothing can fail, without it nothing can succeed.
I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.
As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
We want, and must have, a national policy, as to slavery, which deals with it as being wrong.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
I do the very best I know how — the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end.
I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.
What is conservatism? Is it not the adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried?
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
To give the victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary.
He who molds the public sentiment... makes statues and decisions possible or impossible to make.
I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.
Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.
The cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end of one, or even one hundred defeats.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.
It will not do to investigate the subject of religion too closely, as it is apt to lead to infidelity.
When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.
The fiery trials through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation.
If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.
Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.
Must a government be too strong for the liberties of its people or too weak to maintain its own existence?
My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age; and he grew up, literally without education.
He who does something at the head of one Regiment, will eclipse him who does nothing at the head of a hundred.
Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them.
I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country's cause.
I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual.
Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views, and boldest action to bring it speedy relief.
We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise.
In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.
That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.
My wife is as handsome as when she was a girl, and I...fell in love with her; and what is more, I have never fallen out.
If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.
Dont interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.
The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.
Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time.
Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.
The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do, without a thought of fame.
These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.
God gave man a mouth to receive bread, hands to feed it, and his hand has a right to carry bread to his mouth without controversy.
If all do not join now to save the good old ship of the Union this voyage nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage.
Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?
I am struggling to maintain the government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it.
God bless the Methodist Church — bless all the churches — and blessed be God, Who, in this our great trial, giveth us the churches.
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this [war], as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.
The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.
I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. What I have done since then is pretty well known.
Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.
What has once happened, will invariably happen again, when the same circumstances which combined to produce it, shall again combine in the same way.
Having thus chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts.
It is my pleasure that my children are free and happy, and unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to bind a child to its parents.
We accepted this war for an object, a worthy object, and the war will end when that object is attained. Under God, I hope it never will until that time.
Others have been made fools of by the girls; but, this can never be with truth said of me. I most emphatically, in this instance, made a fool of myself.
All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.
What would you do in my position? Would you drop the war where it is? Or, would you prosecute it in future, with elderstalk squirts, charged with rose water?
Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things that are not crimes.
Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself.
That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
I do not understand that because I do not want a Negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I can just let her alone.
I have come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying, and for this reason, I can never be satisfied with anyone who would be blockheaded enough to have me.
And then, the Negro being doomed, and damned, and forgotten, to everlasting bondage, is the white man quite certain that the tyrant demon will not turn upon him too?
I freely acknowledge myself the servant of the people, according to the bond of service — the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them.
In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it.
Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.
I do not deny the possibility that the people may err in an election; but if they do, the true [cure] is in the next election, and not in the treachery of the person elected.
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
But, slavery is good for some people! As a good thing, slavery is strikingly peculiar, in this, that it is the only good thing which no man ever seeks the good of, for himself.
Our eldest boy, Bob, has been away from us nearly a year at school, and will enter Harvard University this month. He promises very well, considering we never controlled him much.
While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty.
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.
I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned. My mind is like a piece of steel—very hard to scratch anything on it, and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out.
I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If he has a place and work for me and I think He has I believe I am ready.
With [the Union saved] its form of government is saved to the world; its beloved history, and cherished memories, are vindicated; and its happy future fully assured, and rendered inconceivably grand.
This is a world of compensation; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.
Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.
But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
Take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good.
I am not a very sentimental man; and the best sentiment I can think of is, that if you collect the signatures of all persons who are no less distinguished than I, you will have a very undistinguishing mass of names.
There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost everything, especially of government policy, is an inseparable compound of the two, so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.
My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.
Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.
Whatever woman may cast her lot with mine, should any ever do so, it is my intention to do all in my power to make her happy and contented; and there is nothing I can imagine, that would make me more unhappy than to fail in the effort.
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.
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
There is an important sense in which government is distinctive from administration. One is perpetual; the other is temporary and changeable. A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration.
The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man's 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.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. When ever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.
We must believe that He permits it [this war] for some wise purpose of his own, mysterious and unknown to us; and though with our limited understandings we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that he who made the world still governs it.
The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
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.
Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable—a most sacred right—a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.
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.
Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy, but my friend, these I reckon will give you a good lift.
Mr. Clay's lack of a more perfect early education, however it may be regretted generally, teaches at least one profitable lesson; it teaches that in this country, one can scarcely be so poor, but that, if he will, he can acquire sufficient education to get through the world respectably.
Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in. That everyone may receive at least a moderate education appears to be an objective of vital importance.
I certainly know that if the war fails, the administration fails, and that I will be blamed for it, whether I deserve it or not. And I ought to be blamed, if I could do better. You think I could do better; therefore you blame me already. I think I could not do better; therefore I blame you for blaming me.
Honor to the Soldier, and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his countrys cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field, and serves, as he best can, the same cause honor to him, only less than to him, who braves, for the common good, the storms of heaven and the storms of battle.
I will say then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people.
In regard to this great book [the Bible], I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.
Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon, and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that, among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case, and pay the cost.
In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it.
The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace whose joyous expression can not be restrained. In the midst of this, however, He, from Whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated.
In a certain sense, and to a certain extent, he [the President] is the representative of the people. He is elected by them, as well as Congress is. But can he, in the nature [of] things, know the wants of the people, as well as three hundred other men, coming from all the various localities of the nation? If so, where is the propriety of having a Congress?
Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.
That I am not a member of any Christian church is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular....I do not think I could myself be brought to support a man for office whom I knew to be an open enemy of, or scoffer at, religion.
This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, all that a man hath will he give for his life; and while all contribute of their substance the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his countrys cause. The highest merit, then, is due to the soldier.
I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges. Let it be written in primers, spelling books, and in almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in the courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.
If I were to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best that I know how, the very best that 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 won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, then angels swearing that I was right would make no difference.
We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and 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.
If the policy of the government, upon vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the people will have ceased, to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there, in this view, any assault upon the court, or the judges. It is a duty, from which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly brought before them; and it is no fault of theirs, if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.
My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.