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Quotes by Abraham Lincoln

LINCOLN MEMORIAL AT NIGHT

Abraham Lincoln

1809-1865

16th President of the United States of America 1861-1865

Perhaps the most well-known president in history, along with Washington, Lincoln, became president when the union was vulnerable and divided to the point of civil war. A former lawyer who spent 8 years in the Illinois legislature, Lincoln served as the 16th president of the United States of America from 1861-1865. Unfortunately, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilks Booth immediately following the civil war. But not until after his Emancipation Proclamation, which he made on January 1, 1863. All slaves in the Confederate states were immediately and permanently free. This is what Fredrick Douglass had to say about Lincoln;

“In all my interviews with Mr. Lincoln, I was impressed with his entire freedom from popular prejudice against the colored race. He was the first great man that I talked to within the United States freely, who in no single instance reminded me of the difference between himself and myself, of the difference of color….”

Frederick Douglass

The more I read about Lincoln, the more I respect and admire him. His quotes are clever, sometimes witty, and full of wisdom. However, he had the most difficult task of preserving a nation with deep hatred and resentment between North and South, eventually resulting in civil war.


QUOTES


“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”


“Violence begins where knowledge ends.”


“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”


“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.’


“And 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.”


“Surely God would not have created such a being as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.”


“It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.”


“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.”


“And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”


“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”


“In regards 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 Savior 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 found portrayed in it.”

Abraham Lincoln

THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

November 19, 1863

“Four score 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.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – 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. “

Lincoln and son
Lincoln civil war

“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. 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!”


“Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, In all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.”


“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

Lincoln in army tent
Lincoln and soldiers

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”


“We must work earnestly in the best light He gives us.”


“Nations do not die from invasion; they die from internal rottenness.”


“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”


“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”


“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

FORD`S THEATRE
OUTSIDE FORD`S THEATRE

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”


“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”


“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.”


“I do not think I could myself, be brought to support a man for office, whom I knew to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion.”


“I am busily engaged in the study of the Bible. I believe it is God’s word because it finds me where I am.”

REWARD FOR LINCOLNS DEATH
FUNERAL MARCH FOR LINCOLN

“Those who are ready to sacrifice freedom for security ultimately will lose both.”


“If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it.”


“I am for liberty of conscience in its noblest, broadest, and highest sense. But I cannot give liberty of conscience to the pope and his followers, the papists, so long as they tell me, through all their councils, theologians, and canon laws that their conscience orders them to burn my wife, strangle my children, and cut my throat when they find their opportunity.”

HANGING THOSE RESPONSIBLE
PUBLIC HANGING

“I do the very best I can, I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If I’m wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make a difference.”


“I say ‘try’; if we never try, we shall never succeed.”


“It is a sin to be silent when it is your duty to protest.”


“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision.”


“The best time to stop a fight is before it starts.”


“The best vitamin for developing friends is B1.”


“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.”


“Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.”


“There has never been but one question in all civilization-how to keep a few men from saying to many men: You work and earn bread and we will eat it.”


“Let all Americans – let all lovers of liberty everywhere – join in the great and good work. If we do this, we shall not only have saved the Union; but we shall have so saved it, as to make, and to keep it, forever worthy of the saving.”


“Study the Constitution. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislatures, and enforced in courts of justice.”


“I am struggling to maintain the government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it.”


“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 up to what light I have.”


“I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.”


“We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.”


“If we exchange one dollar, we both have one dollar each. But if we exchange one good thought, we both have two good thoughts.”


“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.”


“The money power preys on the nation in times of peace, and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces, as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes.”


“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”


“The hen is the wisest of all the animal creation becauseshe never crackles until the egg is laid.”


“In the present civil war it is quite possible that God`s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party.”


“War at the best is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible.”


“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.”


“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out.”


“You cannot have the right to do what is wrong!”


“I would rather be a little nobody than to be an evil somebody.”


“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”


“Violence begins where knowledge ends.”


“Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought.”


Abraham Lincoln



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