Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
  • Born: February 12, 1809
  • Died: April 15, 1865
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: President

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Abraham Lincoln was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Zachariah Chandler President Lincoln is timid, vacillating, and inefficient.
Allen C. Guelzo History is neither a political fable in which all the brothers are valiant and all the sisters virtuous, nor is it a tabloid expose, full of crimes and follies, signifying nothing but victimization. There is, I must admit, a caustic delight in unveiling the frailties of our Jeffersons and our Lincolns, but the delight turns malevolent when it serves only to strip the American past of anything remarkable or exceptional, or when it demeans or discourages civic engagement and confidence.
Romain Nadal If we criticize the States, it's because we love the States. But we love a certain representation of the States. We love Lincoln. We love Kennedy. We love Roosevelt and the New Deal. We love the Founding Fathers. We love the creativity. We don't like the rifle association.
Bob Dole I tried to make the point to the [Nixon] White House that, as a party, we needed to demonstrate that we cared and were concerned about votes from African-Americans and Hispanics. I don't know where we lost track after Abraham Lincoln.
William Tecumseh Sherman Forty or fifty executions now would in the next twelve months save thousands of lives.
New York Times Lincoln owes a higher duty to the country…than to fritter away the priceless opportunities of the Presidency in listening to the appeals of competing office—hunters.
John G. Nicolay The crowd poured in as rapidly as the door would admit them, and many climbed in at the windows.
Richmond Enquirer The address was couched in the cool, unimpassioned, deliberate language of the fanatic…pursuing the promptings of fanaticism even to the dismemberment of the Government with the horrors of civil war.
James Buchanan If you are as happy, my dear sir, on entering the house as I am in leaving it and returning home, you are the happiest man in this country.
William H. Seward Disappointment! You speak to me of disappointment. To me, who was justly entitled to the Republican nomination for the presidency, and who had to stand aside and see it given to a little Illinois lawyer!
William H. Seward You are now public property, and ought to be where you can be reached by the people until you are inaugurated.
William Tecumseh Sherman Of all the men I have ever met, he seems to combine greatness with goodness more than any.
George Ashmun The war had been unnecessarily and unconstitutionally initiated by the president.
Carl Sandburg If it were possible to talk with that great, good man, he would probably say that he is perfectly willing that his face is to be placed on the cheapest and most common coin in the country. Follow the travels of the penny and you find it stops at many cottages and few mansions. ... The common, homely face of ‘Honest Abe’ will look good on the penny, the coin of the common folk from whom he came and to whom he belongs.
Stephen Douglas Mr. Lincoln is the next President. We must try to save the Union. I will go South.
Stephen Douglas I believe there is a conspiracy afoot to break up this Union. It is the duty of every good citizen to frustrate the scheme…if Lincoln is elected, he must be inaugurated.
Chicago Press and Tribune In his personal habits, Mr. Lincoln is as simple as a child…his food is plain and nutritious. He never drinks intoxicating liquors of any sort… He is not addicted to tobacco.
Doris Kearns Goodwin Lincoln, like Seward, had developed a cadre of lifelong friends who were willing to do anything in their power to ensure his nomination. But unlike Seward, he had not made enemies or aroused envy along the way.
Murat Halstead …the fact of the Convention was the defeat of Seward rather than the nomination of Lincoln.
Edward Bates …the nomination of Mr. Lincoln took everybody by surprise: it was brought about by accident or trick, by which my pledged friends had to vote against me… The thing was well planned and boldly executed.
Stephen Douglas If you desire negro citizenship, if you desire them to vote on an equality with yourselves, and to make them eligible to office, to serve on juries, and to adjudge your rights, then support Mr. Lincoln and the Black Republican party.
Stephen Douglas He distinguished himself by his opposition to the Mexican war, taking the side of the common enemy against his own country; and when he returned home he found that the indignation of the people followed him everywhere and he was again submerged or obliged to retire into private life, forgotten by his former friends. He came up again in 1854, just in time to make his Abolition or Black Republican platform, in company with Giddings, Lovejoy, Chase and Fred Douglas for the Republican party to stand upon.
Horace White Gesturing with his body and head rather than with his arms, he grew very impassioned and seemed transfigured. Then the inspiration that possessed him took possession of his hearers also. His speaking went to the heart because it came from the heart. I have heard celebrated orators who could start thunders of applause without changing any man’s opinion. Mr. Lincoln’s eloquence was of the higher type, which produced conviction in others because of the conviction in others because of the conviction of the speaker himself.
Will Rogers Ohio claims they are due a President as they haven't had one since Taft. Look at the United States, they haven't had one since Lincoln.
Zhu Rongji Abraham Lincoln, in order to maintain the unity of the United States...resorted to the use of force....so, I think Abraham Lincoln, president, is a model, is an example.
William H. Herndon Now let it be written in history and on Mr. Lincoln's tombstone: `He died an unbeliever.’
New York World He declared frequently that he would do anything to save the Union, and among the many things he did was the partial concealment of his individual religious opinions.
Alexander Walker Wayman This year Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States; and then the war clouds began to gather dark and heavy. The colored people were watched almost with sleepless vigilance.
Horace Greeley I do not intrude to tell you - for you must know already - that a great proportion of those who triumphed in your election, and of all who desire the unqualified suppression of the rebellion now desolating our country, are solely disappointed and deeply pained by the policy you seem to be pursuing with regard to the slaves of the Rebels. We think you are strangely and disastrously remiss in the discharge of your official and imperative duty with regard to the emancipating provisions of the new Confiscation Act. Those provisions were designed to fight slavery with liberty
Luther S. Dixon As not infrequently happens in the affairs of war, it is easier to point out mistakes after they are committed, than to see and avoid them amid the difficulties and dangers by which the military commander is at the moment surrounded.
Stephen S. Wise In his lifetime Lincoln was maligned and traduced, but detraction during a man's lifetime affords no test of his life's value nor offers any forecast of history's verdict. It would almost seem as if the glory of immortality were anticipated in the life of the great by detraction and denial whilst they yet lived.
Theodore Roosevelt If there is not the occasion, you don't get the great statesmen. If Lincoln had lived in peacetime, you would not know his name today.
Franklin Pierce Lincoln is to the extent of his limited ability and narrow intelligence the willing instrument of the Abolitionists for all the woe which has thus far been brought upon the Country and for all the degradation, all the atrocity, all the desolation and ruin.
Michael J. Quill We may very well be making history here ... in the presence of the man who is entrusted with the banner of American liberty that was taken from Lincoln when he was shot 95 years ago … Dr. King was almost stabbed to death, has been shot at, has been arrested more often than anybody in the United States, south and north … Dr. King’s life at this moment is in just as great danger as was Lincoln’s. And he has to walk with care if he is to continue to lead this crusade
Lajos Kossuth All for the People and All by the People; Nothing About the People Without the People - That is Democracy!
Anonymous All Wide Awakes for Lincoln
Anonymous Honest Abe
Anonymous Union and Liberty
Anonymous Wide Awake
John Albion Andrew … essentially lacking in the quality of leadership.
Howard Baker Abraham Lincoln and Everett Dirksen understood with singular clarity that a great and diverse people do not speak with a single voice and that adherence to a rigid ideology leaves little room for compromise and response to change.
Edward Bates Such a trial is not only unlawful but is a gross blunder in policy. It denies the great, fundamental principle, that ours is a government of Law, and that the law is strong enough to rule the people wisely and well.
Edward Bates He lacks will and purpose, and I greatly fear he has not the power to command.
Lerone Bennett Jr. If Abraham Lincoln had had his way, there would be no Black people in America—None!
John Wilkes Booth God simply made me the instrument of his punishment.
John Wilkes Booth Lincoln’s talking nigger citizenship!
John Wilkes Booth Our cause being almost lost, something decisive and great must be done.
John Wilkes Booth Sic temper tyranis! The South is avenged!
John Wilkes Booth The world may censure me for what I am about to do, but I am sure that posterity will justify me.
James Buchanan I am the last President of the United States.
George W. Bush The party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln.
Simon Cameron President Lincoln desires the right to hold slaves to be fully recognized. The [Civil] war is prosecuted for the Union, hence no question concerning slavery will arise.
John White Chadwick Of the six men who have done most to make America the wonder and the joy she is to all of us, not one could be the citizen of a government so constituted; for Washington and Franklin and Jefferson, certainly the three mightiest leaders in our early history, were heretics in their day, Deists, as men called them; and Garrison and Lincoln and Sumner, certainly the three mightiest in these later times, would all be disfranchised by the proposed amendment. Lincoln could not have taken the oath of office had such a clause been in the Constitution.
Zachariah Chandler If it was only Abe Lincoln, I would say go to Hell in your own way. [But the alternative is] Traitor McLelland
Chicago Times Poor, desperate creature; he wants an audience … the people won’t turn out to hear him.
Chicago Times [Critiquing the Gettysburg Address:] We did not conceive it possible that even Mr. Lincoln would produce a paper so slipshod, so loose-joined, so puerile, not alone in literary construction, but in its ideas, its sentiments, its grasp.
Chicago Tribune The grandest proclamation ever issued by man
Roscoe Conkling If the question at Chicago had been who shall be the next President? instead of who shall be the candidate? beyond all question the choice would have fallen on New York's illustrious statesman .
Thomas Corwin No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
David Davis Lincoln has few of the qualities of a politician and ... cannot do much personally to advance his interests …. a guileless man.
Jefferson Davis The most wicked thing that the dark side of human nature has ever come up with.
Democratic Party Abraham Africanus the First
Edward Dicey When the President [Abraham Lincoln] leaves the White House, he will be no more regretted, though more respected, than Mr. Buchanan.
H. Ford Douglas I do not believe in the anti-slavery of Abraham Lincoln … Two years ago I went to … prominent Republicans … to Abraham Lincoln and Lyman Trumbull, and neither of them dared to sign that petition to give me the right to testify in a court of justice.
H. Ford Douglas If we sent our children to school, Abraham Lincoln would kick them out, in the name of Republicanism and anti-slavery.
Stephen Douglas I shall have my hands full. He is as honest as he is shrewd; and if I beat him, my victory will be hardly won.
Stephen Douglas Mr. Lincoln is the next President. We must try and save the union.
Stephen Douglas Sit down, Lincoln, your time is up.
Frederick Douglass Canting hypocrisy
Frederick Douglass 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 with in the United States freely, who in no single instance reminded me of the difference between himself and myself.
Simeon Draper I hold everybody responsible for Mr. Lincoln's reelection, and I will countenance nothing else!
William Pitt Fessenden If the President had his wife’s will and would use it rightly, our affairs would look much better.
James Sloan Gibbons We're coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more We leave our homes and firesides with bleeding hearts and sore Since poverty has been our crime, we bow to thy decree; We are the poor and have no wealth to purchase liberty.
John R. Graham Resolved that when this house shall have seen Abraham Lincoln, they will have seen the ugliest man in the country.
Ulysses S. Grant They can't do it. They can't compel me to do it. It is as important for the cause that Lincoln should be elected as that the army should be successful in the field.
Horace Greeley Mr. Lincoln is one of Nature’s orators, using his rare powers solely and effectively to elucidate and to convince, though their inevitable effect is to delight and electrify as well.
James W. Grimes This entire administration has been a disgrace from the very beginning to everyone who has had any thing to do with bring it to power. I take my full share of the … shame myself. I can atone for what I have done no otherwise than in refusing to be instrumental in continuing it.
Hamilton R. Gamble … a mere intriguing, pettifogging, piddling politician.
James A. Garfield For mere revenge I would do nothing. This nation is too great to look for mere revenge. But for the security of the future I would do everything.
James A. Garfield My fellow citizens, the President is dead, but the Government lives and God Omnipotent reigns.
William Lloyd Garrison If he is 6 feet 4 inches high, he is only a dwarf in mind.
Charles Garrison Finney He won laurels on the score of his intellectual ability and forensic powers; but if our recollection is not at fault, his ground on the score of humanity towards the oppressed race [Blacks] was too low.
Theodore Hesburgh The melting pot failed to function in one crucial area. Religions and nationalities, however different, generally learned to live together, even to grow together, in America. But color was something else. Reds were murdered like wild animals. Yellows were characterized as a peril and incarcerated en masse during World War II for no really good reason by our most liberal President. Browns have been abused as the new slave labor on farms. The blacks, who did not come here willingly, are now, more than a century after emancipation by Lincoln, still suffering a host of slavelike inequalities.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Get down, you fool!
Joseph Hooker Lincoln and the Government are imbecile and played out.
Illinois State Register talent to hoodwink the blind, and with a facility of speech well calculated to deceive the ignorant …
Illinois State Register the craftiest and most dishonest politician who ever disgraced an office in America.
Book of Mark If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Book of Matthew Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
Robert Stacy McCain 1st RULER and TYRANT of the AMERICAN EMPIRE
George B. McClellan [Abraham Lincoln is] nothing more than a well meaning baboon.
George B. McClellan If I tell him [President Abraham Lincoln] my [war] plans they will be in the New York Herald tomorrow morning. He can’t keep a secret.
George B. McClellan The President is an idiot.
George B. McClellan [Referring to Abraham Lincoln:] The President is nothing more than a well-meaning baboon.... I went to the White house ... where I found "the original Gorilla" about as intelligent as ever. What a specimen to be at the head of our affairs now!
Joseph Medill If you can throw the Ohio delegation to Lincoln, Chase can have anything he wants.
Joseph Medill Seward must be got out of the cabinet. He is Lincoln's evil genius. He has been President de Facto, and has kept a sponge saturated with chloroform to Uncle Abe's nose.
Peter Muggins God damn your god damned old hellfired god damned soul to hell god damn your god damned family's god damned hellfired god damned soul to hell and god damn your god damn friends to hell.
Fiorello H. La Guardia It has happened, in all ages of the world, that some have labored and others have, without labor, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong and should not continue. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible, is a worthy object of any good government. That's my platform, but when the average Republican leader in the East hears it, he thinks I am quoting from Karl Marx. I did quote it, but not from Karl Marx. I quoted it from Abraham Lincoln.
Fiorello H. La Guardia I am a Republican. But I am not running on the Republican platform. I'm running on my own platform. I stand for the Republicanism of Abraham Lincoln.
Fiorello H. La Guardia Some men who claim to be exponents of Republican principles know as much about the teachings of Abraham Lincoln as Henry Ford knows about the Talmud.
Fiorello H. La Guardia The people have been plundered by profiteers... [Saying] that is not demagogy; it is democracy—the democracy of Jefferson. It is not radicalism; it is republicanism—the republicanism of Lincoln.
Aaron Latham The Republican Party started with Lincoln as the party of civil rights. And the Democrats started with Jefferson as the party that did not believe in big government. If Lincoln and Jefferson came back now, they wouldn't know which party to vote for. Jefferson might start another revolution; Lincoln might secede.
Robert E. Lee I surrendered as much to Lincoln’s goodness as I did to Grant’s armies.
James T. Lewis … the honor of the nation and the good of mankind, demand that Mr. Lincoln be sustained and re-elected.
Abraham Lincoln I authorize no bargains and will be bound by none.
Abraham Lincoln The Confederates will not assassinate me, because they fear Vice President [Hannibal] Hamlin will take my place.
Abraham Lincoln Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert? I think in such a case to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only constitutional, but withal, a great mercy.
Mary Todd Lincoln If he [Abraham Lincoln] is re-elected I can keep him in ignorance of my affairs, but if he is defeated, then the bills will be sent in, and he will know all.
Mary Todd Lincoln If he is reelected, I can keep him in ignorance of my affairs.
Mary Todd Lincoln If he is reelected, I can't keep him ignorance of my affairs, if he is defeated then the bills will be sent in and he will know all.
Sarah Bush Johnson Lincoln Abe was a good boy .... His mind and mine, what little I had, seemed to run together ... in the same channel.
Robert Johannsen Lincoln was very wise about the Mexican War. He waited until the war was over until he criticized it.
Francis Lieber Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers - such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.
Francis Lieber Our age, marked by restless activity in almost all departments of knowledge, and by struggles and aspirations before the unknown, is stamped by no characteristic more deeply than by a desire to establish or extend freedom in the political societies of mankind.
Francis Lieber [Guarantees of freedom] will be found to consist in the highest protection of the individual and of society, chiefly against public power, because it is necessarily from this power that the greatest danger threatens the citizen, or that the most serious infringement of untrammeled action is to be feared.
Francis Lieber How necessary for modern liberty a national representative government is—a representative system comprehending the whole state
Geoffrey Perret There are a lot of Civil War photographs of men in stove-pipe hats. But none of them looked like Abraham Lincoln …. Ulysses S. Grant did not wear an officer’s uniform blouse. He wore an enlisted man’s blouse with general’s stars—even when he was the highest ranking officer in the army…. Until he became a Senator, [J. F.] Kennedy dressed like a college student. After he entered the Senate he always wore elegant suits.
Edward G. Ryan Blind submission to the Administration of the government is not devotion to the country or the Constitution. The administration is not the government.
George Templeton Strong The Tribune and other papers commend him to popular favor as having had but six months’ schooling in his whole life; and because he cut a great many rails, and worked on a flatboat in early youth; all which is somehow presumptive evidence of his statesmanship.
Harry S Truman Lincoln and I were alike in that neither of us liked to hunt and fish. We didn’t like to kill anything.
Israel Washburn Jr. He [Lincoln] has doctrines, not hatreds, and is without ambition except to do good and serve his country.
Anonymous IN THIS TEMPLE AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS ENSHRINED FOREVER
Alfred Pleasonton The terms were that the war was not to be ended until the South is crushed, slavery was abolished and Lincoln was reelected
Paul P. Van Riper Lincoln left the bulk of the nominations for presidential as well as for subordinate offices to his political friends and advisors. The military forces as well as the civilian establishment were exploited freely, and political generals were notoriously numerous. With more offices at his disposal than any president up to that time, … Lincoln appears to have used — or permitted the use of — the appointing power at his command as deliberately as they could have been used for practical, and usually partisan, political purposes.
David Davis Our nation has no right to expect that it will always have wise and humane rulers, sincerely attached to the principles of the Constitution. Wicked men, ambitious of power, with hatred of liberty and law, may fill the place once occupied by Washington and Lincoln.
John Wilkes Booth That means negro citizenship … By God, that is the last speech he will ever make.
Jawaharlal Nehru I always wish to confront problems with the heart of the Mahatma and the hand of Lincoln.
Jacob Bruner Thomas is direct from Washington clothed with the fullest authority to commission officers to take charge of negro companies and Regiments. Uncle Abe [Lincoln] has at last sensibly concluded to arm the darkey and let him fight. They are not to be placed by the side of the white soldier but is to be organized into companies regiments and Brigades by themselves with white officers. This is considered the master stroke of policy and has produced a most cheering and beneficial result among the soldiers they received it with shouts and acclamations of applause. Some of the darkies with their families are to cultivate the plantations here while others are to act the soldier and keep [items] back the guerillas. I think the slavery question which has puzzled our fathers for 50 years is now being solved.
The Chicago Times The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dish-watery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as President of the United States.
James Henry Gooding Today, the Anglo Saxon Mother, Wife, or Sister, are not alone, in tears for departed Sons, Husbands, and Brothers. The patient Trusting Decendants of Africa’s Clime, have dyed the ground with blood, in defense of the Union, and Democracy. Men too, your Excellency, who know in a measure, the cruelties of the Iron heel of oppression, which in years gone by, the very Power, their blood is now being spilled to maintain, ever ground them to the dust. But When the war trumpet sounded o'er the land, when men knew not the Friend from the Traitor, the Black man laid his life at the Altar of the Nation,–and he was refused. When the arms of the Union, were beaten, in the first year of the War, And the Executive called more food. for its ravaging maw, again the black man begged, the privilege of Aiding his Country in her need, to be again refused, And now, he is in the War: and how has he conducted himself? Let their dusky forms, rise up, out the mires of James Island, and give the answer. Let the rich mould around Wagner’s parapets be upturned, and there will be found an Eloquent answer. Obedient and patient, and Solid as a wall are they. All we lack, is a paler hue, and a better acquaintance with the Alphabet. Now Your Excellency, We have done a Soldiers Duty. Why can’t we have a Soldiers pay?
United States Congress Joint Resolution to amend the Constitution of the United States. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, viz.: "Article Thirteen" No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
Howell Cobb Every hour that Georgia stays in the union after Lincoln comes into power would be an hour of degradation, to be followed by certain and speedy ruin.
Lyndon B. Johnson You’re either for civil rights or you’re not. You’re either the party of Lincoln or you’re not. By God, put up or shut up!
Semi-Weekly Mississippian The outrages which abolition fanaticism has continued year by year to heap upon the South, have at length culminated in the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin, avowed abolitionists, to the presidency and vice presidency -- both bigoted, unscrupulous and cold-blooded enemies of the peace and equality of the slaveholding states, and one of the pair strongly marked with the blood of his negro ancestry. . . . In view of the formal declaration, through the ballot box, of a purpose by the northern states to wield the vast machinery of the federal Government as now constituted, for destroying the liberties of the slaveholding states, it becomes their duty to dissolve their connection with it and establish a separate and independent government of their own.
New York Enquirer The returns before us indicate the election of ABRAHAM LINCOLN President of the United States. The result anticipated has become a gratifying reality. . . . It is enough that the great fact stands out clearly . . . that LINCOLN is elected president, and that the principle of intimidation, so persistently and wickedly brought to bear on this election by Southern extremists and their allies the Northern Democratic panic makers, has signally failed. . . . All honor to freemen of this Republic; congratulations warm and hearty be theirs, for the great principle of the defense of freedom within the free territories of the United States, to establish which the Republican Party entered upon this canvass, has its complete vindication in signal victory. . . . Stretching out our hands to the South over this victory, we have no word of taunt to utter for the threats of disunion which were raised for our defeat. Let those threats be buried in oblivion; for through the long vista of this success we see a reign of peace from Slavery agitation, established simply by that circumscribing of Slavery within its local bounds, and that firm defense of the integrity of National Freedom, which this triumph of the Republican party on the 6th of November, 1860, seals now and henceforth.
New Orleans Courier The election of Abraham Lincoln to the chief magistracy of the country by the hordes of fanatics and negrophilists who have been flocking to his standards since the opening of the Presidential canvass has awakened throughout the South a spirit of stubborn resistance which it will be found is impossible to quell. . . . The crisis now impending upon the whole country is a necessary consequence of the abnormal condition into which our dearest and most sacred institutions have been plunged by the success of our avowedly unrelenting enemies. . . . The unmistakable fact stares us in the face that we are now in a state of danger unparalleled in the annals of our history. . . . Of one thing, however, the whole South may rest assured -- that the sons of Louisiana will not remain indifferent spectators of the drama about to be enacted, and if the sword is to be drawn, they will be . . . found in the vanguard of the Southern phalanx. . . .
Worcester Daily Spy The election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency is the first triumph of a great political revolution. It does not mean evil to any section of the country. It is not only regular and lawful, but is necessary to restore the old spirit and policy of the country, and give peace to the land. It comes hard for those Southern extremists to be driven from power without any hope of returning to it; but they will submit to necessity and become less dangerous, for the sentiment of the Southern people will constrain them to good behavior. Mr. Lincoln will be inaugurated peacefully, and we believe confidently that his administration will reproduce the era of good feeling.
Richmond Dispatch The returns received and published yesterday left little or no doubt of the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency. Today we publish enough to make it certain. The event is the most deplorable one that has happened in the history of the country. The Union may be preserved in spite of it. We think it will; but we are prepared to expect trouble. We have already one sign from South Carolina, and this may be followed by others of more serious character.
Kansas Chief We have the glorious tidings to proclaim, that Lincoln and Hamlin are our next President and Vice President, by overwhelming majorities. They have carried every Free State this side of the Rocky Mountains, except, perhaps, New Jersey, where the vote is close. Douglas will probably carry "nary one!
John Hay an intellectual arrogance and unconscious assumption of superiority.
Rutherford B. Hayes I see more clearly than ever, and I thought I saw before, that congressional life is not the best introduction to the President's house. Great and fully equipped as the general [James Garfield] is, there are embarrassments growing out of his long and brilliant career in Congress, which Jackson and Lincoln, and Grant, and myself, escaped.
Benjamin Harrison [Abraham] Lincoln had faith in time, and time has justified his faith.
Murat Halstead a triumph of a presumption of availability over pre-eminence in intellect and unrivalled ... success of the ruder qualities of manhood and the more homely attributes of popularity, over the arts of a consummate politician, and the splendor of accomplished statesmanship.
Curis Guild Jr. Let cannon and bell at high noon call the people from sport or study or toil, to reflection on that great life so nobly lived. Let the universal display from tenement to State House of the flag of the United States of America remind the people that our country is the United States because of Abraham Lincoln.
Alexander II I did more for the Russian serf in giving him land as well as personal liberty, than America did for the Negro slave set free by the proclamation of President Lincoln. How could you Americans have been so blind as to leave the Negro slave without the tools to work out his own salvation ….Without property of any kind he cannot education himself or his children.
David McCullough America’s secular saint.
Frederick Douglass That was a sacred effort.
William McKinley I am glad to be at the home of the martyred President. His name is an inspiration, and a holy one, to all lovers of liberty the world over. He saved the Union. He liberated a race a race which he once said ought to be free because there might come a time when these black men could help keep the jewel of liberty within the family of freedom. If any vindication of that act or of that prophecy were needed, it was found when these brave black men ascended the hill of San Juan in Cuba and charged the enemy at El Caney. They vindicated their own title to liberty on that field, and, with our other brave soldiers, gave the priceless gift of liberty to another suffering race.
S. F. Hale At the time of the adoption of the Federal Constitution, African slavery existed in twelve of the thirteen States. Slaves are recognized as property, and as a basis of political power, by the Federal Compact, and special provisions are made by that instrument for their protection as property…. the opponents of slavery shall arrest its further expansion, and by Congressional Legislation exclude it from the common Territories of the Federal Government, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction…. Abraham Lincoln--he stands forth as the representative of the fanaticism of the North, which, for the last quarter of a century, has been making war upon the South, her property, her civilization, her institutions and her interests; as the representative of that party which overrides all constitutional barriers, ignores the obligation of official oaths, and acknowledges allegiance to a higher law than the Constitution, striking down sovereignty and equality of the states, and resting its claims to popular favor upon the one dogma—the equality of the races white and black.
Emory M. Thomas The heart and soul of the secession argument was slavery and race. Most white Southerners favored racial subordination, and they wanted to protect the status quo. They were concerned that the Lincoln administration would restrict slavery, and they were right
Andrew Johnson They shall suffer for this. They shall suffer for this.
John Wilkes Booth That means nigger citizenship!!!
Anonymous Abraham Lincoln may have freed all Americans, but Samuel Colt made them all equal.
John Wilkes Booth By God, that means nigger citizenship …. That will be the last speech Lincoln will ever make.
John Wilkes Booth If the worst comes to the worst, gentlemen, I shall know what to do.
Harper's Weekly [Describing Abraham Lincoln:] Filthy story-teller, despot, liar, thief, braggart, buffoon, usurper, monster, ignoramus Abe, old scoundrel, perjurer, robber, swindler, tyrant, field-butcher, land-pirate.
Francis Lieber Civilization develops man, and if he is, according to his whole character and destiny, made for development, civilization is his truly natural state …
Edward John Phelps wooden-head, twentieth-rate back country attorney
Stephen Douglas Mr. Lincoln has not character enough for integrity and truth.
Stephen Douglas I do not question Mr. Lincoln's conscientious belief that the negro was made his equal, and hence is his brother, [audience laughter] but for my own part, I do not regard the negro as my equal, and positively deny that he is my brother or any kin to me whatever
Stephen Douglas Having formed this new party for the benefit of deserters from Whiggery, and deserters from Democracy, and having laid down the Abolition platform which I have read, Lincoln now takes his stand and proclaims his Abolition doctrines
George B. McClellan I almost think were I to win some small success now, I could become dictator.
John Adolphus Bernard Dahlgren … the bare possibilities that our being two nations
Carl Schurz I will make a prophecy that may now sound peculiar. In fifty years Lincoln's name will be inscribed close to Washington's on this Republic's roll of honor.
Barack Obama Welcome the Republican Candidates for the Presidency to the Land of Lincoln. And I hope that some of Lincoln will rub off on them.
Nathaniel Hawthorne Good Heavens! What liberties I have been taking with one of the potentates of the earth, and the man on whose conduct more important consequences depend than on that of any other historical personage of the century! But with whom is an American citizen entitled to take a liberty, if not with his own chief magistrate? However, lest the above allusions to President Lincoln's little peculiarities (already well known to the country and to the world) should be misinterpreted, I deem it proper to say a word or two, in regard to him, of unfeigned respect and measurable confidence. He is evidently a man of keen faculties, and, what is still more to the purpose, of powerful character. As to his integrity, the people have that intuition of it which is never deceived. Before he actually entered upon his great office, and for a considerable time afterwards, there is no reason to suppose that he adequately estimated the gigantic task about to be imposed on him, or, at least, had any distinct idea how it was to be managed; and I presume there may have been more than one veteran politician who proposed to himself to take the power out of President Lincoln's hands into his own, leaving our honest friend only the public responsibility for the good or ill success of the career. The extremely imperfect development of his statesmanly qualities, at that period, may have justified such designs. But the president is teachable by events, and had now spent a year in a very arduous course of education; he has a flexible mind, capable of much expansion, and convertible towards far loftier studies and activities than those of his early life; and if he came to Washington a backwoods humorist, he has already transformed himself into as good a statesman (to speak moderately) as his prime minister.
John Willis Ellis I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country and to thstqis war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina
Edwin M. Stanton He is the rock on the beach of our national ocean against which the breakers dash and roar.
Gore Vidal Nothing that Shakespeare ever invented was to equal Lincoln's invention of himself and, in the process, us.
Prince Otto von Bismarck-Schoenhausen The death of Lincoln was a disaster for Christendom. There was no man in the United States great enough to wear his boots and the bankers went anew to grab the riches. I fear that foreign bankers with their craftiness and tortuous tricks will entirely control the exuberant riches of America and use it to systematically corrupt civilization
Garrison Keillor The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.
H. L. Mencken The art of leading the vulgar, in itself, does no discredit to its practitioner. Lincoln practiced it unashamed, and so did Webster, Clay, and Henry. What is more, these men practiced it with frank allowance for the naïveté of the people they presumed to lead.
Harold Holzer Lincoln was a flip flopper in the best sense of the word.
Karl Marx When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he turned the Civil War into a revolution.
Janio Quadros Lincoln was one of history's greatest men, but Americans are not like him. He was a lonely exception.
Jacqueline Kennedy I want his funeral to be as much like Abraham Lincoln’s as possible.
Chauncey Depew I saw Mr. Lincoln a number of times during the canvass for his second election. The characteristic which struck me most was his superabundance of common sense. His power of managing men, of deciding and avoiding difficult questions, surpassed that of any man I ever met.
Jon Huntsman, Jr. Our political debates today are corrosive and not reflective of the belief that Abe Lincoln espoused back in his day: that we are a great country because we are a good country.
John F. Kennedy One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.
George Will President Lincoln’s biggest blunder was—no not General George McClellan—creating the Agriculture Department. Since 1995, 75 percent of all agricultural subsidies have gone to the largest and wealthiest 10 percent of farms.
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard A reckless and unprincipled tyrant has invaded your soil. Abraham Lincoln, regardless of all moral, legal, and constitutional restraints, has thrown his abolition hosts among you, who are murdering and imprisoning your citizens, confiscating and destroying your property, and committing other acts of violence and outrage too shocking and revolting to humanity to be enumerated. All rules of civilized warfare are abandoned. . .
Howell Cobb The evil has now passed beyond control.
John J. Crittendon [The South] has come to the conclusion that in case Lincoln should be elected . . . she could not submit to the consequences, and therefore, to avoid her fate, will secede from the Union.
Edward Everett Permit me also to express my great admiration of the thoughts expressed by you, with such eloquent simplicity & appropriateness, at the consecration of the cemetery. I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.
Henry Wager Halleck The President does not expect impossibilities, but he is very anxious that all this good weather should not be wasted in inactivity. Telegraph when you will move, and on what lines you propose to march.
John W. Geary Abraham looks quite care-worn and not nearly so well as he did when I last saw him.
William Tecumseh Sherman You are in Lancaster and I am here the Stern & Cruel tyrant, slave of a Despotic Master, Lincoln. Hundreds of children like yourself are daily taught to curse my name, and each night thousands Kneel in prayer & beseech the almighty to consign me to Perdition. Such is War.
Friedrich Engels Things go wrong in America. . . . What cowardice in government and Congress! They are afraid of conscription, of resolute financial steps, of attacks on slavery, of everything that is urgently necessary; they let everything loaf along as it will, and if the semblance of some measure finally gets through Congress, the honorable Lincoln so qualifies it that nothing at all is left of it any longer.
Frederick Douglass Abraham Lincoln is the most powerful slave catcher in America.
Stephen Douglas The Founding Fathers made no reference either to the Negro, the savage Indians, the Feejee, the Malay or any other degraded race, when they spoke of the equality of men.
William Cullen Bryant The people have nominated you without any pledges or engagements of any sort … and they want you to do nothing at present but allow yourself to be elected…. Make no speeches, write no letters as a candidate, enter into no pledges, make no promises.
Frederick Douglass Mr. Lincoln was not only a great President, but a great man — too great to be small in anything. In his company I was never in any way reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color.
Alan Pinkerton It has been fully determined that the assassination should take place at Calvert Street.
George Aiken The greatest praise I can give Lincoln on this his anniversary is to say he would be ashamed of his party's leadership today.
New York Times One of the most remarkable occurrences of the army has this moment taken place. Park Spring, the telegraph operator, situated in Prof. Lowe’s balloon, at an elevation of one thousand feet….is freely and rapidly communicating with the Department at Washington. This is certainly an ingenious and valuable method of giving instantaneous information.
William C Oates It had been Lincoln and his band if fanatics who had started the war; who had incited the slaves to insurrection, arson, and the indiscriminate murder of white people.
Pete Seeger Did Lincoln hate America when he voted against the Mexican War? Did Mark Twain hate America when he made speeches against the Spanish American War? If you love your country you will find ways to speak out …
Theodore Roosevelt The Jackson-Lincoln Theory of the Presidency: Occasionally great national crises arise which call for immediate and vigorous executive action, and that in such cases it is the duty of the President to act upon the theory that he is the steward of the people and … that he has the legal right to do whatever the needs of the people demand, unless the Constitution or the laws explicitly forbid him to do it..
John Bright Nations in great crises and difficulties have often done that which in their prosperous and powerful hour they would not have done.
Gerald R. Ford If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he’d be rolling in his grave.
John C. Henley Glorious News. Lincoln and Seward Assassinated! Andy Johnson Inaugurated President.
Heather Cox Richardson How did the progressive Republican Party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower become the reactionary party of Ronald Reagan, the tea party and Paul Ryan? There is nothing random about these ideological shifts. They reflect the party’s — and the nation’s — central unresolved problem: the tension between equality of opportunity and protection of private property.
Henry Charles Carey The Executive [Abraham Lincoln] is frequently compelled to affix his signature to bills of the highest importance, much of which he regards as wholly at war with the national interests.
James McPherson … without his [Abraham Lincoln’s] determined leadership the United States would have ceased to be.
Jefferson Davis ... the most execrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man
Heather Cox Richardson Forced to adapt to a changing nation, in this century, perhaps, the Republican Party will find a way to stay committed to the ideals of its founders.
South Carolina Ledger Large crowds have gathered in the streets. The pervading spirit among the masses is resistance to Lincoln’s administration, and everywhere that determination is manifest.
Memphis Daily Appeal Within 90 days from the time Lincoln that is inaugurated, the Republican Party will be utterly ruined and destroyed. His path is environed with so many difficulties, that even if he had the ability of Jefferson and the energy of Jackson, he would fail, but he is a weak and inexperienced man, and his administration will be doomed from the commencement. If he takes that radical section of the Republican Party, the conservative wing of it will cut loose and repudiate him. If, on the other hand, he courts the conservatives and pursues a moderate conciliatory policy, the radicals will make open war upon his administration.
New York Herald Thursday night the streets were filled with excited crowds. Till nearly midnight, the streets presented the most animated appearance. The crowd illuminated their passage by rockets and other fireworks, and made the air resound with their deafening cries. No one talks of anything but the necessity for prompt action. It is believed that separate and immediate action on the part of this state will be followed by action on the part of several other southern states forthwith. It is hardly prudent for any man to express his opinion adverse to immediate succession. So heated are the public passions, so intolerant of restraint is the popular will.
Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
... this damned old house. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
[By 1863 the Union blockade of the South was taking its toll in England where thousands were out of work in the Manchester and other mills for lack of imported cotton. Nonetheless the English workers were ardent opponents of slavery and supporters of the North. … an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in an age of in any country Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
[God] largely augmented our free population by emancipation and immigration. Development & Growth
[It is] ... a sound maxim that it is better only sometimes to be right than at all times to be wrong, so soon as I discover my opinions to be erroneous, I shall be ready to renounce them. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
[Then a congressman:] Were I President, I should desire the legislation of the country to rest with Congress, uninfluenced by the executive in its origin or progress. Intergovernmental Relations
[There] are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
… a little intriguer—plausible, but not trustworthy. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
… a noble dream States. Nations & Nationhood
… a war of the world War & Peace
… all commercial intercourse between the United States and the rebellious states is unlawful and will remain unlawful until such insurrection shall cease or has been suppressed. Business, Commerce & Finance
… free labor insists on universal education Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
… he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
… let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the Southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
… one of the most meritorious men in America Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
… so called Confederacy War & Peace
… the most sacred right [revolution] to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
… the silent artillery of time Miscellaneous
… there is no right, and ought to be no inclination of the people of the free states to enter into the slave states, and interfere with the question of slavery at all. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
… war will cease on the part of the government, whenever it shall have ceased on the part of those who began it. War & Peace
…I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races…nor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry Discrimination & Prejudice
…in every locality we should look beyond our noses; and at least say nothing on points where it is probable we shall disagree. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
…it was the nature of man, when told that he should be shunned and despised and condemned as the cause of all the vice and misery and crime in the land, to retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart. Human Nature ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems... It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the unsolved ones. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure half slave and half free. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
A man can be wiser today than he was yesterday. Leaders & Leadership
A man has as much right to go across a river as to go up and down the river. Transportation
A man has not time to spend half his life in quarrels. If a man ceases to attack me, I never remember the past against him. Civil Disorder, Riots, Protests & Demonstrations
A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration. Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
A protective tariff would be collected only from those whose pride, whose abundance of means, prompts them to spurn manufacturers of our own country ... Foreign Trade
A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, can not be safely disregarded. Public Opinion & Polling
A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, cannot be safely disregarded. Public Opinion & Polling
Abandonment of the protective policy [tariffs] ... must result in the increase in ... idleness, and so, in proportion, must produce want and ruin among our people. Foreign Trade
Abstractly considered, the hanging of the gamblers at Vicksburg was of little consequence. They constitute a portion of the population that is worse than useless in any community; and their death, if no pernicious example be set by it, is never a matter of reasonable regret with any one. If they were annually swept from the stage of existence by the plague or smallpox, honest men would perhaps be much profited by the operation. Business, Commerce & Finance
Accounts of outrages committed by mobs form the everyday news of the times. They have pervaded the country from New England to Louisiana; they are neither peculiar to the eternal snows of the former nor the burning suns of the latter; they are not the creatures of climate … neither are they confined to the slaveholding or the non-slaveholding states…. Such are the effects of mob law, and such are the scenes becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of law and order Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Agriculture, confessedly the largest interest in the nation, has not a department or a bureau, but a clerkship only, assigned to it in the government.... I venture the opinion that an agricultural and statistical bureau might profitably be organized.
All honor to Jefferson—the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document an abstract truth applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there that to-day and in all coming days it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
All that harms labor is treason to America. Labor Unions, Labor Relations & Strikes
All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. Hope ;Families, Children & Parenting
All the anxious politicians of his party have been looking upon him as certainty, at no distant day, to be the President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful face, post offices land offices, marshalships, and cabinet appointments, chargeships and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting out in wonderful exuberance ready to be laid hold of by their greedy hands. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion … and you allow him to make war at pleasure. … If today he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may see no probability he would say to you, “Be silent!, I see if you don’t.” War & Peace
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. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing. Human Nature
Among free men there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
An armistice—a cessation of hostilities—is the end of the struggle, and the insurgents would be in peaceable possession of all that has been struggled for. War & Peace
And inasmuch as most good things are produced by labor, it follows that all such things of right belong to those whose labor has produced them. Labor Unions, Labor Relations & Strikes
And now beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories. Energy ;War & Peace
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. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
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. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Are all the laws to go unexecuted and the government itself go to pieces, lest civil liberties be violated? Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
As an individual who undertakes to live by borrowing, soon finds his original means devoured by interest, and next no one left to borrow from—so it must be with a government. Budgets & Budgeting
As Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy, in time of war, I suppose I have a right to take any measure which may best subdue the enemy. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
As for these speculators I wish every one of them would have his devilish head shot off. Business, Commerce & Finance
As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy. Democracies & Republics ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
As labor is the common burden of our race so the effort of some to shift their share of the burden on to the shoulders of others is the great durable curse of the race. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
As President, I have no eyes but constitutional eyes. I cannot see you. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
As to politics, I am doing what I can for the cause. Political Parties & Machines
As to the matter of fusion I am for it, if it can be had on Republican grounds; and I am not for it on any other terms. A fusion on any other terms would be as foolish as unprincipled. It would lose the whole North, while the common enemy would carry the whole South.... I am against letting down the Republican standard a hair's breadth. Political Parties & Machines
At the time the Constitution was adopted, the plain unmistakable spirit of that age, towards slavery, was hostility to the principle, and toleration, only by necessity. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected. If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. Defense & National Security
Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets. Voters, Voting & Elections
Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets. Voters, Voting & Elections
Be alike independent of crowned-kings. money-kings, and land-kings. Corruption
Be not deceived. Revolutions do not go backward. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Being elected to Congress, though I am very grateful to our friends for having done it, has not pleased me as much as I expected. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
Being elected to Congress, though I am very grateful to our friends, for having done it, has not pleased me as much as I expected. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Blood can not restore blood and government should not act for revenge. War & Peace ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Broken eggs cannot be mended. . . . This government cannot much longer play a game in which it stakes all, and its enemies stake nothing. Those enemies must understand that they cannot experiment for ten years trying to destroy the government, and if they fail, still come back into the Union unhurt. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
But for the difference in habit of observation, why did Yankees, almost instantly, discover gold in California, which had been trodden upon and overlooked, by Indians and Mexican greasers, for centuries. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
By all means, make him [Democrat General Lewis Cass] President, gentlemen. He will feed you bounteously – if there is any left after he has helped himself. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
By the "mud-sill" theory it is assumed that labor and education are incompatible; and any practical combination of them impossible. According to that theory, a blind horse upon a tread-mill, is a perfect illustration of what a laborer should be -- all the better for being blind, that he could not tread out of place, or kick understandingly. According to that theory, the education of laborers, is not only useless, but pernicious, and dangerous. In fact, it is, in some sort, deemed a misfortune that laborers should have heads at all. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Can it be pretended that it is any longer the government of the U.S., any government of Constitution and laws, wherein a General, or President, may make permanent rules of property by proclamation? Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Can we, as a nation, continue together permanently together, forever, half slave, and half free? Discrimination & Prejudice ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Certainly there is no contending against the will of God, but still there is some difficulty in ascertaining it, and applying it, to particular cases. Religion & God
colonizing free colored persons, with their own consent, at any place or places without the United States. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Constantly bear in mind that not with politicians, not with Presidents, not with office-seekers, but with you, is the question, Shall the Union and shall the liberties of this country be preserved to the latest generations? Citizenship & Patriotism
Could we have avoided this terrible, bloody war! … Is it ever to end! War & Peace
Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I can not refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom. Military & Veterans
Defective Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser -- in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Do not fail to meet this most extraordinary and intelligent black man. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Do not mistake that the ballot is stronger than the bullet. Voters, Voting & Elections
Do you take the President of the United States to he a commission broker? You have come to the wrong place, and for you and every one who comes for such purposes, there is the door! Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Doesn't it strike you as queer that I, who couldn't cut the head off a chicken, and who was sick at the sight of blood, should be cast into the middle of a great war, with blood flowing all about me. Miscellaneous
Don’t kneel to me. Kneel only to God and thank Him for your freedom Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters. Voters, Voting & Elections
Equal justice to the South, it is said, requires us to consent to the extension of slavery to new countries [states]. That is to say, inasmuch as you do not object to my taking my hog to Nebraska, therefore I must not object to your taking your slave. Now, I admit this is perfectly logical, if there is no difference between hogs and negroes. Equality & Equal Opportunity ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Errors will occur in spite of utmost fidelity. Management & Managing Government
Events are always in the saddle. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Everything I say, you know, goes into print. If I make a mistake, it doesn't merely affect me or you, but the country. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Except it be to give protection against violence, I decline to interfere in any way with any Presidential election. Voters, Voting & Elections
Fairness to all Slogans & Mottoes
Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Folks who have no vices have very few virtues. Human Nature
For every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy … a rebel soldier job be placed upon hard labor on the public works. War & Peace ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
For your kind expressions I am extremely grateful, but, on the other hand, I assure you that the nation is more indebted to you, and such as you, than to me. It is upon the brave hearts and strong arms of the people of the country that our reliance has been placed in support of free government and free institutions. Military & Veterans
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. Equality & Equal Opportunity
General McClellan argues indefinite procrastination. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
General Sheridan says "If the thing is pressed I think that Lee will surrender." Let the thing be pressed. War & Peace
Gentleman, I can't do it . You may be right, and I may be wrong; but I'll tell you what I can do: I can resign in favor of Mr. Hamlin [the Vice President]. Perhaps Mr. Hamlin could do it. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Give all of the governed a voice in their government; that and that alone is self government. Voters, Voting & Elections
Gold is good in its place, but living, brave, patriotic men are better than Gold. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Government ;Democracies & Republics
Gradual, and not sudden emancipation, is better for all. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Have you already in your mind a plan wholly or partially formed? If you have, prosecute it without interference from me. If you have not, please inform me, so that I, incompetent as I may be, can try and assist you in the formation of some plan for the army. Management & Managing Government
He [Stephen Douglas] is blowing out the moral lights around us, when he contends that whoever wants slaves has a right to hold them Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
He who does something at the head of one Regiment, will eclipse him who does nothing at the head of a hundred. Military & Veterans
He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. Public Relations & Image
He who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave… Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Henry Clay's eloquence did not consist, as many fine specimens of eloquence do, of types and figures, of antitheses and elegant arrangements of words and sentences, but rather of that deeply earnest and impassioned tone and manner which can proceed only through conviction in the speaker of the justice and importance of his cause. This it is that truly touches the chords of sympathy; and those who heard Mr. Clay never failed to be moved by it, or ever after forgot the impression. All his [oratorical] efforts were made for practical effect. He never spoke merely to be heard. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
His [Stephen Douglas] argument is as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
hope to the world for all future time. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed. Human Nature
I … think it is safer, when a practical question arises, to decide that question directly, and not indirectly, by deciding a general abstraction supposed to include it, and also including a great deal more. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many respects-certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts. Truth ;Democracies & Republics
I am a patient man—always willing to forgive on the Christian terms of repentance; and also to give ample time for repentance. Still I must save this government if possible. What I cannot do, of course I will not do; but it may as well be understood, once for all, that I shall not surrender this game leaving any available card unplayed. Leaders & Leadership
I am a slow walker, but I never walk backward. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice . . . . These are not, however, the days of miracles, and I supposed it will be granted that I am not to expect a direct revelation . I must study the plain physical facts of the case, ascertain what is possible and learn what appears to be wise and right. The subject is difficult, and good men do not agree. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I am decidedly opposed to the people's money being used to pay the fiddler ... He that dances should always pay the fiddler. Budgets & Budgeting
I am glad to see a system of labor ... under which laborers can strike when they want to. Leaders & Leadership
I am glad to see that a system of labor prevails under which laborers can strike when they want to...I like the system which lets a man quit when he wants to and wish it might prevail everywhere. Labor Unions, Labor Relations & Strikes
I am in favor of General Taylor as the Whig candidate for the Presidency because I am satisfied that we can elect him, that he will give us a Whig administration and that we cannot elect any other Whig. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I am in favor of short statutes of limitations in politics. Political Parties & Machines
I am naturally antislavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember a time when I did not so think, and feel. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I am not . . . in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them . . . to intermarry with white people. Discrimination & Prejudice
I am not a candidate for renomination or election. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I am not a member of any temperance society; but I am temperate, in this, that I don’t drink anything. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes. Discrimination & Prejudice
I am not, nor ever have been, connected with the party called the Know-Nothing party, or the party calling themselves the American party. Political Parties & Machines
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.... I as much as any man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. Equality & Equal Opportunity
I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual now-a-days to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I am slow to listen to criminations among friends, and never espouse their quarrels on either side…allow by—gones to be by—gones, and look to the present & future only. Human Nature
I am struggling to maintain the government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
I am yet unprepared to give up the Union for a peace which, so achieved, could not be of much duration.-- War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I am, as you know, only the servant of the people. Leaders & Leadership
I authorize no bargains and will be bound by none. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I believe it’s my best effort, but it’s not immediately popular. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
I can make a brigadier general in five minutes, but it's not so easy to replace 110 horses. Military & Veterans
I can not but regard it as possible that the higher object of this contest (for abolition) may not be completely attained within the term of my natural life Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I can not enter the ring on the money basis. First, because, in the main, it is wrong and secondly, I have not, and can not get, the money. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I can only trust in God I have made no mistake. It is now for the country and the world to pass judgment on it. Discrimination & Prejudice ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I cannot run the political machine. I have enough on my hands without that. It is the people's business. Political Parties & Machines
I can't spare this man—he fights. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
I certainly have been dissatisfied with the slowness of Buell and McClellan; but before I relieved them I had great fears I should not find successors to them, who would do better. . .
I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Management & Managing Government
I confess that I desire to be reelected. God knows I do not want the labor and responsibility of the office for another four years. But I have the common pride and want my past four years of administration and endorsed. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I could not afford to hang men for votes. Capital Punishment, Dealth Penalty & State Execution
I desire so to 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. Human Nature
I desire the undisguised opinion of some experienced and sagacious Pennsylvania politician, as to how the vote of that state, for governor, and president, is likely to go. In casting about for such a man, I have settled upon you; and I shall be much obliged if you will write me at Springfield, Illinois. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I do not allow myself to suppose that either the [Republican] convention or the League have concluded to decide that I am either the greatest of the best man in America, but rather they have concluded it is not best to swap horses while crossing the river, and have further concluded that I am not so poor a horse that they might not make a botch of it in trying to swap. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I do not believe it is the popular wish of Kentucky that this force shall be removed beyond her limits; and with this impression, I must respectfully decline to so remove it. War & Peace
I do not impugn the motives of any one opposed to me Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I do not mean to say that this general government is charged with the duty of redressing or preventing all the wrongs in the world; but I do think that it is charged with the duty of preventing and redressing all wrongs which are wrongs to itself. Freedom & Liberty
I do not now or ever did stand pledged for unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law…I did not ever nor do I now stand pledged against the entry of any slave state into the union…. I do not stand pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia…. Oratory, Discussion & Debate ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
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. Discrimination & Prejudice
I do the best I know how, the 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 won't count; If it brings me out wrong, Ten angels swearing that I was right Would have made no difference. Leaders & Leadership
I don’t know anything about money. Business, Commerce & Finance
I don’t know anything about the law of nations and I thought it was all right. War & Peace
I don't know much about how things are done in politics. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be. Miscellaneous
I expect to maintain this contest until successful, or till I die, or am conquered, or my term expires, or Congress or the country forsakes me. Miscellaneous
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. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I go for sharing the privileges of government who assist in the bearing the burdens. Consequently I go for admitting all whites to the rights of suffrage who pay taxes or bear arms, by no means excluding females. Voters, Voting & Elections
I go not back of the convention, to make distinctions among its’ members. Miscellaneous
I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down ... but I bite my lips and keep quiet. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I have always hated slavery, I think as much as any Abolitionist. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I have always thought the act of secession is legally nothing, and needs no repealing. Intergovernmental Relations ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I have been driven many times to my knees by the overpowering conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I have declined to move any such colony to any State [country] without first obtaining the consent of the government, with an agreement on its part to receive and protect such emigrants in all the rights of freemen…. Liberia and Haiti are as yet the only countries to which colonies of African descent from here could go with certainty of being received and adopted as citizens; and I regret to say such persons contemplating colonization do not seem so willing to go to those countries Minorities & Women
I have desired as sincerely as any man—I sometimes think more than any other man—that our present difficulties might be settled without the shedding of blood. War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I have got you together to hear what I have written down. I do not want your advice about the main matter – for I that I have determined for myself. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I have issued the emancipation proclamation, and I cannot retract it. After the commencement of hostilities, I struggled nearly a year and a half to get along without touching the ‘institution’ ; and when finally I conditionally determined to touch it, I gave a hundred days fair notice of my purpose, to all the States and people, within which time they could have turned it wholly aside, by simply again becoming good citizens of the United States. They chose to disregard it, and I made the peremptory proclamation on what appeared to me to be a military necessity. And being made, it must stand. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I have just read your dispatch about sore-tongued and fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything? Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
I have never interfered, north own of interfering as to who shelled or shall not preach I any church nor have I even knowingly, or believingly, tolerated anyone else to so interfere by my authority Religion & God
I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I have often thought Dixie to be one of the finest songs which the Confederates have appropriated. I put the question to the Attorney General, and he determined that it is our property. War & Peace
I have said that in their right to "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness," as proclaimed in that old Declaration, the inferior races are our equals. Equality & Equal Opportunity
I have very large ideas about the mineral wealth of the nation. I believe it practically inexhaustible. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. States. Nations & Nationhood
I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky. War & Peace
I hope to stand firm enough not to go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the common cause. Management & Managing Government
I intend no modification of my oft-expressed wish that all men everywhere could be free. Freedom & Liberty
I know not how much is within the legal power of the government in this case; but it is certainly true in equity, that the laboring women in our employment should be paid at the least as much as they were at the beginning of the war. Will the Secretary of War please have the cases fully examined, and so much relief given as can be consistently with the law and the public service. Minorities & Women
I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one? Miscellaneous
I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.-- Freedom & Liberty
I long ago made up my mind that if anybody wants to kill me, they could do it. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I may in an emergency do things on military grounds which cannot be done constitutionally by Congress. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I more than suspect that he is deeply conscious of being in the wrong, -- that he feels the blood of this Mexican war, like the blood of Abel, is crying to Heaven against him.... He is a bewildered, confounded, and miserably perplexed man. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
I most cordially sympathize with your Excellency in the wish to preserve the peace of my own native state, Kentucky; but it is with regret I search, and cannot find, in your not very short letter, any declaration or intimation that you entertain any desire for the preservation of the Union. War & Peace
I must dissent from those who advise a general levy and arming of the slaves for the duty of soldiers. Until our white population shall prove insufficient for the armies we require and can afford to keep in the field, to employ as a soldier the negro … would scarcely be deemed wise or advantageous by any, and this is the question now before us. But should the alternative ever be presented of subjugation or of the employment of the slave as a soldier, there seems no reason to doubt what should then be our decision. Military & Veterans ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I must in candor say I do not think myself fit for the Presidency. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I must myself be the judge, how long to retain in, and when to remove any of you from, his position. It would greatly pain me to discover any of you endeavoring to procure another's removal, or in any way to prejudice him before the public. Such endeavor would be a wrong to me, and much worse, a wrong to the country. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I must, in candor, say I do not think myself fit for the Presidency. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I never had an idea that didn’t come from [Thomas] Jefferson. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I never in my life and felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I never tire of reading Tom Paine. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
I never was much interested in the Texas question … I never could see much good to come of annexation. . . Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon [George] Washington. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I said I would remove him [Gen. George McClellan] if he let Lee's army get away from him and I must do so. He has got the slows. War & Peace
I say now, however, as I have all the while said, that on the territorial question—that is, the question of extending slavery under the national auspices,—I am inflexible. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I see in the near future a crisis approaching. It unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country... the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
I shall at all times be ready to recognize the paramount claims of the soldiers of the nation in the disposition of public trusts [patronage]. Military & Veterans
I shall have to depend upon you for taking care of these matters of foreign affairs, of which I know so little, and with which I reckon you are familiar. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
I shall not attempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation; nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation. Minorities & Women ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I should be damned in time and in eternity for so doing. The world shall know that I will keep my faith to friends and enemies, come what will. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I should never have had votes enough to send me here [to the White House], if the people had supposed I should try to use my veto power to upset slavery. Power ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I state my general idea of this war to be that we have the greater numbers, and the enemy has the greater facility of concentrating forces upon points of collision; that we must fail, unless we can find some way of making our advantage an over-match for his; and that this can only be done by menacing him with superior forces at different points, at the same time; so that we can safely attack, one, or both, if he makes no change; and if he weakens one to strengthen the other, forbear to attack the strengthened one, but seize, and hold the weakened one, gaining so much. War & Peace
I suppose we could say of Gen. Cameron that he is not Democrat enough to hurt him. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
I think it cannot be shown that when I have once taken a position, I have ever retreated from it. Miscellaneous
I think Slavery is wrong, morally, and politically. I desire that it should be no further spread in these United States, and I should not object if it should gradually terminate in the whole Union. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I think the negro (sic) is included in the word “men” used in the Declaration of Independence – I believe the declaration that “all men are created equal” is the great fundamental principal upon which are free institutions rest. Equality & Equal Opportunity ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I think the negro is included in the word "men" used in the Declaration of Independence. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
I think too much reliance is placed in noisy demonstrations, importing speakers from a distance and the like. They excite prejudice and close the avenues to sober reason. The "home production" principle in my judgment is the best. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. Miscellaneous
I who am not a specially brave man have had to sustain the sinking courage of these professional fighters in critical times. When it was proposed to station [Gen. Henry W.] Halleck here in general command, he insisted, to use his own language, on the appointment of a general-in-chief who should be held responsible for results. We appointed him and all went well enough until [John] Pope's death, when he broke down—nerve and pluck all gone—and has ever since evaded all possible responsibility—little more since then than a first-rate clerk. Military & Veterans
I will adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
I will pardon Jeff Davis, if he asks for it. Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
I will work and get ready and perhaps my time will come. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
I wish that every one of them had his devilish head shot off. Money, Coins & Minting
I wish to be no less than national in all the positions I may take. Miscellaneous
I wish to do justice to all. Justice & Injustice
I would be exceedingly glad to see that there never be another slave state admitted to the Union…. I should be exceedingly glad to see slavery abolished in the District of Columbia. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I would despise myself if I thought that I was procuring your votes by concealing my opinions, and by avowing one set of principles in one part of the state and a different set in another. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I would employee all colored men as laborers, but would not promise to make soldiers of them Military & Veterans ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I would rather have a full term in the Senate—a place in which I would feel more consciously able to discharge the duties required, and where there is more chance to make a reputation, and less danger of losing it than four years of the presidency. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution … If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I write this letter because I wish you to believe of us (as we certainly believe of you) that we are doing the very best we can. You do not receive arms from us as fast as you need them; but it is because we have not near enough to meet all the pressing demands; and we are obliged to share around what we have, sending the larger share to the points which appear to need them most. As to Kentucky, you do not estimate that state as more important than I do; but I am compelled to watch all points War & Peace
I, for the time being, am at the head of a nation which is in great peril; and you are at the head of the greatest State of that nation. As to maintaining the nation’s life, and integrity, I assume, and believe, there can be no difference of purpose between you and me. If we should differ as to the means, it is important that such differences should be as small as possible—that it should not be enhanced by unjust suspicions on one side or the other. In the performance of my duty, the co-operation of your State, as that of others, is needed—in fact, is indispensable. Intergovernmental Relations
I’m going to be beaten and unless some change takes place, badly beaten. Public Opinion & Polling
If a commanding General finds a necessity to seize the farm of a private owner, for a pasture, an encampment, or a fortification, he has the right to do so, and to so hold it, as long as the necessity lasts; and this is within military law, because [it is] within military necessity. But to say the farm shall no longer belong to the owner, or his heirs forever; and this as well when the farm is not needed for military purposes as when it is, is purely political, without the savour of military law about it. And the same is true of slave War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If a decree of emancipation could abolish Slavery, John Brown would have done the work effectually. Such a decree surely could not be more binding upon the South than the Constitution, and that cannot be enforced in that part of the country now. Would a proclamation of freedom be any more effective? Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If all men were just, there still would be some, though not so much, need of government. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If an officer is in pursuit [of guerrillas] he would be perfectly justified in retaliating on the farmers among whom they mingle. It is not our wish or policy to destroy the farmers or their farms, but of course there is and must be a remedy for all Evils, if the farmers of a neighborhood encourage or even permit in their midst a set of Guerrillas they cannot expect to escape the necessary consequences. . . . These principles of war and common sense should be made familiar to the people that they may clearly understand how . . . they lay themselves clearly liable to all the risks of war without any of its excitement. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If any good reason exists why we should persevere longer in withholding our recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Hayti [sic] and Liberia, I am unable to discern it.... I submit for your consideration the expediency of an appropriation for maintaining a chargé d'affaire near each of these new states. Diplomacy & Diplomats
If any man tells you that he loves America yet he hates labor, then that man is a liar. Labor Unions, Labor Relations & Strikes
If any man wishes to exchange his life for mine, there is nothing that can prevent it. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
If as friends of colonization hope, the present and coming generations of our countrymen shall by any means succeed in freeing our land from the dangerous presence of slavery, and at the same time in restoring a captive people to their long lost fatherland with bright prospects for the future, and this too so gradually that neither races nor individuals shall have suffered by the change, it will be a glorious consummation.” Minorities & Women ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If both factions, or neither, shall abuse you, you will maybe be about right. Beware of being assailed by one and praised by the other. Liberals & Conservatives
If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might in a moral point of view, justify revolution—certainly would if such a right were a vital one. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
If elected I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If elected, I shall consider the whole people of Sangamon my constituents, as well those that oppose as those that support me. While acting as their representative I shall be governed by their will on all subjects upon which I have the means of knowing what their will is. Legislating & Legislative Process
if God wills that [the war] continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether'. Religion & God ;War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If I had 50,000 additional troops here now, I believe I could substantially close the [civil] war in two weeks. Military & Veterans
If I had two faces, do you think I would be wearing this one. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
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. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
If I, in my brief connection with public affairs, shall be wicked or foolish, and if you remain true and honest, you cannot be betrayed. My power is temporary; yours as eternal as the principles of liberty. Power
If it is decreed that I should go down because of this speech, then let me go down linked to the truth—let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
If my name every goes down in history, it will be for this act. History ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on. Miscellaneous
If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
If the Almighty had ever made a set of men that should do all the eating and none of the work, He would have made them with mouths only and no hands. Human Nature
If the condition of our relations with other nations is less gratifying than it has usually been at former periods, it is certainly more satisfactory than a nation so unhappily distracted as we are might reasonably apprehended. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
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. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
If there is a worse place than Hell, I must be in it. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
If they do kill me, I shall never die another death. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
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. Policy & Policy Making
If we could, somehow, get a vote of the people of Tennessee and have it result properly, it would be worth more to us than a battle gained. How long before we can get such a vote? Voters, Voting & Elections
If we lose Kansas to freedom, an example will be set which will prove fatal to freedom in the end. We, therefore, in the language of the Bible, must "lay the axe to the root of the tree" . Temporizing will not do longer; now is the time for decision—for firm, persistent, resolute action. Freedom & Liberty
If we stand firm, we shall not fail. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
If we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
If we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant and warm-blooded to fall into this vice. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
If you have ever studied geometry, you remember that by a course of reasoning Euclid proves that all the angles in a triangle are equal to two right angles. Euclid has shown you how to work it out. Now, if you undertake to disprove that proposition, and to show that it is erroneous, would you prove it to be false by calling Euclid a liar? Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
If you want to test a man's character, give him power. Power
If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Important principles may and must be flexible. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
In a political contest, the use of some [money] is both right, and indispensable. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere. Management & Managing Government
In all trying positions in which I shall be placed, and doubtless I shall be placed in many such, my reliance will be upon...the people of the United States; Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives, asking the grounds, reasons, and evidence upon which the police commissioners of Baltimore were arrested and now detained as prisoners at Fort McHenry, I have to state that it is judged to be incompatible with the public interest at this time to furnish the information called for by the resolution. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free … Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope on earth. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
In great contests, each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. War & Peace
In my devotion to the Union I hope I am behind no man in the nation. Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
In politics, you ask the rich for money, the poor for votes, and ask each of them to believe you. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
In relation to these pledges [for recommendations to offices] I must not only be chaste but above suspicion.
In the absence of formal written platforms, the antecedents of candidates become their platforms. On just such platforms all our earlier and better Presidents were elected. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
In the multitude of cares claiming my constant attention I have been unable to examine and determine the exact treaty relations between the United States and the Cherokee Nation. Minorities & Women
In the world's history certain inventions and discoveries occurred of peculiar value, on account of their great efficiency in facilitating all other inventions and discoveries. Of these were the art of writing and of printing, the discovery of America, and the introduction of patent laws. Copyrights, Patents & Intellectual Property
In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Iron Cage Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
is assailed, and sneered at, and construed, and hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Is it not rather our duty to make labor more respectable by preventing all black competition, especially in the territories…. Negro equality will be abundant, as every white laborer will have occasion to regret when he is elbowed from his plow or his anvil by slave niggers. Discrimination & Prejudice ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
It has been my purpose, since I have been placed in my present position, to make no speeches. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It has long been a grave question whether any government not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence. Secrecy & Transparency
It is a great piece of folly to attempt to make anything out of me or my early life. It can all be condensed into a single sentence, and that sentence you will find in Gray's Elegy : "The short and simple annals of the poor." That's my life, and that's all you or anyone can make out of it. History
It is a momentous thing to be the instrument, under Providence, of the liberation of a race. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
it is a universal practice in the popular elections in all these states, to give no legal consideration whatsoever to those who do not choose to vote, as against the effect of the votes of those, who do choose to vote. Hence it is not the qualified voters, but the qualified voters, who choose to vote, that constitute the political power of the state. Voters, Voting & Elections
It is also unsatisfactory to some, that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers. Voters, Voting & Elections
It is as much the duty of government to render prompt justice against itself, in favor of citizens, as it is to administer the same between private individuals. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
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. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Capitalism
It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace. . . . Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Negotiating & Negotiations
It is in order that each one of you, through this free government which we have enjoyed, have an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence.... It is for this the struggle should be maintained. Equality & Equal Opportunity
It is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what is I will do it. Policy & Policy Making ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
It is not merely for to-day, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children's children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives. Families, Children & Parenting
It is not merely for today, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children's children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours. I happen to occupy temporarily this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has. It is in order that each one of you may have, through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence: that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
It is the object of this Government to be on terms of peace with you, and with all of our red brethren. We make treaties with you and we try to observe them; and if our children should sometimes behave badly, and violate these treaties, it is against our wish. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It now really looks as if the Government is about to fall into our hands. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to cooperate with the President-elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It was not only the negro that I freed, but the white man no less. Freedom & Liberty
It was with the deepest regret that the Executive found the duty of employing the war-power, in defense of the government, forced upon him …. These measures whether strictly legal or not, were ventured upon, under what appeared to be a popular demand, and a public necessity; trusting, then, as now, that Congress would readily ratify them. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
It would never do for the President to have guards with drawn sabers at his door, as if he fancied he were, or were trying to be, assuming to be, an Emperor. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
It’s really hard, with any confidence to affirm a negative. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Justice and Fairness to All Slogans & Mottoes
l 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. Religion & God ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Work, Workers & The Labor Force ;Capitalism
Legislation and adjudication must follow, and conform to, the progress of society. Legislating & Legislative Process
Less than one half-day’s cost of this war would pay for all the slaves in Delaware, at four hundred dollars per head?—that eighty-seven days cost of this war would pay for all in Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Missouri at the same price? Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Let every American … 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. Let reverence for the laws … become the political religion of the nation. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children's liberty. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Let me say right here that only unanimous consent of the states can dissolve this Union. Legislating & Legislative Process
Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built. Civil Disorder, Riots, Protests & Demonstrations ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
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 courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Let them up easy. War & Peace
Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling. Citizenship & Patriotism
Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man---this race and that race--- and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position, discarding our standard that we have left us. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal. Equality & Equal Opportunity ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man—this race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position—discarding our standards that we have left us. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal... I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Let us have faith that Right makes Might, and in this faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it. Miscellaneous
Liberty And Union Freedom & Liberty
Make no contracts that will bind me. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. Human Nature
Men are not flattered by being shown that there is a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. Religion & God
Mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. Justice & Injustice
Military glory—the attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood. Military & Veterans
Moral principle is a looser bond than pecuniary interest. Human Nature
More rogues than honest men find shelter under habeas corpus. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
More rogues than honest men find shelter under habeus corpus. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Must a government be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence? Freedom & Liberty
Must a government, of necessity, be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence? Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert? I think in such a case to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only constitutional, but withal, a great mercy. Freedom & Liberty
My belief is that the permanent estimate of what a general does in the field is fixed by the "cloud of witnesses" who have been with him in the field; and that, relying on these, he who has been right needs not to fear. War & Peace
My dear McClellan: If you don't want to use the Army I should like to borrow it for a while. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
My distress is that our friends in East Tennessee are being hanged and driven to despair, and even now I fear, are thinking of taking rebel arms for the sake of personal protection. In this we lose the most valuable stake we have in the South Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
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. Religion & God ;Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
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. Religion & God
My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
My name is new in the field, and I suppose I am not the first choice of a very great many. Our policy then is to give no offense to others—leave them in a mood to come to us if they shall be compelled to give up their first love. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
My name is new in the field; and I suppose I am not the first choice of a very great many. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and it I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. Discrimination & Prejudice ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save or destroy Slavery. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because it helps to save the Union, and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
My policy is to have no policy. Policy & Policy Making
My poor friends. You are free—free as air. You can cast off the name of slave and trample on it. It will come to you no more. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
My purpose is to be, in my action, just and constitutional; and yet practical, in performing the important duty, with which I am charged, of maintaining the unity, and the free principles of our common country. Media, Journalism & The Press
Neither General Hunter, nor any other commander, or person, has been authorized by the Government of the United States, to make proclamations declaring the slaves of any State free; and that the supposed proclamation, now in question, … is altogether void, so far as respects such declaration. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
No choice was left but to call out the war power of the Government; and so to resist force, employed for its destruction, by force, for its preservation. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
No law is stronger than is the public sentiment where it is to be enforced. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principal—the sheet anchor of American republicanism. Equality & Equal Opportunity
No man is good enough to govern another without the other man's consent. I say this is the leading principle, the sheet anchor of American republicanism. Freedom & Liberty
No man knows, when the Presidential grub gets to gnawing at him, just how deep it will get until the has tried it. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
No man resolved to make the most of himself, can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take all the consequences, including the vitiating of his temper, and the loss of self-control. Yield larger things to which you can show no more than equal right; and yield lesser ones, though clearly your own. Better to give your path to a dog, than be bitten by him in contesting the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite Human Nature
No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty. Poverty
No one man can give up the rebellion for any other man. War & Peace
No one man shall hold the power to bring this oppression [war] upon us. War & Peace
No party can command respect which sustains this year what it opposed last. Political Parties & Machines
No policy that does not rest upon philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained. Policy & Policy Making
No polity that does not rest upon some philosophical public opinion can by permanently maintained. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
No State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union; States. Nations & Nationhood
No vigilance could keep them out….A conspiracy to assassinate, if there were such, could easily obtain a pass to see me for any one or more of its instruments. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean lank face nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting out. These are disadvantages all, taken together, that the Republicans labor under. We have to fight this battle upon principal and upon principal, alone. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Not knowing whether he [Charles Wiegand] is fit for any place, I could not with propriety recommend him for any. Patronage & Pork Barrel
Not one man recommended by me has yet been appointed to any thing, little or big, except a few who had no opposition. Patronage & Pork Barrel
Now that the election is over ..., reunite in a common effort, to save our common country. Voters, Voting & Elections
Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are held out the highest privileges and positions. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Oh how hard it is to die and leave one’s Country no better than if one had never lived for it. Miscellaneous
Oh, there's nothing like getting used to things. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
On principle I dislike an oath which requires a man to swear he has not done wrong. It rejects the Christian principle of forgiveness on terms of repentance. I think it is enough if the man does no wrong hereafter. Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
Once more, let me tell you, it is indispensable to you that you strike a blow. War & Peace
One [section of the nation] would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. War & Peace
One war at a time. Diplomacy & Diplomats ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Only those generals who gain successes can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Autocracies & Dictatorships
Other things being equal, I would much prefer a temperate man [for public office], to an intemperate one; still I do not make my vote depend absolutely upon the question of whether a candidate does or does not taste liquor. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
Our adversaries have adopted some declarations of independence, in which, unlike our the good old one penned by Jefferson, they omit the words "all men are created equal." Why? They have adopted a temporary national constitution, in the preamble of which, unlike our good old one signed by Washington, they omit "We, the people," and substitute: "We, the deputies of the sovereign and independent states." Why? Why this deliberate pressing out of view the rights of men and the authority of the people? Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
Our adversaries think they can gain a point, if they could force me to openly deny this charge. For this reason, it must not publicly appear that I am paying any attention to the charge. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion can change the government practically just so much. Public Opinion & Polling
Our national strife pertains to ourselves—to the passing generations of men; and it can, without convulsion, be hushed forever with the passing of one generation. War & Peace
Our political jurisdiction does not reach a latitude so low as to favor the multiplication of the elephant. Military & Veterans
Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." Now we 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 pretense of loving liberty—to Russia for instance where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy. Minorities & Women
Our thanks, and something more substantial than thanks, are due to the man engaged in the effort to produce a successful steam plow. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
People of the south have too much of good sense, and good temper, to attempt the ruin of the government. Miscellaneous
Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. States. Nations & Nationhood
Please pardon me for suggesting that if the papers, like yours, which heretofore have persistently garbled, and misrepresented what I have said, will now fully and fairly place it before their readers, there can be no further misunderstanding… Media, Journalism & The Press
Population must increase rapidly, more rapidly than in former times, and ere long the most valuable of all arts will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil.
Proclaiming slaves free does not make them free. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
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. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and make a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
Property is desirable, is a positive good in the world. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
Protection to American Industry Foreign Trade
Public opinion in this country is everything. Public Opinion & Polling
Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed. Public Opinion & Polling
Reelect Abraham Lincoln Save the Union Heal the Nation Give Me Another Shot Slogans & Mottoes
Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar. Miscellaneous
Resolved that the United States ought to co-operate with any state which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such state pecuniary aid, to be used by such state in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences public and private, produced by such a change of system. Intergovernmental Relations ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Return to specie payment … at the earliest period compatible with due regard to all interests concerned. Money, Coins & Minting
Séances remind me of Cabinet Meetings. The Cabinet members give conflicting advice just like the spirits. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Seances remind me of cabinet meetings. The spirits give conflicting advice. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Séances remind me of cabinet meetings; the spirits give contradictory advice. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Sir; You are directed to have a transport … sent to the colored colony of San Domingo to bring back to this country such of the colonists there as desire to return. You will have a transport furnished with suitable supplies for that purpose and detail an officer … [who] shall have charge of the business. The colonists will be brought to Washington unless otherwise hereafter directed to be employed and provided for at the camps for colored persons around that city. Those only will be brought from the island who desire to return and their effects will be brought with them Minorities & Women
Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's nature -- opposition to it is in his love of justice. These principles are an eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely, as slavery extension brings them, shocks, and throes, and convulsions must ceaselessly follow. Repeal the Missouri Compromise -- repeal all compromises -- repeal the Declaration of Independence -- repeal all past history, you still cannot repeal human nature. It still will be the abundance of man's heart, that slavery extension is wrong; and out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth will continue to speak. Human Nature ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
So this is the little lady who made this big war. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Southern men declare that their slaves are better off than hired laborers amongst us. How little they know, whereof they speak! There is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst us. Work, Workers & The Labor Force ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
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… War & Peace
Thank God we have a system of labor where there can be a strike. Labor Unions, Labor Relations & Strikes
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 any denomination of Christians in particular. Religion & God
That people [the Founding Fathers] were few in numbers and without resources, save only their wise heads and stout hearts. Leaders & Leadership
That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The [Mexican] war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
The American people cannot be driven to do anything that they do not want to do. The way to promote happiness is by moral suasion and not by force. Policy & Policy Making
The Autocrat of all the Russians will resign his crown, and proclaim his subjects free republicans sooner than will our American masters voluntarily give up their slaves. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The battle of freedom is to be fought out on principle. Freedom & Liberty
The bottom is out of the tub. What shall I do? Defense & National Security
the central idea of secession, is the essence of anarchy. War & Peace
The chief and real purpose of the Republican party is conservative. It proposes nothing save and except to restore this government to its original tone in regard to this element of slavery. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The chief magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have conferred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the states [from the Union]. The people themselves can do this also if they choose; but the Executive, as such, has nothing to do with it. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The colored population is the great available and yet, unavailed of, force for restoring the Union. The bare sight of fifty thousand armed, and drilled black soldiers on the bank of the Mississippi, would end the rebellion at once. Military & Veterans ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The Confederates will not assassinate me, because they fear Vice President [Hannibal] Hamlin will take my place. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity. What one of us but can call to mind some relative more promising in youth than all his fellows, who has fallen a sacrifice to his rapacity? Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
The desertion of the army is now the most serious evil we have to encounter. Military & Veterans
The difference between the Republican and the Democratic parties on the leading issue of this contest is, that the former consider slavery a moral, social and political wrong, while the latter do not consider it either a moral, social or political wrong; and the action of each…is squared to meet these views. Political Parties & Machines ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. Miscellaneous
The dogmas of the quite past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The essence of squatter or popular sovereignty—I don't care how you call it—is that if one man chooses to make a slave of another, no third man shall be allowed to object. Media, Journalism & The Press ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The Father of Waters [the Mississippi River] again goes unvexed to the sea. Transportation
The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. . . . We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth. War & Peace
The fight must go on. The cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end of one or even one hundred defeats. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The lady—bearer of this—says she has two sons who want to work. See them at it, if possible. Wanting to work is so rare a merit, that it should be encouraged. Human Nature
The last ray of hope for preserving the Union peaceably expired at the assault upon Fort Sumter. War & Peace
The legitimate object of government is "to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they cannot, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves.
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities....In all that the people can individually do for themselves, government ought not interfere. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The liberating slaves of traitorous owners will alarm our Southern Union friends and turn them against us; perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect for Kentucky. Allow me, therefore, to ask that you will, as of your own motion, modify that paragraph 1 so as to conform to the” Confiscation act of Congress. This letter is written in a spirit of caution and not of censure. War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The lord prefers common-looking people. That is why he made so many of them. Human Nature
The making of a cabinet … is by no means as easy as I had supposed.
The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am, but it may be necessary to put the foot down firmly. Power
The man who is of neither party, is not—cannot be, of any consequence. Political Parties & Machines
The mass of white men are really injured by the effect of slave labor in the vicinity of the fields of their own labor. Work, Workers & The Labor Force ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
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. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
The new government will not assail you. You can have no conflict, without being yourselves the aggressors. War & Peace
The old general rule was that educated people did not perform manual labor. They managed to eat their bread, leaving the toil of producing it to the uneducated. This was not an insupportable evil to the working bees, so long as the class of drones remained very small. But now, especially in these free States, nearly all are educated--quite too nearly all, to leave the labor of the uneducated, in any wise adequate to the support of the whole. It follows from this that henceforth educated people must labor. Otherwise, education itself would become a positive and intolerable evil. No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The only safe way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend. Miscellaneous
The people of Illinois agreed with the people of Massachusetts [about slavery] except perhaps they do not so constantly keep thinking about it. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The People of the United States are kindred of the People of Great Britain. With all our distinct national interests, objects, and aspirations, we are conscious that our moral strength is largely derived from that relationship, and we do not deceive ourselves when we suppose that, by constantly cherishing cordial friendship and sympathy with the other branches of the family to which we belong, we impart to them not less strength than we derive from the same connection. Diplomacy & Diplomats ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The plain matter-of-fact is, our good people have rushed to the rescue of the Government, faster than the government can find arms to put in their hands. . . . We know you do all as wisely and well as you can; and you will not be deceived if you conclude the same is true of us. War & Peace
The point—the power to hurt—of all figures [of speech] consist in the truthfulness of their application. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
The position of General Banks leaves his position exposed. You are hereby directed by the President to immediately attack … Military & Veterans
The presidency is an office for which none of us is great enough. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The Presidency, even to the most experienced politicians, is no bed of roses; and Gen. Taylor like others, found thorns within it. No human being can fill that station and escape censure. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The principle [secession] itself is one of disintegration, and upon which no government can possibly endure States. Nations & Nationhood
The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and maxims of free society. Freedom & Liberty
The public safety renders it necessary that the grounds of these arrests should at present be withheld, but at the proper time they will made public. Of one thing the people of Maryland may rest assured: that no arrest has been made, or will be made, not based on substantial and unmistakable complicity with those in armed rebellion against the Government of the United States. In no case has an arrest been made on mere suspicion, or through personal or partisan animosities, but in all cases the Government is in possession of tangible and unmistakable evidence, which will, when made public, be satisfactory to every loyal citizen. Secrecy & Transparency
The real issue…is the eternal struggle between…right and wrong; the common right of humanity set against the divine right of kings… Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The resources, advantages, and powers of the American people are very great, and they have, consequently, succeeded to equally great responsibilities. It seems to have devolved upon them to test whether a government, established on the principles of human freedom, can be maintained against an effort to build one upon the exclusive foundation of human bondage. Democracies & Republics ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The restoration of the Rebel States to the Union must rest upon the principle of civil and political equality of both races; and it must be sealed by general amnesty War & Peace
The right of a State to secede is not an open or debatable question Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
The right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively is essential to the balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends. Intergovernmental Relations
The right of peaceable assembly and of petition ... is the constitutional substitute for revolution. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
The sacred right of self government … has been so perverted so that if one man decides to enslave a second man, a third man may not object. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The severest justice may not always be the best policy. Justice & Injustice
The South has eyes but does not see, and ears but does not hear. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The strength of the rebellion [the Confederacy] is in its military, its army. That army dominates all the country and all the people within its range. Military & Veterans
The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation should be one uniting all working peoples of all nations and tongues and kindreds. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The Supreme Court of the United States is the tribunal to decide such questions. We [Republicans] will submit to its decisions; and if you [Democrats] do also, there will be an end of the matter. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The time comes upon every public man when it is best for him to keep his lips closed. Time ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The trouble with General Hooker is that he has his headquarters where his hindquarters ought to be. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
The true rule for the military is to seize such property as is needed for military uses and reasons, and let the rest alone. War & Peace
The truth is, I suppose I am now public property; and a public inn is the place where people can have access to me. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The U. S Government must not, as by this order, undertake to run the Churches. When an individual in a church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the public interest, he must be checked; but the churches, as such, must take care of themselves. It will not do for the U. S. to appoint trustees, supervisors or other agents for the churches. Religion & God
The U.S. government must not … undertake to run the churches. Let the churchbes, as such, take care of themselves. Religion & God
The Union is older than any of the States, and, in fact created them as States. States. Nations & Nationhood
The Union we intend to keep, and loyal states will not let disloyal ones break it. Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
The war has carried mourning into almost every home … it can almost be said that the heavens are hung in black War & Peace
The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. Religion & God
The working men are the basis of all governments for the plain reason that they are the more numerous … Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The working people are the basis of all government, for the plain reason that they are the most numerous. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, bur incomparable things, called by the called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny. Freedom & Liberty ;Capitalism
The world knows how reluctantly I accepted this issue of battle forced upon me on my advent to this place [the White House] by the internal enemies of our country. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
The world’s best hope depended on the continued Union of these States. Miscellaneous
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of the Almighty….the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High….and it has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. Religion & God
There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost every thing, especially of government policy, is an inseparable compound of the two. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
There can be no army without men. Men can be had only voluntarily, or involuntarily. We have ceased to obtain them voluntarily; and to obtain them involuntarily is the draft - the conscription. Military & Veterans
There can be no army without men. Men can be had voluntarily or involuntarily. We have ceased to obtain them voluntarily: and to obtain them involuntarily, is the draft—the conscription. Military & Veterans
There is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. Ethnic Groups ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
There is an unwillingness on the part of our people for you free colored people to remain with us. Whether it is right or wrong I do not propose to discuss, but to propose it as a fact with which we have to deal. It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated. Minorities & Women
There is an unwillingness on the part of our people, harsh as it may be, for you free colored people to remain with us . . . Even when you cease to be slaves, you are far removed from being placed on an equality with the white man . . . I cannot alter it if I would. It is a fact Minorities & Women ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
There is and must be a remedy for all Evils. Justice & Injustice
There is danger, even now, that the adverse element seeks insidiously to pre-occupy the ground. If a few professedly loyal men shall draw the disloyal about them, and colorably set up a State government, repudiating the emancipation proclamation, and re-establishing slavery, I can not recognize or sustain their work. I should fall powerless in the attempt. This government, in such an attitude, would be a house divided against itself. Discrimination & Prejudice ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
There is no equality between that which is right and that which is wrong. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
There is this vital difference between all those states and the judge's [Douglas's] Kansas experiment; that they sought to disestablish slavery which had already been established, while the judge seeks, so far as he can, to disestablish freedom, which had been established there by the Missouri Compromise. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
There was once in this country a man by the name of Thomas Jefferson, supposed to be a Democrat—a man whose principles and policies are not very prevalent among Democrats today. Political Parties & Machines
These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people. Business, Commerce & Finance
They are mostly my old political and personal friends …. Of their principles I think little better than I do of those of the slavery extensionists. Indeed I do not perceive how any one professing to be sensitive to the wrongs of the Negroes, can join in any league to degrade a class of white men. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
They have a right to criticize who have the heart to help. Miscellaneous
This country with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever 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. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it … Democracies & Republics
This is essentially a people’s contest. War & Peace
This is the harpoon that will kill the monster of slavery. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Those of you who believe that the nigger is your equal and ought to be on the same plane as the white have a perfect right to believe that and vote for Mr. Lincoln. Voters, Voting & Elections ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Those villainous reporters [Stephen] Douglas has with him. Media, Journalism & The Press
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.. Freedom & Liberty
Those who shall have tasted actual freedom I believe can never be slaves, or quasi slaves again. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Though passion may have strained [the Union], it must not break our bonds of affection. Miscellaneous
Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bounds of affection. Miscellaneous
Through life ... I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness not quite free from ridicule. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Too many pigs; two few teats. Patronage & Pork Barrel
Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. Human Nature
Truth is generally the best vindication against slander. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
Under your recent order, which I have approved, you will only arrest individuals and suppress assemblies or newspapers when they may be working palpable injury to the military in your charge, and in no other case will you interfere with the expression of opinion in any form or allow it to be interfered with violently by others. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate and plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people, can be most engaged in. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Wa-al, that reminds me of a party of Methodist parsons that was traveling in Illinois when I was a boy thar, and had a branch to cross that was pretty bad—ugly to cross, ye know, because the waters was up. And they got considerin’ and discussin’ how they should git across it, and they talked about it for two hours, and one on ‘em thought they had ought to cross one way when they got there, and another another way, and they got to quarrellin’ about it, till at last an old brother put in, and he says, says he, ‘Brethern, this here talk ain’t no use. I never cross a river until I come to it. Policy & Policy Making
We [Republicans] have to fight this battle [against slavery] upon principle alone, so I hope those with whom I am surrounded have principle enough to nerve themselves for the task, and leave nothing undone that can fairly be done to bring about the right result. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
We [the Republicans] hold no doctrine, and make no declaration, which was not held to and made by "our fathers who framed the government under which we live. Political Parties & Machines
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle—field, 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. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
We are not, as a race, so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our red brethren. Minorities & Women
We can not escape history. History
We can not have free government without elections. And if the rebellion could force us to forgo, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have conquered or ruined us. Voters, Voting & Elections
We cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it. Therefore, we must take a man whose opinions are known.
We cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves.... The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. History
We cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do this. States. Nations & Nationhood
We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten, before we take the offices. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
We have lost the elections; and it is natural that each of us will believe, and say, it has been because his peculiar views was not made sufficiently prominent. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We hold the true republican position. In leaving the people's business in their hands, we cannot be wrong. Political Parties & Machines
We know nothing of what will happen in future, but by the analogy of experience. Policy & Policy Making
We must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued. War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
We must make good in essence as well as in form Madison's avowal that "the word slave ought not to appear in the Constitution"; and we must even go further and decree that only local law, and not that time-honored instrument [the Constitution], shall shelter a slave-holder. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called upon to perform what we cannot. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We need government to do for the people what they cannot do for themselves. Management & Managing Government
We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. Miscellaneous
We should give full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad. Immigration & Emigration
We started out with "all men are created equal." Then it was "all men are created equal except Negroes." If the Know Nothings have their way, it will be, "All men are created equal except Negroes, foreigners and Catholics”. Equality & Equal Opportunity
We think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous. We know the court that made it, has often over-ruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to have it to over-rule this. We offer no resistance to it. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
We were proclaiming ourselves political hypocrites before the world by thus fostering human slavery and proclaiming ourselves, at the same time, the sole friends of human freedom. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Were it believed that vacant places could be had at the North Pole, the road there would be lined with dead Virginians. Patronage & Pork Barrel
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. Freedom & Liberty
What I did, I did after very full deliberation, and under a heavy and solemn sense of responsibility. I can only trust in God that I have made no mistake. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried? Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
What once happened will invariably happen again, when the same circumstances which combined to produce it, shall combine in the same way. History
What shall we do with the Negroes after they are free? I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace unless we get rid of the Negroes. Certainly they cannot, if we don’t get rid of the Negroes whom we have armed and disciplined and who have fought with us…. Now we shall have no use for our very large navy. What then are our difficulties in sending the blacks away? … I wish you would examine the question and give me your views upon it and go into the figures as you did before in some degree as to show whether the Negroes can be exported Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? But once freed, could they be made politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit this. Minorities & Women ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
What would you do in my position? Would you drop the war where it is? Or would you prosecute it in the future with elder-stalk squirts charged with rose water? Would you deal lighter blows rather than heavier ones?.... I shall do all I can to save the government, which is my sworn duty as well as my personal inclination. War & Peace
When [U. S. Senator John] Pettit [of Indiana], in connection with his support of the Nebraska bill [on slavery], called the Declaration of Independence "a self-evident lie," he only did what consistency and candor require all other Nebraska men to do. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
When [Ulysses S.] Grant once gets possession of a place he holds on to it as if he had inherited it. War & Peace
When a man hears himself somewhat misrepresented, it provokes him—at least, I find it so with myself; but when misrepresentation becomes very gross and palpable, it is more apt to amuse him. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. Propaganda & Disinformation
When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, ... that is tyranny. Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
When this war ends, there must be no bloody business. War & Peace
When we were the political slaves of King George and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that "all men are created equal" a self-evident truth, but now that we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim "a self-evident lie." Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that "all men are created equal" a self-evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim "a self evident lie. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Whenever I hear any one, arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. Freedom & Liberty ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Whenever there is a conflict between human rights and property rights, human rights must prevail. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Whereas the laws of the United States have been for some time past and now are opposed and the execution thereof obstructed in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in the marshals by law. Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the law, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Whether or not the world would be vastly benefitted by a total and final banishment from it of all intoxicating drinks seems to me not now open to question. Three-fourths of mankind confess the affirmative with their tongues, and I believe all the rest acknowledge it in their hearts. Ought any, then, to refuse their aid in doing what good the good of the whole wold demands. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs
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. Corruption
While we must, by all available means, prevent the overthrow of the government, we should avoid planting and cultivating too many thorns in the bosom of society. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
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? Justice & Injustice
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 orphan —to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. Military & Veterans
With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Public Opinion & Polling
With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor ... Each of the things is, by the respective party, called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny. Freedom & Liberty ;Capitalism ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
You cannot institute any equality between right and wrong. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny it; and what is your proof? … you have failed to implicate a single Republican … If any member of our party is guilty in that matter, you know it or you do not know it. If you do know it, you are inexcusable for not designating the man and proving the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable for asserting it, and especially for persisting in the assertion after you have tried and failed to make the proof. You need to be told that persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true, is simply malicious slander. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
You dislike the Emancipation Proclamation; and, perhaps, would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional -- I think differently. But the proclamation, as law, either is valid, or is not valid. If it is not valid, it needs no retraction. If it is valid, it cannot be retracted, any more than the dead can be brought to life. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
You ought to be made to fight. We need regiments of such men as you. Military & Veterans
You suggest that a visit to the place of my nativity [Kentucky] might be pleasant to me. Indeed it would. But would it be safe? Would not the people lynch me? Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Your race has suffered the greatest wrong that has ever been inflicted on any continent. Minorities & Women ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Yours of the 23rd, is received; and I am constrained to say it is difficult to answer so ugly a letter in good temper. I am, as you intimate, losing much of the great confidence I placed in you, not from any act or omission of yours touching the public service, up to the time you were sent to Leavenworth, but from the flood of grumbling dispatches and letters I have seen from you since.
A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.
A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
'A living dog is better than a dead lion.' Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion for this work, is at least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of slavery? He don't care anything about it. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap.
A private soldier has as much right to justice as a major-general.
A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me.
All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte 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.
Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion,and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure. War & Peace
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. Success
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Freedom & Liberty
Among the friends of Union, there is great diversity of sentiment and of policy in regard to slavery and the African race among us.
As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
As our case is new, we must think and act anew.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. Time
Avoid popularity if you would have peace. War & Peace
Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Biographies, as generally written, are not only misleading but false... In most instances, they commemorate a lie and cheat posterity out of the truth. Truth
Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all.
By what principle of original right is it that one-fiftieth or one-ninetieth of a great nation, by calling themselves a State, have the right to break up and ruin that nation as a matter of original principle?
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.
Concede that the new government of Louisiana is only to what it should be, as the egg is to the fowl; we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it. Government
Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. Business, Commerce & Finance
Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? Friendship
Don't swap horses in crossing a stream.
Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.
Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States - old as well as new - North as well as South.
Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say, for one, that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow-men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition is yet to be developed.
Every one desires to live long, but no one would be old.
Everybody likes a compliment.
Extemporaneous speaking should be practiced and cultivated. It is the lawyer's avenue to the public. However able and faithful he may be in other respects, people are slow to bring him business if he cannot make a speech. Business, Commerce & Finance
Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We, of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. History
For my part, I desire to see the time when education - and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry - shall become much more general than at present, and should be gratified to have it in my power to contribute something to the advancement of any measure which might have a tendency to accelerate the happy period. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Time ;Power
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. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Gold is good in its place; but loving, brave, patriotic men are better than gold.
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.
He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.
He who molds the public sentiment... makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to make.
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. Religion & God ;Freedom & Liberty
Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible.
How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg.
I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.
I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by my friends to become a candidate for the Legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman's dance. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I am like a man so busy in letting rooms in one end of his house, that he can't stop to put out the fire that is burning the other.
I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think and feel.
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.
I believe it is universally understood and acknowledged that all men will ever act correctly, unless they have a motive to do otherwise.
I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free. Government
I can express all my views on the slavery question by quotations from Henry Clay.
I can make more generals, but horses cost money. Money, Coins & Minting
I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it. Religion & God
I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end... 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 do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.
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. Religion & God
I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.
I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.
I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.
I go for all sharing the privileges of the government, who assist in bearing its burdens. Consequently, I go for admitting all whites to the right of suffrage, who pay taxes or bear arms (by no means excluding females). Government
I go to assume a task more difficult than that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the great God, who assisted him, shall be with me and aid me, I must fail; but if the same omniscient mind and almighty arm that directed and protected him shall guide and support me, I shall not fail - I shall succeed. Religion & God
I have always been an old-line Henry Clay Whig.
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
I have always hated slavery, I think, as much as any abolitionist. I have been an Old Line Whig. I have always hated it, but I have always been quiet about it until this new era of the introduction of the Nebraska Bill began.
I have great respect for the semicolon; it is a mighty handy little fellow. Respect
I have said a hundred times, and I have no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no right, and ought to be no inclination in the people of the free States to enter into the slave States, and to interfere with the question of slavery at all. I have said that always.
I have talked with great men, and I do not see how they differ from others.
I hold that while man exists, it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind.
I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country's cause. Hope
I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's side.
I learned a great many years ago that in a fight between husband and wife, a third party should never get between the woman's skillet and the man's ax-helve.
I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.
I never went to school more than six months in my life, but I can say this: that among my earliest recollections, I remember how, when a mere child, I used to get irritated when anybody talked to me in a way I could not understand. Life
I pass my life in preventing the storm from blowing down the tent, and I drive in the pegs as fast as they are pulled up. Life
I perhaps ought to say that individually I never was much interested in the Texas question. I never could see much good to come of annexation, inasmuch as they were already a free republican people on our own model.
I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. Life
I should like to know if, taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle, you begin making exceptions to it, where will you stop? If one man says it does not mean a Negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man?
I think that slavery is wrong, morally, socially and politically. I desire that it should be no further spread in these United States, and I should not object if it should gradually terminate in the whole Union.
I understand a ship to be made for the carrying and preservation of the cargo, and so long as the ship can be saved, with the cargo, it should never be abandoned. This Union likewise should never be abandoned unless it fails and the possibility of its preservation shall cease to exist, without throwing passengers and cargo overboard.
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.
I was born and have ever remained in the most humble walks of life. Life
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. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I will prepare and some day my chance will come.
If a man had more than one life, I think a little hanging would not hurt this one; but after he is once dead, we cannot bring him back, no matter how sorry we may be; so the boy shall be pardoned. Life
If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its Almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country, deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly and lone and hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors.
If I like a thing, it just sticks after once reading it or hearing it.
If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. Business, Commerce & Finance
If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? Humor
If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. Respect
If the great American people will only keep their temper, on both sides of the line, the troubles will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country will be settled just as surely as all other difficulties of like character which have originated in this government have been adjusted. Government
If the people of Utah shall peacefully form a State Constitution tolerating polygamy, will the Democracy admit them into the Union?
If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance. Business, Commerce & Finance
If there should prove to be one real, living Free State Democrat in Kansas, I suggest that it might be well to catch him and stuff and preserve his skin as an interesting specimen of that soon-to-be-extinct variety of the genus Democrat.
If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee. Humor
If you think you can slander a woman into loving you, or a man into voting for you, try it till you are satisfied.
Illinois surpasses every other spot of equal extent upon the face of the globe in fertility of soil and in the proportionable amount of the same which is sufficiently level for actual cultivation.
Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.
In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in that we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Hope ;Freedom & Liberty
In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. Religion & God
In my view of the present aspect of affairs, there is no need of bloodshed and war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course, and I may say in advance, there will be no blood shed unless it be forced upon the government. The government will not use force unless force is used against it. Government ;War & Peace
In so far as the government lands can be disposed of, I am in favor of cutting up the wild lands into parcels so that every poor man may have a home. Government
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. Life
In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and to the young, it comes with bitterest agony because it takes them unawares. I have had experience enough to know what I say.
It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
It has so happened in all ages of the world that some have labored, and others have, without labor, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits.
It is a great piece of folly to attempt to make anything out of my early life. Life
It is a quality of revolutions not to go by old lines or old laws, but to break up both and make new ones.
It is not my nature, when I see a people borne down by the weight of their shackles - the oppression of tyranny - to make their life more bitter by heaping upon them greater burdens; but rather would I do all in my power to raise the yoke than to add anything that would tend to crush them. Life ;Nature ;Power
It is rather for us 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.
It is with your aid, as the people, that I think we shall be able to preserve - not the country, for the country will preserve itself, but the institutions of the country - those institutions which have made us free, intelligent and happy - the most free, the most intelligent, and the happiest people on the globe.
It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in that Declaration of Independence. Time
It would astonish if not amuse the older citizens to learn that I (a strange, friendless, uneducated, penniless boy, working at ten dollars per month) have been put down as the candidate of pride, wealth, and aristocratic family distinction. Families, Children & Parenting
Knavery and flattery are blood relations.
Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
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 courts of justice.
Let the people on both sides keep their self-possession, and just as other clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this, and this great nation shall continue to prosper as before. Time
Lets have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it. Religion & God
Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory. Families, Children & Parenting
Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. Happiness & Unhappiness
My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth. Time ;Citizenship & Patriotism
My father... removed from Kentucky to... Indiana, in my eighth year... It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up... Of course when I came of age, I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher... but that was all.
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure. Failure
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families - second families, perhaps I should say.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. Power
Never regret what you don't write.
Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this.
No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar. Humor
No man is good enough to govern another man without the other's consent. Government
No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.
No policy that does not rest upon some philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained.
Nothing new here, except my marrying, which to me is a matter of profound wonder.
Oh, yes; you Virginians shed barrels of perspiration while standing off at a distance and superintending the work your slaves do for you. It is different with us. Here it is every fellow for himself, or he doesn't get there. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the Negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, sneered at, construed, hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it.
Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.
Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.
Repeal the Missouri Compromise - repeal all compromises - repeal the Declaration of Independence - repeal all past history, you still cannot repeal human nature. It will be the abundance of man's heart that slavery extension is wrong; and out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth will continue to speak. Nature ;History
Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's nature - opposition to it is his love of justice. These principles are an eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely, as slavery extension brings them, shocks and throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Nature
Some day I shall be President.
Some single mind must be master, else there will be no agreement in anything.
Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.
Standing as I do, with my hand upon this staff, and under the folds of the American flag, I ask you to stand by me so long as I stand by it.
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. Religion & God
Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves. Humor
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. Truth ;Religion & God
That our government should have been maintained in its original form from its establishment until now is not much to be wondered at. It had many props to support it through that period, which now are decayed and crumbled away. Through that period, it was felt by all to be an undecided experiment; now, it is understood to be a successful one. Government
That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. Success
The assertion that 'all men are created equal' was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use. Future
The ballot is stronger than the bullet. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. History
The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every calling, is diligence.
The legal right of the Southern people to reclaim their fugitives I have constantly admitted. The legal right of Congress to interfere with their institution in the states, I have constantly denied. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The man who could go to Africa and rob her of her children, and then sell them into interminable bondage, with no other motive than that which is furnished by dollars and cents, is so much worse than the most depraved murderer that he can never receive pardon at my hand.
The mystic cords 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 angels of our nature. Nature
The people know their rights, and they are never slow to assert and maintain them when they are invaded.
The people themselves, and not their servants, can safely reverse their own deliberate decisions.
The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them. Government
The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Government
The point - the power to hurt - of all figures lies in the truthfulness of their application. Power
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.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.
The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself in every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him.
There is another old poet whose name I do not now remember who said, 'Truth is the daughter of Time.' Truth ;Time
There may sometimes be ungenerous attempts to keep a young man down; and they will succeed, too, if he allows his mind to be diverted from its true channel to brood over the attempted injury.
These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people; and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel. Money, Coins & Minting
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. Power ;Equality & Equal Opportunity
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it. Government
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it. Religion & God ;Freedom & Liberty
To give victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary.
To the best of my judgment, I have labored for, and not against, the Union. As I have not felt, so I have not expressed any harsh sentiment towards our Southern brethren. I have constantly declared, as I really believed, the only difference between them and us is the difference of circumstances.
True patriotism is better than the wrong kind of piety. Citizenship & Patriotism
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, can be engaged in. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Upon the subjects of which I have treated, I have spoken as I have thought. I may be wrong in regard to any or all of them; but, holding it a sound maxim that it is better only sometimes to be right than at all times to be wrong, so soon as I discover my opinions to be erroneous, I shall be ready to renounce them.
We can succeed only by concert. It is not, 'Can any of us imagine better,' but, 'Can we all do better?'
We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. History ;Government
We have all heard of the animal standing in doubt between two stacks of hay and starving to death, the like of which would never happen to Gen. Cass. Place stacks a thousand miles apart: he would stand stock still, midway between them, and eat them both at once; and the green grass along the line would be apt to suffer some, too, at the same time. Time ;Death
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. Religion & God ;Government ;Freedom & Liberty
We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.
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.
We think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous. We know the court that made it has often overruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to have it overrule this.
What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.
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. Power
Whatever you are, be a good one.
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. Time
When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion. Religion & God
When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees.
When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery than we are, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists, and that it is very difficult to get rid of it in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying.
When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government - that is despotism.
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.
Whether slavery shall go into Nebraska, or other new territories, is not a matter of exclusive concern to the people who may go there. The whole nation is interested that the best use shall be made of these territories. We want them for the homes of free white people.
Why was the amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people to exclude slavery, voted down? Plainly enough now, the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision.
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. History ;Religion & God ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.
With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Time
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. Future
You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.
You may think it was a very little thing, and in these days it seems to me like a trifle, but it was a most important incident in my life. I could scarcely credit that I, the poor boy, had earned a dollar in less than a day; that by honest work, I had earned a dollar. I was a more hopeful and thoughtful boy from that time. Life ;Time ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force