U.S. President (1809-1865)
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, March 17, 1865
Whatever you are, be a good one.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, attributed, Good in Everything: A Treasury of Inspiration, Joy, and Comfort
Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, memorandum for law lecture, 1850
If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to A. G. Hodges, April 4, 1864
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 it or overthrow it.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and cause me to tremble for safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic destroyed.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Col. William F. Elkins, November 21, 1864
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to H. L. Pierce, April 6, 1859
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can not fool all the people all of the time.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, 1856
If I am killed, I can die but once; but to live in constant dread of it, is to die over and over again.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, attributed, Abraham Lincoln
As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Joshua F. Speed, August 22, 1855
Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Lincoln's Own Stories
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, 1865
Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, February 27, 1860
Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 27, 1856
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. 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.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in Springfield, Illinois, at state convention nominating him to run for U. S. senator, June 16, 1858
The ballot is stronger than the bullet.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, May 19, 1856
I distrust the wisdom if not the sincerity of friends who would hold my hands while my enemies stab me.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Reverdy Johnson, July 26, 1862
You say [slavery] is wrong; but don't you constantly object to anybody else saying so? Do you not constantly argue that this is not the right place to oppose it? You say it must not be opposed in the free States, because slavery is not there; it must not be opposed in the slave States, because it is there; it must not be opposed in politics, because that will make a fuss; it must not be opposed in the pulpit, because it is not religion. Then where is the place to oppose it?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, debate with Stephen Douglas, October 13, 1858
A gentleman had purchased twelve negroes in different parts of Kentucky, and was taking them to a farm in the South. They were chained six and six together. A small iron clevis was around the left wrist of each, and this was fastened to the main chain by a shorter one, at a convenient distance from the others, so that the negroes were strung together precisely like so many fish upon a trotline. In this condition they were being separated forever from the scenes of their childhood, their friends, their fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters, and many of them from their wives and children, and going into perpetual slavery, where the lash of the master is proverbially more ruthless and unrelenting than any other where; and yet amid all these distressing circumstances, as we would think them, they were the most cheerful and apparently happy creatures on board. One whose offense for which he had been sold was an over-fondness for his wife, played the fiddle almost continually, and the others danced, sang, cracked jokes, and played various games with cards from day to day. How true it is that "God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," or in other words, that he renders the worst human conditions tolerable, while he permits the best to be nothing better than tolerable.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Mary Speed, September 27, 1841
Love is the chain to lock a child to its parent.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, attributed, The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln