ABRAHAM LINCOLN QUOTES IV

U.S. President (1809-1865)

Abraham Lincoln quote

I believe I shall never be old enough to speak without embarrassment when I have nothing to talk about.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, response to a serenade, December 6, 1864

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Great distance in either time or space has wonderful power to lull and render quiescent the human mind.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, February 22, 1842

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In this sad world of ours sorrow comes to all, and to the young it comes with bittered agony because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to expect it.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Fanny McCullough, December 23, 1862

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Tags: sorrow


Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's nature -- opposition to it, in his love of justice.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech at Peoria, Illinois, in reply to Senator Douglas, October 16, 1854

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If a man will stand up and assert, and repeat and reassert, that two and two do not make four, I know nothing in the power of argument that can stop him.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech at Peoria, Illinois, in reply to Senator Douglas, October 16, 1854

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Military glory -- that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in opposition to the Mexican-American War, January 12, 1848

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Tags: war


The negative principle that no law is free law, is not much known except among lawyers.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech at Peoria, Illinois, in reply to Senator Douglas, October 16, 1854

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Labor is the true standard of value.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in Pittsburgh, PA, February 15, 1861

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Tags: value


The struggle for today is not altogether for today -- it is for a vast future also.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861

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Tags: today


I would save the Union. I would save it in the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." 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 all the slaves, 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.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862

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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.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Reverdy Johnson, July 26, 1862

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Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in Chicago, Illinois, December 10, 1856

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Tags: opinion


We expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech at Bloomington, May 29, 1856

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Tags: newspapers


Free labor has the inspiration of hope; pure slavery has no hope. The power of hope upon human exertion, and happiness, is wonderful. The slave-master himself has a conception of it; and hence the system of tasks among slaves. The slave whom you can not drive with the lash to break seventy-five pounds of hemp in a day, if you will task him to break a hundred, and promise him pay for all he does over, he will break you a hundred and fifty. You have substituted hope, for the rod. And yet perhaps it does not occur to you, that to the extent of your gain in the case, you have given up the slave system, and adopted the free system of labor.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, fragmentary manuscript of a speech on free labor, September 17, 1859?

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Tags: hope


When Southern people tell us that 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. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me that whatever of high hope (as I think there is) there may be in this in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days; and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery at any rate, yet the point is not clear enough for me to denounce people upon.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech at Peoria, Illinois, in reply to Senator Douglas, October 16, 1854

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I am afraid of the result upon organized action where great results are in view, if any of us allow ourselves to seek out minor or separate points, on which there may be difference of views as to policy and right, and let them keep us from uniting in action upon a great principle in a cause on which we all agree.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in Chicago, March 1, 1859

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Tags: principles


Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, January 27, 1838

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Tags: genius


It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

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Few can be induced to labor exclusively for posterity; and none will do it enthusiastically. Posterity has done nothing for us; and theorize on it as we may, practically we shall do very little for it, unless we are made to think we are at the same time doing something for ourselves.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech, February 22, 1842

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No organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical administration. No foresight can anticipate nor any document of reasonable length contain express provisions for all possible questions.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

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Tags: law