ABRAHAM LINCOLN QUOTES IX

U.S. President (1809-1865)

When men take it in their heads to-day, to hang gamblers, or burn murderers, they should recollect, that, in the confusion usually attending such transactions, they will be as likely to hang or burn some one who is neither a gambler nor a murderer as one who is; and that, acting upon the example they set, the mob of to-morrow, may, and probably will, hang or burn some of them by the very same mistake. And not only so; the innocent, those who have ever set their faces against violations of law in every shape, alike with the guilty, fall victims to the ravages of mob law; and thus it goes on, step by step, till all the walls erected for the defense of the persons and property of individuals, are trodden down, and disregarded.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

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You know I dislike slavery, and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. So far there is no cause of difference. But you say that sooner than yield your legal right to the slave, especially at the bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see the Union dissolved. I am not aware that any one is bidding you yield that right; very certainly I am not. I leave that matter entirely to yourself. I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations under the Constitution in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down and caught and carried back to their stripes and unrequited toil; but I bite my lips and keep quiet.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Joshua F. Speed, August 22, 1855

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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.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

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I have really got it into my head to try to be United States Senator, and, if I could have your support, my chances would be reasonably good. But I know, and acknowledge, that you have as just claims to the place as I have; and therefore I cannot ask you to yield to me, if you are thinking of becoming a candidate, yourself. If, however, you are not, then I should like to be remembered affectionately by you; and also to have you make a mark for me with the Anti-Nebraska members down your way.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to J. Gillespie, December 1, 1854

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Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if, after all, we shall fail, be it so: we still shall have the proud consolation of saying to our consciences, and to the departed shade of our country's freedom, that the cause approved of our judgment and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech to the Sub-Treasury, Sangamon Journal, March 6, 1840

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We know, 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. Twenty-five years ago, I was a hired laborer. The hired laborer of yesterday, labors on his own account today; and will hire others to labor for him tomorrow.

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

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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.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in the United States House of Representatives, January 12, 1848

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I do not rise to speak now, if I can stipulate with the audience to meet me here at half-past six or at seven o'clock. It is now several minutes past five, and Judge Douglas has spoken over three hours. If you hear me at all, I wish you to hear me through. It will take me as long as it has taken him. That will carry us beyond eight o'clock at night. Now, every one of you who can remain that long can just as well get his supper, meet me at seven, and remain an hour or two later. The Judge has already informed you that he is to have an hour to reply to me. I doubt not but you have been a little surprised to learn that I have consented to give one of his high reputation and known ability this advantage of me. Indeed, my consenting to it, though reluctant, was not wholly unselfish, for I suspected, if it were understood that the Judge was entirely done, you Democrats would leave and not hear me; but by giving him the close, I felt confident you would stay for the fun of hearing him skin me.

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

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There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

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Henry Clay is dead. His long and eventful life is closed. Our country is prosperous and powerful; but could it have been quite all it has been, and is, and is to be, without Henry Clay? Such a man the times have demanded, and such in the providence of God was given us. But he is gone. Let us strive to deserve, as far as mortals may, the continued care of Divine Providence, trusting that in future national emergencies He will not fail to provide us the instruments of safety and security.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, eulogy on Henry Clay, delivered in the State House at Springfield, Illinois, July 16, 1852

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That perfect liberty they sigh for -- the liberty of making slaves of other people -- Jefferson never thought of, their own fathers never thought of, they never thought of themselves, a year ago. How fortunate for them they did not sooner become sensible of their great misery!

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

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The Autocrat of all the Russias will resign his crown, and proclaim his subjects free republicans sooner than will our American masters voluntarily give up their slaves.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to George Robertson, August 15, 1855

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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. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them; they are a legacy bequeathed us by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed, race of ancestors. Theirs was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves us, of this goodly land, and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; 'tis ours only to transmit these--the former unprofaned by the foot of an invader, the latter undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation--to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

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Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, attributed, Abraham Lincoln, Constitutionalism, and Equal Rights in the Civil War Era

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I see the signs of the approaching triumph of the Republicans in the bearing of their political adversaries. A great deal of their war with us nowadays is mere bushwhacking.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech at New Haven, Connecticut, March 6, 1860

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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. When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty-five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat, just what might happen to any poor man's son! I want every man to have the chance, and I believe a black man is entitled to it, in which he can better his condition. When he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in New Haven, Connecticut, March 6, 1860

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Whatever may be the result of this ephemeral contest between Judge Douglas and myself, I see the day rapidly approaching when his pill of sectionalism, which he has been thrusting down the throats of Republicans for years past, will be crowded down his own throat.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, debate with Stephen Douglas, October 7, 1858

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And I do think--I repeat, though I said it on a former occasion--that Judge Douglas, and whoever, like him, teaches that the negro has no share, humble though it may be, in the Declaration of Independence, is going back to the era of our liberty and independence, and, so far as in him lies, muzzling the cannon that thunders its annual joyous return; that he is blowing out the moral lights around us, when he contends that whoever wants slaves has a right to hold them; that he is penetrating, so far as lies in his power, the human soul, and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty, when he is in every possible way preparing the public mind, by his fast influence, for making the institution of slavery perpetual and national.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, debate with Stephen Douglas, October 7, 1858

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I say, then, there is no way of putting an end to the slavery agitation amongst us but to put it back upon the basis where our fathers placed it, no way but to keep it out of our new Territories--to restrict it forever to the old States where it now exists. Then the public mind will rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction. That is one way of putting an end to the slavery agitation. The other way is for us to surrender and let Judge Douglas and his friends have their way and plant slavery over all the States--cease speaking of it as in any way a wrong--regard slavery as one of the common matters of property, and speak of negroes as we do of our horses and cattle.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, debate with Stephen Douglas, September 18, 1858

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Judge Douglas and I have made perhaps forty speeches apiece, and we have now for the fifth time met face to face to debate, and up to this day I have not found either Judge Douglas or any friend of his taking hold of the Republican platform or laying his finger upon anything in it that is wrong.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, debate with Stephen Douglas, October 7, 1858

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Tags: Republicans