You Are Your Reality

9 Inspirational Abraham Lincoln Quotes On Education

It’s so easy to lack the enthusiasm necessary to educate yourself. But without education, you’re going to have a very difficult time taking yourself from where you are to where you want to be. And this doesn’t have to mean formal education either. But you should always be educating yourself in some way. And with that being said here are 9 inspirational Abraham Lincoln Quotes On Education

Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.

“Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.” – Abraham Lincoln

I will prepare and some day my chance will come.

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” – Abraham Lincoln

Every head should be cultivated.

“Every head should be cultivated.” – Abraham Lincoln

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.

“A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” – Abraham Lincoln

My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.

“My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have no read.” – Abraham Lincoln

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all.

“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.” – Abraham Lincoln

I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned.

“I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned.” – Abraham Lincoln

_My mind is like a piece of steel, very hard to scratch anything on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out._ (1)

“My mind is like a piece of steel, very hard to scratch anything on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out.” – Abraham Lincoln

_I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday._

“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” – Abraham Lincoln

Have These Abraham Lincoln Quotes On Education Inspired You?

Now that you’ve read these quotes are you motivated to keep on learning whatever it is that you want to learn? Because remember, the more you learn the more you earn. Whether it’s money, self-fulfillment or respect you want to earn, the best way to do it is by learning more!

Check out more great articles:

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Abraham Lincoln’s Most Enduring Speeches and Quotes

By: Aaron Randle

Updated: February 7, 2024 | Original: January 26, 2022

Abraham Lincoln making his famous address.Abraham Lincoln making his famous address on 19 November 1863 at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg on the site of the American Civil War battle with the greatest number of casualties. Lithograph. (Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

There’s perhaps no better way to grasp Abraham Lincoln ’s outsized American legacy than through his writing.

From his time as a 20-something political hopeful to his tragic death, Lincoln was a voluminous writer, authoring hundreds of letters, speeches, debate arguments and more.

Despite very little formal schooling, the 16th president was an avid reader who from a young age understood the transformative power of words. “Words were Lincoln’s way up and out of the grinding poverty into which he had been born,” wrote historian and author Geoffrey Ward. “If the special genius of America was that it provided an environment in which ‘every man can make himself,’ as Lincoln believed, pen and ink were the tools with which he did his self-carpentering.”

While he often expressed himself with humor and folksy wisdom, Lincoln wasn’t afraid to wade into lofty territory. His writings show how his thoughts on the thorny issues of the day—like slavery, religion and national discord—evolved over time. He penned some of America’s most monumental expressions of statecraft, such as the Gettysburg Address , widely hailed for its eloquence and clarity of thought. His prose, infused with his deep love of poetry, helped him in his efforts to reach—and heal—a fractured nation.

Here are a few excerpts of Lincoln’s writings, both famous and lesser-known.

On the Fractured Nation

The  ‘House Divided’ Speech:  As America expanded West and fought bitterly over whether new territories could extend the practice of slavery, Lincoln spoke out about what he saw as a growing threat to the Union. Many criticized this speech  as radical, believing—mistakenly—that Lincoln was advocating for war.

The 'Better Angels of Our Nature' speech:  By the time Lincoln was first sworn into office , seven states had already seceded from the Union. During his first address as president, he tried to assure the South that slavery would not be interfered with, and to quiet the drumbeat of war by appealing to “the better angels of our nature.”

The Gettysburg Address: Hailed as one of the most important speeches in U.S. history, Lincoln delivered his brief, 272-word address at the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield , the site of more than 50,000 casualties. By alluding to the Declaration of Independence , he redefined the war as a struggle not just to preserve the Union, but for the fundamental principle of human freedom.

On Religion

During his younger years, the future President remained notoriously noncommittal on the topic of religion—so much so that even his close friends were unable to verify his personal faith. At times, wrote Lincoln scholar Allen Guelzo, “He would actually be aggressive on the subject of unbelief,” asserting that the Bible was just a book or that Jesus was an illegitimate child.

This lack of clarity on his beliefs—Was he an atheist? A skeptic?—proved a political liability early on. After failing to win election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1843, a worried Lincoln expressed fears that his lack of religiosity might have been to blame:

Lincoln won that House seat three years later, but not without his opponent, a revivalist preacher, accusing him of being a religious scoffer. Instead of dismissing the allegation, as he might have before, the future President wrote a public message directly to his constituency to deny any disrepect, while still avoiding pinning himself down to one personal faith:

By his first inauguration, Lincoln had evolved to making full-throated avowals of faith, even declaring that adherence to Christianity was critical to the Union's survival.

On Racial Inequality

It might seem that the author of the Emancipation Proclamation , the president hailed as “the Great Liberator,” would have clear and consistent views on racial justice and equality. Not exactly.

From the onset, Lincoln always opposed the idea and existence of slavery . As early as 1837, when addressing Congress as a newly-elected member of the Illinois General Assembly, the 28-year-old Lincoln proclaimed the institution to be “founded on both injustice and bad policy.”

Nearly two decades later, he continued to reject it on moral and political grounds:

Nonetheless, despite his deep opposition to slavery, Lincoln did not believe in racial equality. He made this point clear during his famed debates against rival Stephen A. Douglas during their race for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois:

Lincoln struggled to articulate a vision for how free Black Americans could integrate into white-dominated U.S. society. Under constant political pressure to offset his push for emancipation, Lincoln frequently floated the idea of resettling African Americans elsewhere —to Africa, the Caribbean or Central America. As early as 1854, he articulated this idea:

Lincoln’s views on race equality continued to evolve until his death. In his last public address, just four days before his assassination, Lincoln seemed to denounce a future in which newly freed Black Americans were barred from a chance at equal access to the American dream.

In that same speech, Lincoln also teased the idea of Black suffrage , particularly maddening one attendee. Listening from the crowd, Confederate sympathizer  John Wilkes Booth heard the assertion and remarked, “That is the last speech he will make.”

Lincoln’s Humor

An essential facet of Lincoln the man—and a huge contributor to his political success—was his witty, folksy humor and his talent for mimicry. An inveterate storyteller, Lincoln skillfully spun up puns, jokes, aphorisms and yarns to offset dicey social and political situations, ingratiate himself with hostile audiences, endear himself with the common man and separate himself from political opponents.

As a lawyer , Lincoln always made a point to speak plainly to the judge and jury, avoiding obscure or high-minded legal jargon. One day in court, another lawyer quoted a legal maxim in Latin, then asked Lincoln to affirm it. His response: “If that’s Latin, you had better call another witness.”

So captivating and engaging was Lincoln’s banter that even his vaunted Senate opponent Stephen A. Douglas begrudgingly acknowledged its effectiveness. Douglas likened it to "a slap across my back. Nothing else—not any of his arguments or any of his replies to my questions—disturbs me. But when he begins to tell a story, I feel that I am to be overmatched."

Humor played a key role, historians say, in Lincoln’s victory over Douglas in their famed 1858 debates. In one instance, he colorfully undercut Douglas’s arguments for the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision as “as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.”

And when hecklers followed a Douglas jibe by calling Lincoln “two-faced,” the future president famously defused the attack with his famed self-deprecating humor:

“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” 

abraham lincoln quotes education

HISTORY Vault: Abraham Lincoln

A definitive biography of the 16th U.S. president, the man who led the country during its bloodiest war and greatest crisis.

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Selected Quotations by Abraham Lincoln

Constitution, democratic government, determination, emancipation, political office, responsibility.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes: Inspirational Quotes from Honest Abe

Abraham Lincoln was an exceptional orator. In compiling the below collection of famous Abraham Lincoln quotes I spent weeks scouring the internet, as well as my own collection of Lincoln biographies, to find the most inspirational quotes that ever left old Abe’s lips.

What emerged is a collection of quotes that have been broken down into categories that look specifically at Lincoln’s thoughts on slavery, leadership, democracy, education, success, and the great freedoms of life, love, and friendship.

In my article on Abraham Lincoln’s speeches I noted how speeches by the sixteenth president of the United States are as quotable as they are important.

The reason for this is that Lincoln had a certain way with words—a wit—that made it impossible to not gain insight, wisdom, or in the case of a number of his quotes (“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”) a good chuckle every time he opened his mouth.

Famous Abraham Lincoln Quotes

I’ve broken the below quotes by Abraham Lincoln into six sections which represent key areas in which Lincoln spoke on frequently. Click any of the links below to be taken to that section, or simply scroll down this page to read each quote one-by-one.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Slavery

Abraham lincoln quotes on leadership, abraham lincoln quotes on democracy, abraham lincoln quotes on education, abraham lincoln quotes on success, abraham lincoln quotes on life.

The Civil War was a time that produced some of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous writings, including Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address , in which the newly sworn-in president noted that “We are not enemies, but friends,” of his southern rivals, as well as his speech at Gettysburg .

The below Abraham Lincoln quotes on slavery give some of his most famous views on the issue:

Collection of Abraham Lincoln’s Quotes on Slavery

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
“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 of earth.”
“No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle–the sheet anchor of American republicanism.”
“You think slavery is right and should be extended; while we think slavery is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us.”
“This is a world of compensations; and 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, can not long retain it.”
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”
“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.”
“The one victory we can ever call complete will be that one which proclaims that there is not one slave or one drunkard on the face of God’s green earth.”
“All I ask for the negro is that if you do not like him, let him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.”
“Let us remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling.”
“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.”

Few presidents are hailed for their leadership skills as much and as often as Abraham Lincoln. The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin even wrote a book (aptly titled Team of Rivals ) about Lincoln’s ability to lead a team of strong characters who were all vying for his position.

The below Abraham Lincoln quotes on leadership are as relevant today as they were over 150 years ago:

Collection of Abraham Lincoln’s Quotes on Leadership

“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.”
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
“Tact: the ability to describe others as they see themselves.”
“Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, but leave him when he is wrong.”
“You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.”
“You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
“I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.”
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”
“When I’m 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 thinking about him and what he is going to say.”
“You can’t make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak.”
“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.”

Lincoln had strong views on the virtues of democracy (“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”).

The below Abraham Lincoln quotes on democracy show his thinking in this area, as do many of his earlier speeches prior to him occupying the office of the presidency:

Collection of Abraham Lincoln’s Quotes on Democracy

“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.”
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
“I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has.”
“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.”
“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”
“I desire to so conduct the affairs of the 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 have at least one friend left—and that friend shall be down inside of me.”
“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.”
“The legitimate object of government is to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they cannot, by individual effort, for at all, or do so well, for themselves.”
“Elections belong to the people. It’s 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.”
“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.”

Education was an area of great intrigue for the sixteenth president of the United States. Friends and rivals alike often referred to him as the Railsplitter, a mocking phrase making reference to his growing up poor—Lincoln was famously born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky.

Despite this, Lincoln prevailed, arguably due to his personal love of learning, an admirable character trait to work toward.

The below Abraham Lincoln quotes on education show just how important lifelong learning was to him:

Collection of Abraham Lincoln’s Quotes on Education

“Those who write clearly have readers, those who write obscurely have commentators.”
“Every head should be cultivated.”
“You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.”
“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.”
“Education does not mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.”
“My mind is like a piece of steel, very hard to scratch anything on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out.”
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”
“A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.”
“Get books, sit yourself down anywhere, and go to reading them yourself.”
“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
“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, and beer.”
“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”
“All I have learned, I learned from books.”
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
“My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”
“I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned.”

Following on from his views on education, Lincoln was a true believer in the power of self-reliance to get ahead in this world, with hard work and dedication viewed as the key to success in almost all walks of life.

The below Abraham Lincoln quotes on success give a view into Lincoln’s thought process where it comes to getting ahead:

Collection of Abraham Lincoln’s Quotes on Success

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”
“That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”
“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”
“The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.”
“If you would win a man to your cause first convince him that you are his sincere friend.”
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other thing.”
“I have a congenital aversion to failure.”
“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.”
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Like all of us, presidents have a life outside of work. Abraham Lincoln was no exception (his daily routine is testament to the quiet time he allowed himself in the mornings). For this reason, throughout his life Lincoln amassed quite a collection of pithy quotes and sayings on topics far and wide.

The below Abraham Lincoln quotes on life show us that despite how far removed his job must have felt from that of his fellow countrymen and women, Lincoln was as human as the rest of us:

Collection of Abraham Lincoln’s Quotes on Life

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”
“Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.”
“I laugh because I must not cry, that is all, that is all.”
“The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.”
“It’s not me who can’t keep a secret. It’s the people I tell that can’t.”
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”
“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”
“Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.”
“Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.”
“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”
“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”
“I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.”
“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.”
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

I hope you enjoyed this collection of famous Abraham Lincoln quotes on the internet. If I’ve missed any of your favorite Lincoln quotes, reach out to me here and I’ll be sure to add them in.

If you’re interested in hearing more from me, be sure to subscribe to my free email newsletter , and if you enjoyed this article, please share it on social media, link to it from your website, or bookmark it so you can come back to it often. ∎

Benjamin Spall

Benjamin Spall

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Abraham Lincoln Quotations Everyone Should Know

What Lincoln Actually Said: 10 Verified Quotes in Context

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abraham lincoln quotes education

Abraham Lincoln's quotations have become a part of American life, and for good reason. During years of experience as a courtroom advocate and political stump speaker , the Rail Splitter developed a remarkable knack for saying things in a memorable way.

In his own time, Lincoln was often quoted by admirers. And in modern times, Lincoln quotes are often cited to prove one point or another.

All too often the circulating Lincoln quotes turn out to be bogus. The history of fake Lincoln quotes is long, and it seems that people, for at least a century, have tried to win arguments by citing something supposedly said by Lincoln .

Despite the endless cascade of fake Lincoln quotes, it's possible to verify a number of brilliant things Lincoln actually did say. Here is a list of particularly good ones:

Ten Lincoln Quotes Everyone Should Know

1.   "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free."

Source: Lincoln's speech to the Republican State Convention in Springfield, Illinois on June 16, 1858. Lincoln was running for U.S. Senate , and was expressing his differences with Senator Stephen Douglas , who often defended the institution of enslavement .

2.   "We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."

Source: Lincoln's first inaugural address , March 4, 1861. Though the states that allowed enslavement had been seceding from the Union, Lincoln expressed a wish that the  Civil War would not begin. The war did break out the next month.

3.   "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."

Source: Lincoln's second inaugural address , which was given on March 4, 1865, as the Civil War was coming to an end. Lincoln was referring to the imminent job of putting the Union back together after years of very bloody and costly warfare.

4. "It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river."

Source: Lincoln was addressing a political gathering on June 9, 1864 while expressing his wish to run for a second term . The comment is actually based on a joke of the time, about a man crossing a river whose horse is sinking and is offered a better horse but says it isn't the time to be changing horses. The comment attributed to Lincoln has been used many times since in political campaigns.

5. "If McClellan is not using the army, I should like to borrow it for a while."

Source: Lincoln made this comment on April 9, 1862 to express his frustration with General George B. McClellan, who was commanding the Army of the Potomac and was always very slow to attack.

6. "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."

Source: The famous opening of the Gettysburg Address , delivered November 19, 1863.

7. "I can't spare this man, he fights."

Source: According to Pennsylvania politician Alexander McClure, Lincoln said this regarding General Ulysses S. Grant after the Battle of Shiloh in the spring of 1862. McClure had advocated removing Grant from command, and the quote was Lincoln's way of disagreeing strongly with McClure.

8. "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that."

Source: A reply to editor Horace Greeley published in Greeley's newspaper, the New York Tribune, on August 19, 1862. Greeley had criticized Lincoln for moving too slowly in bringing an end to the system of enslavement. Lincoln resented pressure from Greeley, and from North American 19th-century Black activists , though he was already working on what would become the Emancipation Proclamation .

9. "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."

Source: The conclusion of Lincoln's speech at Cooper Union in New York City on February 27, 1860. The speech received extensive coverage in the New York City newspapers and instantly made Lincoln, a virtual outsider to that point, a credible candidate for the Republican nomination for president in the election of 1860 .

10. "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day."

Source: According to journalist and Lincoln friend Noah Brooks, Lincoln said the pressures of the presidency and the Civil War had prompted him to pray on many occasions.
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110+ Abraham Lincoln Quotes Everyone Should Read

The 16th president had a lot of brilliant things to say.

Abraham Lincoln Quote Feature

Abraham Lincoln is a master of statements about freedom, democracy, and philosophy. Use his quotes in history or English class to encourage students to think about what Lincoln stood for and how his remarks are relevant today. These Abraham Lincoln quotes are also good for teaching new vocabulary and how to understand and interpret primary sources, since his quotes are each a primary source in miniature.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Slavery and Freedom

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..

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.

This is a world of compensations ; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave.

This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave.- abraham lincoln quotes

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves , and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.

My faith in the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own lies at the foundation of the sense of justice there is in me.

My faith in the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own lies at the foundation of the sense of justice there is in me.- abraham lincoln quotes

Towering genius … thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen.

Towering genius ... thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen.

When the hour comes for dealing with slavery, I trust I will be willing to do my duty though it cost my life.

When the hour comes for dealing with slavery, I trust I will be willing to do my duty though it cost my life.

You may burn my body to ashes, and scatter them to the winds of heaven; you may drag my soul down to the regions of darkness and despair to be tormented forever; but you will never get me to support a measure I believe to be wrong .

You may burn my body to ashes, and scatter them to the winds of heaven; you may drag my soul down to the regions of darkness and despair to be tormented forever; but you will never get me to support a measure I believe to be wrong.- abraham lincoln quotes

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.

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.

Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but, if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her .

Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but, if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her.- abraham lincoln quotes

I believe the declaration that “ all men are created equal ” is the great fundamental principle upon which our free institutions rest.

I believe the declaration that "all men are created equal" is the great fundamental principle upon which our free institutions rest.

In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honourable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth .

In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honourable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free ; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

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.

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.- abraham lincoln quotes

An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of property in a slave is not “distinctly and expressly affirmed” in it.

An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of property in a slave is not "distinctly and expressly affirmed" in it.

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.

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.

I cannot bring myself to believe that any human being lives who would do me any harm.

I cannot bring myself to believe that any human being lives who would do me any harm.

You dislike the emancipation proclamation; and, perhaps, would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional— I think differently .

You dislike the emancipation proclamation; and, perhaps, would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional—I think differently.- abraham lincoln quotes

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Politics

It is the eternal struggle between these two principles—right and wrong—throughout the world. they are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. … it is the same spirit that says, “you work and toil and earn bread, and i’ll eat it.”.

It is the eternal struggle between these two principles—right and wrong—throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. ... It is the same spirit that says, "You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it."

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.

Thoughtful men must feel that the fate of civilization upon this continent is involved in the issue of our contest. Among the most satisfying proofs of this conviction is the hearty devotion everywhere exhibited by our schools and colleges to the national cause.

Thoughtful men must feel that the fate of civilization upon this continent is involved in the issue of our contest. Among the most satisfying proofs of this conviction is the hearty devotion everywhere exhibited by our schools and colleges to the national cause.

I have got you together to hear what I have written down. I do not wish your advice about the main matter—for that I have determined for myself.

I have got you together to hear what I have written down. I do not wish your advice about the main matter—for that I have determined for myself.- abraham lincoln quotes

It is the man who does not want to express an opinion whose opinion I want .

It is the man who does not want to express an opinion whose opinion I want.

The people when right and fully trusted will return the trust .

The people when right and fully trusted will return the trust.

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.

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.

It is not the qualified voters, but the qualified voters who choose to vote, that constitute political power of the state.

It is not the qualified voters, but the qualified voters who choose to vote, that constitute political power of the state.- abraham lincoln quotes

If elected , I shall be thankful; and if not, it will be all the same.

If elected, I shall be thankful; and if not, it will be all the same.

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. I do the very 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 amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.

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. I do the very 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 amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.- abraham lincoln quotes

Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.

Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.

Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces judicial decisions.

Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces judicial decisions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About War

I sincerely wish war was a pleasanter and easier business than it is, but it does not admit of holy-days..

I sincerely wish war was a pleasanter and easier business than it is, but it does not admit of holy-days.

I could as easily bail out the Potomac River with a teaspoon as attend to all the details of the army.

I could as easily bail out the Potomac River with a teaspoon as attend to all the details of the army.

A right result , at this time, will be worth more to the world than ten times the men and ten times the money.

A right result, at this time, will be worth more to the world than ten times the men and ten times the money.- abraham lincoln quotes

We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

Now, and ever, I shall do all in my power for peace, consistently with the maintenance of government.

Now, and ever, I shall do all in my power for peace, consistently with the maintenance of government.- abraham lincoln quotes

Honor to the Soldier and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.

Honor to the Soldier and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country's cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.- abraham lincoln quotes

But in a larger sense , we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or to detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or to detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

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. 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.

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. 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.- abraham lincoln quotes

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Law and Government

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..

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.- abraham lincoln quotes

When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws. … But I do mean to say that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force … they should be religiously observed.

When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws. ...  But I do mean to say that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force ... they should be religiously observed.

You must remember that some things legally right are not morally right .

You must remember that some things legally right are not morally right.

Government of the people , by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Near eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for SOME men to enslave OTHERS is a sacred right of self-government. These principles can not stand together. They are as opposite as God and mammon; and whoever holds to the one, must despise the other.

Near eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for SOME men to enslave OTHERS is a sacred right of self-government. These principles can not stand together. They are as opposite as God and mammon; and whoever holds to the one, must despise the other.- abraham lincoln quotes

The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society.

The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society.- abraham lincoln quotes

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.

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.

Talk to the jury as though your client’s fate depends on every word you utter.

Talk to the jury as though your client’s fate depends on every word you utter.

Now, and ever, I shall do all in my power for peace, consistently with the maintenance of government .

Now, and ever, I shall do all in my power for peace, consistently with the maintenance of government.

Legislation and adjudication must follow, and conform to, the progress of society .

Legislation and adjudication must follow, and conform to, the progress of society.- abraham lincoln quotes

We can not have free government without elections ; and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.

We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.

It may be affirmed, without extravagance, that the free institutions we enjoy have developed the powers, and improved the condition, of our whole people, beyond any example in the world .

It may be affirmed, without extravagance, that the free institutions we enjoy have developed the powers, and improved the condition, of our whole people, beyond any example in the world.

I shall not do more than I can, and I shall do all I can to save the government, which is my sworn duty as well as my personal inclination. I shall do nothing in malice. What I deal with is too vast for malicious dealing.

I shall not do more than I can, and I shall do all I can to save the government, which is my sworn duty as well as my personal inclination. I shall do nothing in malice. What I deal with is too vast for malicious dealing.

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.

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 quotes

Law is nothing else but the best reason of wise men applied for ages to the transactions and business of mankind .

Law is nothing else but the best reason of wise men applied for ages to the transactions and business of mankind.

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?

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?

I understand that it is a maxim of law , that a poor plea may be a good plea to a bad declaration.

I understand that it is a maxim of law, that a poor plea may be a good plea to a bad declaration.

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.- abraham lincoln quotes

We have, as all will agree, a free Government , where every man has a right to be equal with every other man.

We have, as all will agree, a free Government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man.

The master not only governs the slave without his consent, but he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those which he prescribes for himself. Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in government , and that, and that only, is self-government.

The master not only governs the slave without his consent, but he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those which he prescribes for himself. Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in government, and that, and that only, is self-government.

The true rule , in determining to embrace or reject anything, is not whether it have any evil in it, but whether it have more of evil than of good.

The true rule, in determining to embrace or reject anything, is not whether it have any evil in it, but whether it have more of evil than of good. 

There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost every thing, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.

There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost every thing, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.- abraham lincoln quotes

May our children and our children’s children to a thousand generations, continue to enjoy the benefits conferred upon us by a united country , and have cause yet to rejoice under those glorious institutions bequeathed us by Washington and his compeers.

May our children and our children's children to a thousand generations, continue to enjoy the benefits conferred upon us by a united country, and have cause yet to rejoice under those glorious institutions bequeathed us by Washington and his compeers.

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 .

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.

The man who stands by and says nothing, when the peril of his government is discussed, can not be misunderstood. If not hindered, he is sure to help the enemy.

The man who stands by and says nothing, when the peril of his government is discussed, can not be misunderstood. If not hindered, he is sure to help the enemy.

Property is the fruit of labor ; property is desirable; it is a positive good.

Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good.

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.

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.

A jury too often have at least one member more ready to hang the panel than to hang the traitor.

A jury too often have at least one member more ready to hang the panel than to hang the traitor.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Work

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 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.

There is no America without labor, and to fleece the one is to rob the other.

There is no America without labor, and to fleece the one is to rob the other.

Wanting to work is so rare a merit that it should be encouraged.

Wanting to work is so rare a merit that it should be encouraged.- abraham lincoln quotes

Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship .

Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship

When you lack interest in the case, the job will very likely lack skill and diligence in the performance.

When you lack interest in the case, the job will very likely lack skill and diligence in the performance.

I hold the value of life is to improve one’s condition. Whatever is calculated to advance the condition of the honest, struggling laboring man, so far as my judgment will enable me to judge of a correct thing, I am for that thing.

I hold the value of life is to improve one's condition. Whatever is calculated to advance the condition of the honest, struggling laboring man, so far as my judgment will enable me to judge of a correct thing, I am for that thing.

Abraham Lincoln Philosophical Quotes

I am for those means which will give the greatest good to the greatest numbers..

I am for those means which will give the greatest good to the greatest numbers.- abraham lincoln quotes

A man has not the time to spend half his life in quarrels . If any man ceases to attack me, I never remember the past against him.

A man has not the time to spend half his life in quarrels. If any man ceases to attack me, I never remember the past against him.

You are young , and I am older; / You are hopeful, I am not. / Enjoy life, ere it grow colder. / Pluck the roses ere they rot.  

You are young, and I am older; / You are hopeful, I am not. / Enjoy life, ere it grow colder. / Pluck the roses ere they rot.  

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 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.

What is to be will be , and no prayers of ours can arrest the decree.

What is to be will be, and no prayers of ours can arrest the decree.- abraham lincoln quotes

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

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

The way for a young man to rise , is to improve himself every way he can, never suspecting that any body wishes to hinder him.

The way for a young man to rise, is to improve himself every way he can, never suspecting that any body wishes to hinder him.

I never encourage deceit, and falsehood, especially if you have got a bad memory, is the worst enemy a fellow can have. The fact is truth is your truest friend , no matter what the circumstances are.

I never encourage deceit, and falsehood, especially if you have got a bad memory, is the worst enemy a fellow can have. The fact is truth is your truest friend, no matter what the circumstances are.

We shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.

We shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.- abraham lincoln quotes

Perhaps a man’s character is like a tree and his reputation like its shadow . The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

Perhaps a man’s character is like a tree and his reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

When you have got an elephant by the hind leg, and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run .

When you have got an elephant by the hind leg, and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.- abraham lincoln quotes

Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them.

Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them.

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.

If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend .

If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.- abraham lincoln quotes

You can not fail in any laudable object, unless you allow your mind to be improperly directed.

You can not fail in any laudable object, unless you allow your mind to be improperly directed.

The human mind is impelled to action , or held in rest by some power, over which the mind itself has no control.

The human mind is impelled to action, or held in rest by some power, over which the mind itself has no control.

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. Cast about, and see if this feeling has not injured every person you have ever known to fall into it.

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. Cast about, and see if this feeling has not injured every person you have ever known to fall into it.- abraham lincoln quotes

I find quite as much material for a lecture in those points where I have failed, as in those wherein I have been moderately successful .

I find quite as much material for a lecture in those points where I have failed, as in those wherein I have been moderately successful.

Allow me to assure you , that suspicion and jealousy never did help any man in any situation.

Allow me to assure you, that suspicion and jealousy never did help any man in any situation.

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

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

We should avoid planting and cultivating too many thorns in the bosom of society.

We should avoid planting and cultivating too many thorns in the bosom of society.- abraham lincoln quotes

But let the past as nothing be . For the future my view is that the fight must go on.

But let the past as nothing be. For the future my view is that the fight must go on.

In this troublesome world , we are never quite satisfied. When you were here, I thought you hindered me some in attending to business; but now, having nothing but business—no variety—it has grown exceedingly tasteless to me.

In this troublesome world, we are never quite satisfied. When you were here, I thought you hindered me some in attending to business; but now, having nothing but business—no variety—it has grown exceedingly tasteless to me.

There are no accidents in my philosophy. Every effect must have its cause. The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future. All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite.

There are no accidents in my philosophy. Every effect must have its cause. The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future. All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite.- abraham lincoln quotes

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Life

Broken eggs cannot be mended..

Broken eggs cannot be mended.

Let bygones be bygones ; let past differences as nothing be.

Let bygones be bygones; let past differences as nothing be.

Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.

Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.- abraham lincoln quotes

The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships .

The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.

I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned. My mind is like a piece of steel—very hard to scratch anything on it, and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out.

I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned. My mind is like a piece of steel—very hard to scratch anything on it, and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out.

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history . We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves.

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves.- abraham lincoln quotes

You are ambitious , which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm.

You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm.

Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy; but, my friend, these I reckon will give you a good life.

Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy; but, my friend, these I reckon will give you a good life.

A universal feeling , whether well or ill-founded, cannot be safely disregarded.

A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, cannot be safely disregarded.- abraham lincoln quotes

In law it is good policy to never plead what you need not, lest you oblige yourself to prove what you can not.

In law it is good policy to never plead what you need not, lest you oblige yourself to prove what you can not.

I have always believed that a good laugh was good for both the mental and physical digestion.

I have always believed that a good laugh was good for both the mental and physical digestion.- abraham lincoln quotes

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues .

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.- abraham lincoln quotes

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Himself

I am not a very sentimental man ; and the best sentiment i can think of is, that if you collect the signatures of all persons who are no less distinguished than i, you will have a very undistinguishing mass of names..

I am not a very sentimental man; and the best sentiment I can think of is, that if you collect the signatures of all persons who are no less distinguished than I, you will have a very undistinguishing mass of names.

You have more of a feeling of personal resentment than I. Perhaps I may have too little of it, but I never thought it paid .

You have more of a feeling of personal resentment than I. Perhaps I may have too little of it, but I never thought it paid.

If I have one vice and I can call it nothing else it is not able to say “no.”

If I have one vice and I can call it nothing else it is not able to say "no."- abraham lincoln quotes

I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day came.

I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day came.

The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am. None who would do more to preserve it.

The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am. None who would do more to preserve it.

I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it.

I am very little inclined on any occasion to say anything unless I hope to produce some good by it.- abraham lincoln quotes

If you liked these Abraham Lincoln quotes, check out these fascinating facts about Abraham Lincoln for kids .

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Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, left us plenty of inspirational quotes about government, freedom, politics, and life.

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Inspirational Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Life, Leadership and Democracy

Quotes from Abraham Lincoln on life and leadership. Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and is considered one of America’s greatest politicians.

One of America’s greatest politicians, most respected and beloved personalities, Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.

Lincoln’s story is a remarkable one. Born into a humble family with illiterate parents, he got from being a shopkeeper to holding the highest office. While being president, Lincoln led his people through the Civil War , the costliest war in the history of the U.S., and made major decisions on the Union war strategy. He fought for equal rights, liberty , and democracy. Those hard and bloody times led to the abolition of slavery and made the economy flourish.

Switching to merrier times, Abraham Lincoln was also the one to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. That big turkey wouldn’t have had the same appeal without Thanksgiving, would it?

From a great man of significant accomplishments, a big heart with a bigger voice, we’ve handpicked a few sayings to make you cherish honor and become a better person.

57 Inspirational Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Life, Leadership and Democracy

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Abraham Lincoln quotes on life

Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.
When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.
When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.
The best way to predict your future is to create it.
That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.
My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.
I would rather be a little nobody, then to be an evil somebody.
Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.
Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.
Tact: the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
I do the very best I know how — the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.
He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.
Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.

Abraham Lincoln quotes on democracy

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Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.
Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.
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.
No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.
As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
Elections belong to the people. It’s 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.
Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity. Democracy will rise superior to the money power.
I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.
What I want is to get done what the people desire to have done, and the question for me is how to find that out exactly.
Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

Abraham Lincoln quotes on leadership

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.
You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.
Whatever you are, be a good one.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other thing.
I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.
Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Funny Abraham Lincoln quotes

There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.
Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Honestly, if I were two-faced, would I be showing you this one?
No matter how much cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens.
I have come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying, and for this reason, I can never be satisfied with anyone who would be blockhead enough to have me.
If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does it have? — Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.
It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.

Abraham Lincoln quotes on education

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I will prepare and someday my chance will come.
That everyone may receive at least a moderate education appears to be an objective of vital importance.
Every head should be cultivated.
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.
The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.
All I have learned, I learned from books.
When I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to the Rule of Three…. The little advance I now have upon this store of education, I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.
I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.
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Flavia Medrut is a freelance writer, researcher and part-time psychologist. She believes music, long walks and a good sense of humor are imperative in keeping one’s sanity.

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Abraham Lincoln Quotes

“Lincoln’s speech is understandable by people of all walks of life, by immigrants , by young people. Lincoln had no pretentions whatsoever. He allowed what he believed to be convincing on the evidence.” – Lewis Lehrman

Ambition and Opportunity – Civil War and Secession – Constitution – Criticism – Declaration of Independence – Democracy – Determination and Discipline – Education and Self-Development – Equality – Ethics and Honesty – God and Prayer – Grief and Mourning – Labor and Work – Life – Patience and Perseverance – Public Opinion and Persuasion – Reason and Argument – Slavery and Freedom – United States and Union – War and Soldiers

Ambition and Opportunity

“I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has.”

  • Speech to One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864

“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.”

  • Announcement for office , March 9, 1832

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

  • Lyceum Address, January 27, 1838

“Now, as to the young men. You must not wait to be brought forward by the older men. For instance, do you suppose that I should have ever got into notice if I had waited to be hunted up and pushed forward by older men?”

  • Letter to William H. Herndon, July 22, 1848

“Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.”

  • Letter to Quintin Campbell, June 28, 1862

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

  • Letter to George B. McClellan, October 13, 1862

“You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm.”

  • Letter to Joseph Hooker, January 26, 1863

Civil War and Secession

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it’.”

  • Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

“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 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.”

“This is essentially a People’s contest. On the side of the Union, it is a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form, and substance of government, whose leading object is, to elevate the condition of men — to lift artificial weights from all shoulders — to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all — to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life.”

  • Message to Congress, July 4, 1861

“And having thus chosen our course, without guile, and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts.”

  • Special Message to Congress, July 4, 1861

“The struggle of today, is not altogether for today – it is for a vast future also.”

  • Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861

“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.” Letter to William H. Seward, June 28, 1862

“Broken eggs cannot be mended; but Louisiana has nothing to do now but take her place in the Union as it was, barring the already broken eggs.”

  • Letter to August Belmont, July 31, 1862

“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. We must disentrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

  • Message to Congress, December 1, 1862

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.”

“The proportions of this rebellion were not for a long time understood. I saw that it involved the greatest difficulties, and would call forth all the powers of the whole country.”

  • Reply to Members of the Presbyterian General Assembly, June 2, 1863

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

  • Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

“Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came …. Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.”

  • Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865

“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. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party – and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose.”

  • Meditation on the Divine Will, circa September 2, 1862

“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.”

  • Letter to Edwin M. Stanton, March 18, 1864

“In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one.”

  • Speech to the 164th Ohio Regiment, August 18, 1864

“There is more involved in this contest than is realized by eery one. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed.”

“Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”

Constitution

“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.”

  • Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 27, 1856

“Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it.”

  • Speech at Chicago, July 10, 1858

“I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.”

  • Speech to the New Jersey Senate, February 21, 1861

“I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual.”

  • First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

“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.”

  • Letter to Horatio Seymour, August 7, 1863

“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.”

  • Letter to James Conkling, August 26, 1863

“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. I do the very 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’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

  • Conversation with Francis B. Carpenter

Declaration of Independence

“Of our political revolution of ’76, we all are justly proud. It has given us a degree of political freedom, far exceeding that of any other nation of the earth. In it the world has found a solution of the long mooted problem, as to the capability of man to govern himself. In it was the germ which has vegetated, and still is to grow and expand into the universal liberty of mankind.”

  • Temperance Address at Springfield , February 22, 1842

“I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.”

  • Speech at Philadelphia, February 22, 1861

“Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.”

  • Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, January 27, 1838

“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.”

“At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! 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. 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.”

“Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”

  • Speech in the House of Representatives, June 20, 1848

“In leaving the people’s business in their own hands, we cannot be wrong.”

  • Speech in the House of Representatives, July 27, 1848

“The legitimate object of government is ‘to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they can not, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves’.”

  • Fragment on Government, circa July 1, 1854

“Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of equal rights of men…ours began, by affirming those rights. They said, some men are too ignorant, and vicious, to share in government. Possibly so, said we; and, by your system, you would always keep them ignorant, and vicious, to share in government. Possibly so, said we; and, by your system, you would always keep them ignorant, and vicious. We proposed to give all a chance; and we expected the weak to grow stronger, the ignorant wiser; and all better, and happier together.”

  • Fragment on slavery, circa July 1854

“According to our ancient faith, the just powers of governments are derived from the consent of the governed.”

  • Speech at Peoria, October 16, 1854

“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.”

“If there is anything which it is the duty of the whole people to never entrust to any hands but their own, that thing is the preservation and perpetuity of their own liberties and institutions.”

“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle – the sheet anchor of American republicanism.”

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.”

  • Fragment on Democracy, August 1, 1858

“Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them.”

  • Letter to Theodore Canisius, May 17, 1859

“The people – the people – are the rightful masters of both congresses and courts – not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.”

  • Speech in Kansas, December 1859

“I do not mean to say that this 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.”

  • Speech at Cincinnati, September 17, 1859

“Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? IS there any better ore qual hope in the world?”

“The people will save their government, if the government itself will do its part only indifferently well.”

“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.”

“The people’s will, constitutionally expressed, is the ultimate law for all.”

  • Response to Serenade, October 19, 1864

“It is said that we have the best government the world ever knew, and I am glad to meet you, the supporters of that government.”

  • Speech to the 164th Ohio Regiment, October 24, 1864

“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, in great emergencies.”

  • Response to a Serenade, November 10, 1864

Determination and Discipline

“Happy day, when, all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter subjected, mind all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world.”

  • Temperance Address, February 22, 1852

I know not how to aid you, save in the assurance of one of mature age, and much severe experience, that you can not fail, if you resolutely determine, that you will not.”

  • Letter to George Latham, July 22, 1860

“Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.”

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

  • Speech at Pittsburgh, February 14, 1861

“And now, beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy, and sleepless vigilance, go forward, and give us victories.”

Education and Self-Development

“All creation is a mine, and every man a miner.”

  • Lecture on Discoveries, Inventions and Improvements, February 22, 1859

“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. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones.”

  • Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, September 30, 1859

“Every blade of grass is a study; and to produce two, where was but one, is both a profit and pleasure.”

“I believe the declaration that ‘all men are created equal’ is the great fundamental principle upon which our free institutions rest.”

  • Letter to James N. Brown, October 18, 1858

“I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. 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 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. ”

  • Debate at Ottawa, Illinois, August 21, 1858

“I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway 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; and I will say in addition to this that 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. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.”

  • Debate at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858

“We have, as all will agree, a free Government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed.”

  • Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-fourth Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864

Ethics and Honesty

“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.”

  • Address to the People of Sangamon County, March 9, 1832

“I made a point of honor and conscience in all things to stick to my word, especially if others had been induced to act upon it.”

  • Letter to Eliza Browning, April 1, 1838

“In very truth he was, the noblest work of God – an honest man.”

  • Eulogy for Benjamin Ferguson, February 8, 1842

“I believe it is an established maxim im morals that 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.”

  • Letter to Allen N. Ford, August 11, 1846

“Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief — resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer.” Notes for a Law Lecture, circa July 1, 1850

“Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.”

“I planted myself upon the truth, and the truth only, so, as far I knew it, or could be brought to know it.”

  • Speech at Springfield, July 17, 1858

That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They 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.”

  • Debate at Alton, October 15, 1858

“Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.”

  • Cooper Union Address, February 27, 1860

“I have said nothing but I am willing to live by, and, in the pleasure of Almighty God, die by.”

“Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.”

  • September 1864

“Bad promises are better broken than kept.”

  • Last public speech, April 11, 1865

God and Prayer

“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.”

  • Handbill Replying to Charges of Infidelity, July 31, 1846

“To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

  • Farewell Address, February 11, 1861

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

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.”

  • Meditation on the Divine Will, September 1862

“Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in His own good time, will give us the rightful result.”

  • Letter to John C. Conkling, August 26, 1863

“Nevertheless, amid the greatest difficulties of my Administration, when I could not see any other resort, I would place my whole reliance on God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right.”

  • Remarks to the Baltimore Presbyterian Synod, October 24, 1863

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

  • Conversation with Noah Brooks

“…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 should be on the Lord’s side.”

“If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.”

  • Letter to Albert Hodges, April 4, 1864

“In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book.”

  • Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible, September 7, 1864

“Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the almighty and them.”

  • Letter to Thurlow Weed, March 15, 1865

Grief and Mourning

In the untimely loss of your noble son, our affliction here, is scarcely less than your own. So much of promised usefulness to one’s country, and of bright hopes for one’s self and friends, have rarely been so suddenly dashed, as in his fall.

  • Letter to Ephraim D. and Phoebe Ellsworth, May 25, 1861

“In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares.”

  • Letter to Fanny McCullough, December 23, 1862

“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 altar of freedom.”

  • Letter to Lydia Bixby, November 21, 1864

Labor and Work

“To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible, is a worthy object of any good government.”

  • Temperance Address at Springfield, February 22, 1842

“If you intend to go to work, there is no better place than right where you are; if you do not intend to go to work, you can not get along anywhere.”

  • Letter to John D. Johnson, November 4, 1851

“As labor is the common burden of our race, so the effort of some to shift their share of the burden on the shoulders of others is the greatest durable curse of the race.”

  • Fragment on Slavery, circa July 1854

“The ant who has toiled and dragged a crumb to his nest will furiously defend the fruit of his labor against whatever robber assails him. So plain that the most dumb and stupid slave that ever toiled for a master does constantly know that he is wronged.”

“Free labor has the inspiration of hope; pure slavery has no hope.”

  • Fragment on Free Labor, circa September 1859

“I hold 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, and if he had ever made another class that he had intended should do all the work and none of the eating, eh would have made them without mouths and with all hands.”

  • Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio, September 17, 1859

“Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well. With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue. The latter performs a little imperfectly, looks at it in disgust, turns from it, and imagines himself exceedingly tired. The little he has done, comes to nothing, for want of finishing.”

  • Speech before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, September 30, 1859

“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.”

“The world is agreed that labor is the source from which human wants are mainly supplied. There is no dispute upon that point.”

“Every man, black, white or yellow, has a mouth to be fed and two hands with which to feed it – and that bread should be allowed to go to that mouth without controversy.”

  • Speech at Hartford, Connecticut, March 5, 1860

“Work, work, work, is the main thing.”

  • Letter to John M. Brockman, September 25, 1860

“I am not ashamed to confess that twenty-five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flatboat – just what might happen to any poor man’s son. I want every man to have a chance.

  • Speech at New Haven, March 6, 1860

“I hold that while man exists it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind; and therefore, I will simply say that I am for those means which will give the greatest good to the greatest numbers.”

  • Speech at Cincinnati, February 12, 1861

“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.”

  • First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861

“Let him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”

  • Reply to New York Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association, March 21, 1864

“Others have been made fools of by the girls; but this can never be with truth said of me. I most emphatically, in this instance, made a fool of myself.”

“In this troublesome world, we are never quite satisfied.”

  • Letter to Mary Todd Lincoln, April 16, 1848

“The true rule, in determining to embrace or reject anything, is not whether it have any evil in it, but whether it have more of evil than of good.”

  • Speech on Internal Improvements, June 20, 1848

“I wish to do justice to all.”

  • Speech to U.S. House of Representatives, July 27, 1848

“Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”

  • Notes for a law lecture, circa July 1, 1850

“The better part of one’s life consists in his friendships.”

  • Letter to Joseph Gillespie, May 19, 1849

“Let bygones be bygones; let past differences as nothing be.”

  • Speech at Chicago, December 10, 1856

“It really hurts me very much to suppose that I have wronged anybody on earth.”

  • Debate at Quincy, October 13, 1858

“The inclination to exchange thoughts with one another is probably an original impulse of our nature.”

  • Second Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions, February 11, 1859

“I have found that it is not entirely safe, when one is misrepresented under his very nose, to allow this misrepresentation to go uncontradicted.”

  • Speech at Columbus, September 16, 1859

“I have found that when one is embarrassed, usually the shortest way to get through with it is to quit talking or thinking about it, and go at something else.”

“My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

  • Farewell Address at Springfield, February 11, 1861

“How miserably things seem to be arranged in this world. If we have no friends, we have no pleasure; and if we have them, we are sure to lose them, and be doubly pained by the loss.”

  • Letter to Joshua F. Speed, February 25, 1862

“It is a cheering thought throughout life that something can be done to ameliorate the condition of those who have been subject to the hard usage of the world.”

  • Address on Colonization to a deputation of Negroes, August 14, 1862

“Yield larger things to which you can show nor more than equal right; and yield lesser ones, though clearly your own. Better give your path to a dog, than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite.”

  • Letter to James M. Cutts, Jr., October 26, 1863

“I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it.”

  • Letter to James H. Hackett, November 2, 1863

“Important principles may and must be inflexible.”

Patience and Perseverance

“Let none falter, who thinks he is right, and we may succeed.”

  • Speech at Springfield, December 26, 1839

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

  • Letter to Isham Reavis, November 5, 1855

“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 the length falls into his lap.”

  • Remarks at White House, circa February 1865

“We shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.”

Public Opinion and Persuasion

“When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a “drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”

“Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.”

“Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces judicial decisions. He makes possible the enforcement of them, else impossible.”

  • Note for speeches, circa October 1858

“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.”

  • Debate at Ottawa, August 21, 1858

“No policy that does not rest upon philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained.”

Reason and Argument

“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 defence.”

  • Lyceum Address at Springfield, January 27, 1838

“Happy day, when, all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter subjected, mind, all conquering mind, shall live and move the monarch of the world. Glorious consummation! Hail fall of Fury! Reign of Reason, all hail!

  • Temperance Address, February 22, 1842

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

“If a man says he knows a thing, then he must show how he knows it.

“There are two ways of establishing a proposition. One is by trying to demonstrate it upon reason; and the other is to show that great men in former times have thought so and so, and thus to pass it by the weight of pure authority.”

  • Speech at Columbus, Ohio, September 16, 1859

Slavery and Freedom

“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 can not 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.

“You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it.”

  • Letter to Joshua Speed, August 24, 1855

“The slave-breeders and slave-traders, are a small, odious and detested class, among you; and yet in politics, they dictate the course of all of you, and are as completely your masters, as you are the master of your own negroes.”

“On the question of liberty, as a principle, we are not what we have been. 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.”

  • Letter to George Robertson, August 15, 1855

“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.”

“Welcome, or unwelcome, agreeable, or disagreeable, whether this shall be an entire slave nation, is the issue before us.”

  • Fragment of a Speech, circa May 18, 1858

“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.”

  • House Divided Speech, June 16, 1858

“I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes with any other man’s rights.”

  • Speech at Chicago, Illinois, July 10, 1858

“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.”

“If we cannot give freedom to every creature, let us do nothing that will impose slavery upon any other creature.”

“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, everywhere.

  • Speech at Edwardsville, September 11, 1858

“I think we have fairly entered upon a durable struggle as to whether this nation is to ultimately become all slave or all free, and though I fall early in the contest, it is nothing if I shall have contributed, in the least degree, to the final rightful result.

  • Letter to H.D. Sharpe, December 8, 1858

“If slavery is right, it ought to be extended; if not, it ought to be restricted – there is no middle ground.”

  • Speech at Hartford, March 5, 1860

“You think slavery is right and should be extended; while we think slavery is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us.”

  • Letter to Alexander H. Stephens, December 22, 1860

“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; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

  • Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862

“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.”

  • Reply to Serenade in Honor of [Preliminary] Emancipation Proclamation, September 24, 1862

“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 of earth.”

“Still, to use a coarse, but an expressive figure, broken eggs can not be mended. I have issued the emancipation proclamation, and I can not retract it.”

  • Letter to John A. McClernand, January 8, 1863

“I have very earnestly urged the slave-states to adopt emancipation; and it ought to be, and is an object with me not to overthrow, or thwart what any of them may in good faith do, to that end.”

  • Letter to John M. Schofield, June 23, 1863

“You say you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but, no matter. Fight you, then exclusively to save the Union.

“And then, there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation…”

“You dislike the emancipation proclamation; and, perhaps, would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional – I think differently.”

“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. And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling.”

“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 same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.”

  • Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland, April 18, 1864

“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.”

I wish all men to be free.”

  • Letter to Henry W Hoffman, October 4, 1864

“One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war.”

“I have always thought all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire ti for themselves, and secondly, those who desire it others. Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”

  • Speech to One Hundred Fortieth Indiana Regiment, March 17, 1865

United States and Union

“Let North and South – let all Americans – let all lovers of liberty everywhere join in the great and good work.”

“We do not want to dissolve the Union; you shall not.”

  • Speech at Galena, August 1, 1856

“To the best of my judgment I have labored for, and not against the Union.”

  • Speech at Springfield, October 29, 1858

“Let us neither express nor cherish any hard feelings toward any citizen who by his vote has differed with us. 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.”

  • Remarks at Springfield, November 20, 1860

“[M]y opinion is that no state can, in any way lawfully, get out of the Union, without the consent of the others; and that it is the duty of the President, and other government functionaries to run the machine as it is.”

  • Letter to Thurlow Weed, December 17, 1860

“The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776.”

“The United States don’t need the services of boys who disobey their parents.”

  • Letter to Gideon Welles, undated

“I would save the Union. I would save it 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.’”

“May our children and our children’s children to a thousand generations, continue to enjoy the benefits conferred upon us by a united country, and have cause yet to rejoice under those glorious institutions bequeathed us by Washington and his compeers.”

  • Speech at Frederick, Maryland, October 4, 1862

“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. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

  • Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862

“A fair examination of history has seemed to authorize a belief that the past action and influences of the Untied States were generally regarded as having been beneficent towards mankind.”

  • Letter to the Workingmen of Manchester, England, January 19, 1863

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“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.

  • Letter to James S. Wadsworth, January 1864

“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.”

  • Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864

“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. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father’s.”

  • Speech to 148th Ohio Regiment, August 31, 1864

“Thoughtful men must feel that the fate of civilization upon this continent is involved in the issue of our contest.”

  • Letter to John Maclean, December 27, 1864

“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 his orphan.”

War and Soldiers

“He who does something at the head of one Regiment, will eclipse him who does nothing at the head of a hundred.”

  • Letter to David Hunter, December 31, 1861

“With us every soldier is a man of character, and must be treated with more consideration than is customary in Europe.”

  • Letter to Count Gasparin, August 4, 1862

“I would like to speak in terms of praise du to the many brave officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the war.”

  • Response to Serenade, July 7, 1863

“Men who, by fighting our battles, bear the chief burthen of saving our country.”

  • Letter to Montgomery Blair, July 24, 1863

“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

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

  • Speech at Philadelphia, June 16, 1864

40 Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Freedom & Discipline (Explained)

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), the 16th President of the United States, is considered one of history’s greatest leaders during times of crisis. During his tenure as president, he led the country through one of its darkest periods, the Civil War , and played an integral role in abolition.

Aside from his political achievements, Lincoln’s life was marked by struggle, hardship, and perseverance. He was a man of high character, integrity, and compassion.

Abraham Lincoln’s speeches were renowned for their eloquence and power because of his mastery of words and talent for crafting compelling statements. From his powerful rhetoric on democracy and equality to his famous address at Gettysburg , Lincoln’s words have become a source of wisdom and  inspiration  for people around the world.

In this post, I’ve shared 40 of the most memorable Abraham Lincoln quotes. I have also looked at their timeless wisdom and lessons that are as relevant today as they were over 150 years ago. So, let’s dive in and find out how Lincoln’s words live on!

40 Abraham Lincoln Quotes (Explained)

I am a slow walker, but I never walk back. - Abraham Lincoln

I am a slow walker, but I never walk back. Abraham Lincoln

Brief Analysis

Progress isn’t always about moving fast or making rapid moves.

Never walking back indicates that we should stay committed to our goals, even if obstacles and setbacks slow us down on our way.

In other words…

We need not be the quickest or most skilled person, but we should be the one who never gives up or retreats from a challenge.

Also Read: 27 Inspirational & Funny January Quotes (January Letter Board Quotes)

Whatever you are, be a good one. - Abraham Lincoln

Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln

Regardless of your profession or role in life, you should aim to be the best at it. This means doing your best, being dedicated, and taking pride in your accomplishments.

By giving your best, no matter what people around you think about your work ethic, you can make a positive impact on yourself and your organization.

In the same way, being the best version of yourself will fill your personality with positive vibes.

To put it simply, you should always strive for excellence in your daily life.

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be. - Abraham Lincoln

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be. Abraham Lincoln

Our level of happiness is mainly determined by our mindset and attitude in life. A happy life is primarily driven by our own choices and not our external events or circumstances.

Think about it – the more we focus on the positive aspects of our lives, the more likely we are to be happy.

However, focusing on negative things will only lead to less happiness.

At the end of the day, making a conscious decision to have a positive outlook on life is all we need to do to be happy.

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all. - Abraham Lincoln

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all. Abraham Lincoln

Reading can help us realize that our thoughts are not as original or special as we imagined, but there are many people who have thought similar thoughts and ideas before us.

In spite of this, we shouldn’t let it discourage us from pursuing our own ideas.

Rather, this should encourage us to read more and learn from the wisdom of the past.

Therefore, books can serve as both a source of humility and inspiration, encouraging us to keep learning, growing, and contributing to the collective wisdom of humanity.

Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it. - Abraham Lincoln

Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it. Abraham Lincoln

Our perception of reality is shaped by our beliefs, attitudes, and expectations.

If we have a negative view of others, we will interpret their actions and words in a negative light, leading them to focus on the flaws and faults of other people.

In contrast, if we have a more positive outlook on others, we are more likely to see the good in them.

That’s why we shouldn’t judge or criticize people too quickly. As a result, we can build better relationships, more understanding, and more positivity in our lives.

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. - Abraham Lincoln

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. Abraham Lincoln

Success comes from careful planning, deliberate action, and unwavering commitment.

Putting your feet in the right place means having a clear vision of your goals , carefully considering your options, and making intentional choices that align with your values and aspirations.

It is essential to take the time to assess every situation and decide how to proceed.

Once you have put your feet in the right place, it is equally crucial to stand firm. This means having the strength and resilience to carry on, despite challenges or uncertainty.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. - Abraham Lincoln

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. Abraham Lincoln

It is necessary to be honest and truthful in life because eventually, the truth will come to light, and people will see through the deception.

The statement can be related to various aspects of life, including politics, relationships, and business.

A politician, for instance, may deceive some people with false promises or propaganda, but the truth will eventually come out, and the deception will be exposed.

The truth will ultimately prevail, so it is best to be truthful from the get-go when we act and interact with others.

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. - Abraham Lincoln

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Abraham Lincoln

Even when things seem hopeless or you feel like giving up, there is always something you can do to hold on and keep moving forward.

The “end of your rope” means different things to different people. It could be a difficult situation, a personal crisis, or a feeling of being stuck in life.

Tying a knot and hanging on means finding a way to keep going, even when it feels like you’re hanging by a thread.

It could also mean seeking out support from friends and family, finding new solutions to old problems, or simply summoning the strength to keep going in the face of adversity.

The best way to predict your future is to create it. - Abraham Lincoln

The best way to predict your future is to create it. Abraham Lincoln

You have the power to shape your future through your actions and decisions. Instead of leaving it to the chance, take control and steer it in the direction you desire.

This means being proactive and taking responsibility for your own life.

Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, but actively seek them out and make the most of them. Don’t let setbacks or failures hold you back, but learn from them and use them as stepping stones to success.

In creating your future, you achieve your goals as well as develop a sense of purpose and meaning for your life.

Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing. - Abraham Lincoln

Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln

Your character represents your essence and values. They develop slowly over time, rooted in your experiences, beliefs, and choices.

In contrast, your reputation is like the shadow your character casts. It is the reflection of how others perceive you, based on your words and deeds.

As the tree remains the real thing, your character is the core of who you are.

So, in order to represent your best self, it is necessary to nurture your character.

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. - Abraham Lincoln

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln had a challenging childhood. He grew up in poverty in a log cabin in rural Kentucky, and his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died when he was just nine years old.

Despite these challenges, Lincoln went on to become one of the greatest American presidents in history, known for his leadership during the Civil War and his commitment to ending slavery.

There is no doubt that our mothers are the unsung heroes in our lives, quietly shaping us into the people we will become. This quote demonstrates Lincoln’s acknowledgment that he owes both his success and his character to his mother’s love and guidance during his formative years.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. - Abraham Lincoln

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe . Abraham Lincoln

Imagine trying to chop down a tree with a dull axe. Obviously, you wouldn’t be able to accomplish the task in a timely manner, and it would be incredibly difficult and time-consuming.

When the axe is sharpened prior to chopping, it becomes much easier and more effective.

The same principle applies to any endeavor. In the end, taking your time to prepare and plan beforehand will make the task itself easier and more effective.

When it comes to success, preparation is just as important as hard work. To succeed, make sure you invest in preparation and planning.

I will prepare and some day my chance will come. - Abraham Lincoln

I will prepare and some day my chance will come. Abraham Lincoln

Success is not just about luck or innate talent – It’s about putting in the hard work and preparation to be ready when opportunities arise.

It’s about staying focused on our goals and never giving up, even when challenges arise.

As Lincoln’s quote reminds us, we must prepare ourselves and be ready to seize the opportunities that are ours when they arise.

This will increase our chances of success.

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. - Abraham Lincoln

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

The future can often overwhelm us…

But we should stay grounded in the present and trust that every day will get us closer to where we want to be.

A traveler embarking on a long journey through a dense forest is oblivious to the path ahead as they take their first step, they realize that each step they take brings them closer to their destination.

So we should embrace the present moment and trust that, with patience and persistence, we will eventually succeed.

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. - Abraham Lincoln

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. Abraham Lincoln

Strict justice, while necessary in some cases, can sometimes be too harsh and unforgiving, causing more harm than good.

By showing mercy and understanding to others, we can create a more harmonious society, one that is built on a foundation of compassion and empathy.

The “richer fruits” that Lincoln referred to could be the positive outcomes that result from showing mercy, such as reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing.

Showing mercy to others allows people to learn from their mistakes and become better versions of themselves, rather than living in shame and guilt.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. - Abraham Lincoln

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Patience is admirable, but it’s not enough to achieve success.

The phrase “things left by those who hustle” implies that success belongs to those who are not content to sit back and wait, but rather take action to make things happen.

In other words, we must be proactive, take risks, and work hard to make our own luck.

Success comes to those who are willing to put in the effort and take advantage of the opportunities they create.

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. - Abraham Lincoln

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. Abraham Lincoln

We must face our responsibilities head-on and deal with them in a timely and responsible manner. It’s tempting to avoid difficult situations or delay them as long as possible.

In reality, this only prolongs the issue and makes it more challenging to resolve in the future.

Simply put, we are responsible for our actions and decisions, and we must face them with courage rather than running away.

By doing so, we can become more productive, responsible, and successful individuals.

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. - Abraham Lincoln

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. Abraham Lincoln

Those who do not seek to gain wisdom every day are not fulfilling their potential.

Every day is an opportunity for growth and development, which is why we should reflect on our experiences, learn from our mistakes, and apply our newfound knowledge to improve ourselves.

We should also remember that knowledge and wisdom are not static concepts. What one knew yesterday may not be sufficient for today or tomorrow.

We must continue to seek new knowledge and perspectives to stay current and adapt to changing times.

You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry. - Abraham Lincoln

You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry. Abraham Lincoln

What we become angry about also speaks volumes about our priorities and beliefs.

A person who becomes angry about injustices, inequality, or cruelty toward others shows that they are likely empathetic and compassionate.

In contrast, someone who becomes angry about small inconveniences or trivial matters may not be as compassionate or empathic.

Although anger is a complex emotion that can be triggered by a variety of reasons, the way we react to it usually reveals our true nature.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves. - Abraham Lincoln

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves. Abraham Lincoln

Imagine you’re a parent trying to teach your child how to ride a bicycle.

At first, you hold onto the bike and help your child balance as they pedal. However, as they start to gain confidence, you gradually let go and allow them to ride on their own. They eventually learn to ride without your assistance.

These words are a reminder that sometimes the best way to help someone is by empowering them to help themselves. It’s important to provide support and guidance, but ultimately, individuals must take responsibility for their own lives and actions.

By doing so, we can promote independence, self-reliance, and personal growth.

Also Read: Ayn Rand Quotes on Society, Individualism, Government & Freedom

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. - Abraham Lincoln

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. Abraham Lincoln

In spite of how successful or accomplished your grandfather or ancestors were, you do not automatically inherit their traits or success.

You have to take responsibility for your own life and make your own way in the world.

You should be self-reliant. As an individual, you cannot rely solely on others’ achievements or resources but instead must take responsibility for your own growth and development to create your own legacy.

Remember, success is not inherited or given; it is earned through hard work, determination, and personal growth.

I am not concerned that you have fallen -- I am concerned that you arise. - Abraham Lincoln

I am not concerned that you have fallen – I am concerned that you arise. Abraham Lincoln

To “fall” in life could mean many things: we might make mistakes, face rejection, experience loss, or encounter any number of challenges.

These experiences can be painful and discouraging, but they are also opportunities to become a little bit stronger, a little bit more capable, and a little bit more resilient.

In general, we should approach life with a growth mindset.

Instead of dwelling on our failures, we should move forward with our goals.

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

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

Lincoln believed that the United States was at crossroads, with the issue of slavery threatening to tear the country apart.

He recognized that the nation could not continue to exist as “permanently half slave and half free,”.

He believed that the nation had the strength and resilience to overcome its differences and emerge stronger, provided slavery was resolved.

In modern times, these words remind us that unity and solidarity are essential for any society to thrive and that we must work together to address the issues that threaten to divide us.

We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it. - Abraham Lincoln

We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it. Abraham Lincoln

It is important not to be easily offended by the words or actions of others. It takes grace to rise above insults, criticisms, or provocations and respond with calmness and reason instead of anger or resentment.

Choosing how to respond to other people’s opinions and behaviors requires understanding that they are not necessarily reflections of our own.

To be “too noble to give offense” means that we should strive to treat others with respect and kindness, even when they show hostility or disrespect.

We can do so by setting aside our own egos and desires for revenge. In essence, we should be bigger than our minor grievances.

You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. - Abraham Lincoln

You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. Abraham Lincoln

Having a passion for something is the first step toward achieving it.

When we truly want something, we persevere despite obstacles and setbacks, refusing to give up until we achieve it.

Of course, simply having a desire is not enough. To achieve our goals, we must also be willing to work hard and sacrifice.

Our purpose must also remain focused and committed even when the journey is difficult.

The ballot is stronger than the bullet. - Abraham Lincoln

The ballot is stronger than the bullet. Abraham Lincoln

Democracy, which provides people with the freedom to choose their leaders, is more powerful than violence.

This means that a single vote has the potential to influence the outcome of an election, and ultimately, the direction of a nation.

Violence is never the answer when it comes to political change . Instead, Lincoln believed in the power of the ballot box and encouraged citizens to use their voices to create change.

A society that operates through peaceful means has a greater chance of creating lasting, positive change, and that democracy provides a framework for achieving this.

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

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

As humans, we often find ourselves influenced by the opinions and actions of those around us. The pressure to conform to societal norms or follow the crowd can feel overwhelming, even if it goes against what we believe is right.

When we stand up for what we believe in, we are asserting our independence and showing that we have the strength and conviction to follow our own moral compass.

It can be challenging, especially when others criticize or reject us, but ultimately it makes us unique.

That’s why by standing firm in our principles, we demonstrate a kind of courage that is not just admirable but also divine.

Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. - Abraham Lincoln

Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. Abraham Lincoln

Commitment has the power to transform a mere promise into reality.

By making a commitment, we show the world we’re committed to completing the task.

As long as we stay committed, we will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, knowing that we have accomplished our goal.

As a result, we will become more confident in ourselves, knowing we have the power to make our promises a reality.

Get books, sit yourself down anywhere, and go to reading them yourself. - Abraham Lincoln

Get books , sit yourself down anywhere, and go to reading them yourself. Abraham Lincoln

In our fast-paced world, where instant gratification and digital distractions reign supreme, reading books may seem like a lost art. We are bombarded with information from all sides, but not much of that information is truly meaningful.

Reading allows us to take a step back from the noise of modern life and immerse ourselves in the wisdom and knowledge books provide.

It is not just a hobby, but a habit that can shape our lives and make us better human beings.

So, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the chaos of everyday life, grab a book and immerse within yourself.

Hypocrite: The man who murdered his parents, and then pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan. - Abraham Lincoln

Hypocrite: The man who murdered his parents, and then pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan. Abraham Lincoln

These words highlight the absurdity of a hypocrite’s behavior and the importance of being honest.

It is a powerful reminder that actions speak louder than words.

People should take responsibility for their actions, instead of using excuses or justifications to avoid facing the consequences.

If friendship is your weakest point then you are the strongest person in the world. - Abraham Lincoln

If friendship is your weakest point then you are the strongest person in the world. Abraham Lincoln

Friendship is a beautiful thing that can bring joy, happiness, and support into our lives.

It can, however, also be a source of vulnerability. As a result, we can feel weak and exposed.

However, the ability to form and maintain strong, meaningful friendships is a sign of emotional intelligence, empathy, and social skills.

In this sense, having strong friendships can actually be a sign of strength.

Also Read: 75 Barack Obama Quotes on Success, Change, Education, Racism, America, & Life

You can’t make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak. - Abraham Lincoln

You can’t make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak. Abraham Lincoln

We can’t make someone stronger by weakening or belittling another person. It is essential to empower people by developing their own strengths rather than bringing others down.

Whether it be in relationships, business, or politics, we can’t achieve progress by tearing down our opponents.

Instead, we should strive to build ourselves up while respecting others’ strengths and contributions.

To sum it up, we should focus on positive, constructive efforts that benefit everyone.

Force is all conquering, but it's victories are short lived. - Abraham Lincoln

Force is all conquering, but it’s victories are short lived. Abraham Lincoln

The use of force may appear to be the quickest and most effective solution to a problem, but it often leads to new problems.

It is because force is typically accompanied by a disregard for others’ needs and concerns, leading to resentment, hostility, and resistance.

In contrast, lasting solutions often require the cooperation of all parties involved in order to be sustainable and effective.

Although it may take more time and effort, this approach is more likely to result in lasting success and positive outcomes for all parties.

Life is hard but so very beautiful. - Abraham Lincoln

Life is hard but so very beautiful. Abraham Lincoln

The true beauty of life lies in the small moments of joy and happiness that we experience.

Although these beautiful aspects of life may seem insignificant in comparison to the challenges we face, they are what make life worth living.

Moreover, the beauty of life is often found in the growth that comes from overcoming obstacles and facing adversity.

Life isn’t always easy, but it’s still beautiful and precious.

You cannot have the right to do what is wrong! - Abraham Lincoln

You cannot have the right to do what is wrong! Abraham Lincoln

There is a thin line between individual freedoms and ethical responsibility.

At its core, this quote speaks to the idea that we must always consider the broader implications of our actions and decisions. We cannot simply focus on our own individual rights without taking into account how those actions impact others around us.

In today’s world, where the line between right and wrong can often seem blurry, Lincoln’s words serve as a powerful reminder of our responsibility to act with integrity and to make decisions based on our principles, not just our self-interest.

They challenge us to consider the impact of our actions and to strive for a better, more just society.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. - Abraham Lincoln

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

We often feel pressure to speak up in a group or during a conversation, especially if we want to appear knowledgeable or impressive.

However, if you don’t truly understand the topic at hand, speaking up could actually undermine your credibility and damage your reputation.

Sometimes saying nothing at all can be more impactful than speaking, particularly when you’re unsure of what to say or how to say it.

Silence can convey humility, respect, and willingness to learn from others.

If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. - Abraham Lincoln

If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. Abraham Lincoln

Slavery…

It is the ultimate expression of exploitation and domination over other human beings.

It strips individuals of their freedom, dignity, and humanity, reducing them to mere property that can be bought, sold, and used at the whim of their owners.

This practice is morally inexcusable and fundamentally incompatible with the principles of equality , freedom, and justice that underpin our society.

That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. – Abraham Lincoln

That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. Abraham Lincoln

Success is an attainable goal, it is not something that is reserved for the privileged or lucky few.

By acknowledging the success of others, we can become inspired and motivated to achieve our goals and aspirations.

The success of others can also inspire us to pursue our own dreams, even in the face of setbacks or challenges.

Remember, success is not a zero-sum game, where one person’s success comes at the expense of another’s failure, it is a collaborative effort.

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln

Our existence is not measured by the length of time we have on this earth, but instead, by the quality of our experiences.

It’s not just about living a long life but living a life full of purpose, passion, and joy.

Our time on this earth is limited, so we must live our lives to the fullest and make the most out of every moment.

We should strive to create meaningful memories, cultivate deep relationships, and pursue our dreams and aspirations with enthusiasm and determination.

Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today. – Abraham Lincoln

Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today. Abraham Lincoln

By procrastinating our daily tasks, we not only delay the inevitable but also delay progress to achieve new goals. We become prisoners of our own indecision, forever stuck in a cycle of inaction that eventually breeds frustration, stress, and regret.

That’s why if we want to succeed in life, we must take action, whether it’s a small task or a major project. By doing so, we’ll not only get things done but also build the momentum and confidence we need to tackle even bigger challenges down the road.

Now, this is easier said than done. Overcoming procrastination requires discipline, self-awareness, and a willingness to face our fears and doubts.

But it is what leads us to greater productivity, better time management, improved mental health , and a greater sense of accomplishment.

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Admin - Art of Poets

Admin - Art of Poets

I'm a former writer with a bachelor's degree in English literature. I’ve always believed that words are a powerful medium for personal growth and transformation.

That’s why I founded Art of Poets on Instagram back in 2018 to share meaningful, motivational words with others. Today, it inspires a community of over 2.4 Million readers on Instagram, Facebook, Threads, and this website which I launched in March 2023.

While I choose to remain anonymous, my passion for sharing inspiring quotes and blog posts on personal growth will always be fueled by the belief that words can truly transform our lives.

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Abraham Lincoln’s Education

abraham lincoln quotes education

Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 to an illiterate father and a mother who only had basic reading skills. Lincoln himself did not receive extensive formal education. According to the sixteenth president of the United States, he only attended school every now and then. In 1858, he even described his formal education as “flawed.”

When he was nominated for the presidency of the United States in 1860, he felt sad about his meager formal schooling. He attended school only occasionally, so his formal education amounted to only a year. Lincoln did not go to college either. He was self-educated and sustained his appetite for independent learning all his life. Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah, described him as a boy who was always reading something and had a fascination with learning. Even as an adult, Lincoln continued to read to improve himself as a person, studying books on English grammar and immersing himself in the Greek mathematician Euclid when he served in Congress.

Learning as a Young Boy

A cousin of Lincoln’s mother named Dennis Hanks claimed he was the one who first taught Lincoln how to read and write. Hanks said he handed Lincoln a quill feather he had taken from a buzzard that he had shot with a rifle. Then he said he guided the young boy’s hand to give him the feeling of what writing was like.

Lincoln was six years old when he and his sister started to go to a school located two miles away from their home in Knob Creek. It was a subscription school, and it conducted classes only a few months out of the year. When Lincoln was seven years old, his father moved the family to Indiana. Here, there were no schools, so Lincoln and his sister continued their learning by simply reading books at home. In 1819, a school opened just over a mile away from the Lincolns’ home, and both Lincoln and Sarah were able to resume their formal education. 

However, the school did not satisfy Lincoln’s huge appetite for learning. It was common for him to borrow books from his neighbors, and he was even known to read books twice when he wanted to memorize excerpts that captivated his imagination. His father liked the idea that young Lincoln was attending school but was annoyed at the young boy’s continuous reading, especially when he was expected to work around the house. And so, in an attempt to stop his son’s non-stop reading, his father hid his son’s books and even threw away some of them. This only caused Lincoln to feel bitter toward his father. This bitterness was made worse when his father started to hurt him physically as punishment for reading when he was supposed to be doing house chores. 

Once, his father slapped young Lincoln when he tried to correct his father’s account of a story. When Lincoln left his father’s house at the age of twenty-two, his father was reported to have mockingly said that his son may still be deluding himself with education. He said that he tried to stop his son’s foolishness but failed to get it out of the young boy’s head. He added that if his son would stop wasting his time on books, he might achieve something important.

The young Lincoln’s schoolmates and neighbors remembered him as an insatiable reader, poring over books like the Bible, Robinson Crusoe, Aesop’s Fables, spelling books, and newspapers. Later, Lincoln studied Shakespeare and British history. Lincoln stood at six feet and four inches and looked very strong, and his neighbors thought he was lazy for wasting all that physical size and strength on books and writing.

Lincoln’s aggressive self-education did not stop with reading. He also developed a manner of speaking that reflected his upbringing in the backwoods. He trained himself to speak in the voice of the common man by conversing with his fellow townspeople and schoolmates. When he reached his early twenties, he was already an articulate and smooth-speaking orator. Some historians disagree with this, though, and say that even as a politician, Lincoln’s manner of speaking was still coarse.

Self-Taught Attorney

It was not hard to become an attorney during Lincoln’s time, but he still underwent hardships in becoming one. In 1837, there were not that many law schools, and most students educated themselves in Law by studying under an attorney for three years and then taking the bar exam, which was nothing but oral back then. Meanwhile, Lincoln only borrowed books from a local attorney and studied legal cases intensively. He took on different kinds of casual jobs throughout his studies to sustain himself. Because he was at a disadvantage because he was self-taught, it took Lincoln four years instead of three before receiving his license. Lincoln had a sharp memory, but his mind was not as fast. It took his mind a while before he was able to grasp the concept at hand. Lincoln himself said that he was slow to understand, but he retained the material in his mind for a long time. He said further that his mind was like steel — hard to etch something on it, but near-impossible to erase the etchings on it.

As a Member of Congress

When he was serving in the House of Representatives, his friends thought it was hilarious that Lincoln spent his free time reading books inside the Library of Congress. However, his self-education enabled him to grow a scholarly power that showed its force in his speeches and writings. His power of speech was driven by his sound arguments and the well-founded knowledge he had learned through his non-stop reading.

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Lesson Plan: African American Letters to Abraham Lincoln

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Two Letters

Actors John Floyd and Kaiyla Gross read letters written from Hannibal Cox and Annie Davis to President Abraham Lincoln. This event took place onstage at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., where the 16th president was assassinated in 1865.

Description

This lesson highlights over 15 letters sent from African Americans to President Abraham Lincoln. The lesson features Howard University Playwriting & Scriptwriting Professor Denise Hart, author and Lincoln historian Edna Greene Medford, and author Jonathan White discussing historical themes and actors Nia Savoy-Dock, John Floyd, and Kaiyla Gross reading excerpts of the various letters onstage at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Opening with two reflective questions that ask students to consider how people communicate with the President today and to detail the impacts of Abraham Lincoln on African Americans, the lesson then features an introductory section where students view two video clips in which they hear two letters written to the 16th President and learn about the importance of hearing African American voices from the era of Abraham Lincoln. Next, students view and analyze three video clips that illustrate the experiences of African Americans during the early parts of the American Civil War. Students then learn about the experiences of African Americans from the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation through their service during the American Civil War by watching and responding to four video clips. After that, students view and analyze three video clips that summarize African Americans’ efforts to seek rights and justice during the American Civil War. Students then view and analyze two final video clips in which they learn about the case of Elizabeth Shorter, Abraham Lincoln's related pardon of her, and one of Lincoln's visits to a contraband camp during the Civil War. Finally, students respond to a summative writing prompt that asks them to "assess the letters' impact on Lincoln’s evolving views and actions."

This lesson offers several options for you to use with your students whether you are teaching in class, using a hybrid model, or engaging through distance learning. It can be completed in steps as a class or students can move at their own pace and complete the activities independently.

You can post links to the videos in the lesson along with the related handout and engage in discussion to share responses on a discussion board or learning management system.

You can also save and share the following Google resource for students to use with this lesson.

Handout: Graphic Organizer (Google Doc).

In Google, choose "File" then "Make a Copy" to get your own copy. You can make any needed adjustments in the instructions such as which activities students need to complete, when it is due, etc. and then make it available to them via Google.

Pose the following brainstorming questions to your students, directing them to record their responses in their graphic organizer, share with a partner, and then with the class if they choose.

  • How do people communicate with the President of the United States today?
  • What impacts did President Abraham Lincoln have on African Americans?

INTRODUCTION

Direct students to the Introduction section of their graphic organizers. Play the following two clips in which your students will hear two letters written to the 16th President and learn about the importance of hearing African American voices from the era of Abraham Lincoln. Direct your students to answer the related questions on their graphic organizer and share their findings with a partner, small group, or the class when finished.

Clip #1: Two Letters (2:12).

  • As read by Actor John Floyd, why did the writer of the first letter opt to fight for the Union Army?
  • Access the text of the first letter here (Lincoln Library and Museum). How does this letter compare to one you might write? Explain.
  • As read by actor Kaiyla Gross, what is the “desire” of the author of the second letter?
  • Access the text of the second letter here (Song of America). What is the author asking of President Abraham Lincoln?

Clip #2: Importance of Voices (4:27).

  • How have historians historically “relegated” the lived experiences of African Americans in the 19th century?
  • Why is it important that the voices of African Americans get center stage “without edit or apology?”
  • What “ability” did people like Frederick Douglass and Charlotte Forten not have? Why?
  • How was Hannibal Cox’s letter a “remarkable moment?” Explain.

Direct your students to their graphic organizers to view and define the vocabulary terms that will appear in the lesson in the chart in their graphic organizer handout. The vocabulary words are also listed to the right on this webpage.

We recommend having your students complete the activity in a jigsaw format to save time. Or, depending on time and resources, you may consider having your students engage in a Frayer's Model activity , where each student is responsible for completing one or two items. Students can then post their models around the room for reference throughout the lesson.

Note: this is not an all-encompassing list of terms included in each video. We recommend you preview the video clips to determine any necessary additions/subtractions to this list for your specific students .

Direct students to the Early War section of their graphic organizers. Instruct your students to view the following three video clips that illustrate the experiences of African Americans during the early parts of the American Civil War. Direct your students to answer the related questions on their graphic organizer and share their findings with a partner, small group, or the class when finished.

Clip #3: Offers to Volunteer (2:18).

  • Based on the clip, how many African American men ultimately served in the Union Army?
  • What did Abraham Lincoln “call for” in April 1861? Summarize the response.
  • According to Jonathan White, why did Lincoln initially not allow African Americans to fight in the Union Army?
  • When did Lincoln see African Americans as an “essential component of the war effort?”
  • Summarize the offer made in the letter from 1861, as read in the clip.

Clip #4: Deportation and Colonization (5:46).

  • Describe what Abraham Lincoln “concluded” by the end of the first year of the Civil War.
  • What did Lincoln have to “prepare the nation” for? Explain.
  • Based on the clip, what occurred during and after the 1862 delegation meeting at the White House?
  • Summarize the response in the “press” after the 1862 meeting.
  • How does A.P. Smith respond to the idea of deportation in his public letter to Lincoln (Newspapers.com)?

Clip #5: Mobilization and Grievances (5:30).

  • According to Edna Greene Medford, why had African Americans been able to ‘mobilize’ in the past?
  • Based on the clip, how did African Americans mobilize against the ideas of deportation and colonization?
  • Summarize the “laundry list” of grievances in the letter, as read in the clip. What goals do the authors have?

FREEDOM AND FIGHTING

Direct students to the Freedom and Fighting section of their graphic organizers. Instruct your students to view the following four video clips that detail the experiences of African Americans from the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation through their service during the American Civil War. Direct your students to answer the related questions on their graphic organizer and share their findings with a partner, small group, or the class when finished.

Clip #6: Emancipation Proclamation and Response (6:01).

  • According to Denise Hart, what did Abraham Lincoln issue on January 1st, 1863?
  • What “pressure” did Lincoln face as the Civil War progressed? Why?
  • Describe the process toward the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation (1863). Why did Lincoln sign his “whole name” on the document?
  • Based on the clip, describe the reaction to and impact of the Proclamation.
  • Summarize the content of the letter ( The Beaufort Gazette ) from the Baptist Church in Beaufort, SC to Lincoln.

Clip #7: Recruiting Black Men for the Military (6:38).

  • What was “authorized” by the Emancipation Proclamation (1863)?
  • Describe the “limitations” to African Americans’ willingness to serve in the Union Army.
  • According to Jonathan White, who was Parker Gloucester and what did he do?
  • Summarize the Sons of Liberty’s comments about ‘liberty’ in their letter to Abraham Lincoln, as read in the clip. What offer do they make to Lincoln?

Clip #8: Prejudice and Inequality for Black Soldiers (7:13).

  • What were African American soldiers “promised” when they enlisted in the Union Army?
  • Based on the clip, what forms of inequality did African American soldiers face?
  • According to Jonathan White, what was Abraham Lincoln’s response to calls for equality?
  • What “other issues” did African American soldiers face, and how did they respond?
  • Who was Corporal James Henry Gooding, and what did he ask for in his letter to Lincoln (University College London)?

Clip #9: Inequity and Hardship (5:46).

  • What “inequitable practices” created hardships for African American soldiers and their families? Explain.
  • According to Edna Greene Medford, why were African American men and their families suffering more than others?
  • Compare the concerns and requests shared in the three letters to Abraham Lincoln from 1864, as read in the clip.

RISK, RIGHTS, AND JUSTICE

Direct students to the Risk, Rights, and Justice section of their graphic organizers. Instruct your students to view the following four video clips that summarize African Americans’ efforts to seek rights and justice during the American Civil War. Direct your students to answer the related questions on their graphic organizer and share their findings with a partner, small group, or the class when finished.

Clip #10: Great Risk for Black Soldiers (4:36).

  • Why did African American soldiers take “great risk” when they put on their uniforms?
  • On what “issue” did African Americans push Abraham Lincoln?
  • As read in the clip, what does Hannah Johnson ask for in her letter (Freedmen and Southern Society Project) to Lincoln?

Clip #11: Economic Justice (4:12).

  • Based on the clip, what did southern plantation owners do as they fled from the Union military?
  • According to Edna Greene Medford, who was left behind and what were they doing?
  • What occurred when the government “took charge,” and how did African Americans respond? Why?
  • Summarize the concerns and requests shared by Don Carlos in his letter (Library of Congress) to Abraham Lincoln, as read in the clip.

Clip #12: Black Voting Rights (10:09).

  • What were African American men “pressing for” throughout the Civil War? Compare the efforts in the north and south.
  • According to Jonathan White, who were creoles?
  • What “case” did the group of creoles make in their petition? As read in the clip, how did they ask to be treated in the petition?
  • How did Abraham Lincoln react to the petition, and what did he “suggest?” Describe the “addendum” to the petition, as read in the clip.
  • Why was this “moment” significant and what impact did it have?

Clip #13: A Connection with Lincoln (10:20).

  • Do the letters “accurately” represent the thoughts and feelings of oftentimes illiterate African Americans? Explain.
  • According to Jonathan White, how can historians decipher confusing writing from the past and determine the literacy level of the author?
  • Summarize the concerns shared in the letter from Zack Burden to Abraham Lincoln, as read in the clip.
  • What is “evident” from the letters? Summarize White’s comments about the growing “bond.”
  • According to Edna Greene Medford, how did African Americans view Lincoln? Why?
  • Summarize the content and purpose of the 1865 letter to Lincoln, as read in the clip.

Direct students to the Reflection section of their graphic organizers. Instruct your students to view the following two video clips that highlight the case of Elizabeth Shorter, Abraham Lincoln's related pardon of her, and one of Lincoln's visits to a contraband camp during the Civil War. Direct your students to answer the related questions on their graphic organizer and share their findings with a partner, small group, or the class when finished.

Clip #14: A Final Letter (5:09). NOTE: this clip includes profanity and may not be appropriate for all classrooms .

  • According to Jonathan White, who was Elizabeth Shorter and what happened to her?
  • Summarize the conflict between Shorter and Frank Prewitt, as told in the clip.
  • For what was Shorter convicted, according to White?
  • What request does Shorter make in her letter ( The State Journal-Register ) to Abraham Lincoln, as read in the clip?
  • Based on the clip, what did Lincoln do upon receiving Shorter’s letter?

Clip #15: Singing with the President (2:00).

  • Where did Abraham Lincoln “oftentimes” stop while traveling in Washington, D.C.?
  • How was the “sentiment” of this historical episode similar to the first letter read in the lesson?
  • Summarize the content of the lyrics of the song, as sung in the clip.

After your students are finished with the lesson, direct them to complete the final culminating writing prompt and have students share their responses, comparing their perspectives with their classmates' perspectives: Having now learned about letters sent from African Americans to President Abraham Lincoln, assess the letters' impact on Lincoln’s evolving views and actions . Be sure to include evidence from the video clips in the lesson to support your argument .

Related Articles

  • Letter from Hannibal Cox (Lincoln Library and Museum)
  • Letter from Annie Davis (Song of America)
  • Letter from A.P. Smith (Newspapers.com)
  • Letter from the Baptist Church in Beaufort, SC (The Beaufort Gazette)
  • Letter from Corporal James Henry Gooding (University College London)
  • Letter from Hannah Johnson (Freedmen and Southern Society Project)
  • Letter from Don Carlos (Library of Congress)
  • Letter from Elizabeth Shorter (The State Journal-Register)

Additional Resources

  • On This Day: Dedication of the Lincoln Memorial
  • On This Day: Emancipation Proclamation
  • Video Clip: Frederick Douglass House
  • Bell Ringer: Civil War Soldiers
  • Bell Ringer: Andersonville Prison
  • Bell Ringer: Abraham Lincoln
  • Bell Ringer: District of Columbia Emancipation Act
  • Bell Ringer: Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 13th Amendment
  • Lesson Plan: Civil War Era and the Constitution
  • Lesson Plan: Presidential Leadership
  • Lesson Plan: African American Civil War Era Letters
  • Lesson Plan: The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the Civil War
  • 54th Massachusetts
  • American Civil War (1861-65)
  • Colonization
  • Court Martial
  • Deportation
  • Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
  • Prisoner Of War
  • Reconstruction Era (1866-77)
  • White House
  • Quote of the Day
  • Picture Quotes

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Public Education

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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.

That everyone may receive at least a moderate education appears to be an objective of vital importance.

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. That every man may receive at least a moderate education...appears to be an object of vital importance...

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  • Born: February 12, 1809
  • Died: April 15, 1865
  • Occupation: 16th U.S. President
  • Cite this Page: Citation

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Boston: He illustrated Civil War reconciliation. What would he draw today?

What would it take for us to imagine political harmony.

Thomas Nast illustrated reconciliation after the Civil War. Through the talented pencil of...

By Talmage Boston

12:00 PM on Mar 9, 2024 CST

Contributing Columnist Talmage Boston

With the election eight months away, and contempt between adversaries locked in, millions have now chosen to reject the Founding Fathers’ goal of e pluribus unum and, with it, the ideal that we should do what it takes to pursue unity amid conflicting factions.

So what would it take? To answer that question, a picture may be worth a thousand words.

Thomas Nast, whose work appeared in Harper’s Weekly from 1859 to 1886, has been called the “father of the American cartoon.” He elevated the nation’s hopes for the future during that time of heightened division. In his stellar biography, Abe, David S. Reynolds quotes President Abraham Lincoln on Nast’s importance to the Union during the Civil War: “He’s been our best recruiting sergeant. His emblematic cartoons have never failed to arouse enthusiasm and patriotism, and always came when those articles were getting scarce.”

The division in Nast’s day makes today’s political skirmishing look like a sandbox quarrel. Yet Nast’s Dec. 31, 1864, cartoon, The Union Christmas Dinner, showed what America’s mindset needed to be if the nation sought to achieve a successful integration of the Confederate states back into the Union when the war ended.

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Lincoln had been reelected in November 1864, Sherman captured Savannah, Ga., in December, and Union victory under Grant’s field leadership appeared inevitable. The president’s address to Congress on December 6 established the terms he’d accept to end the war and how he planned to push through the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. His speech to Congress made clear that his approach for reconnecting with Southerners would be through a policy of “open door” reconciliation.

Nast met with Lincoln six days after that speech. There’s no record of what they discussed, but it’s not hard to speculate, given what the president said before and after their meeting, and what the artist created in his masterpiece.

Lincoln may have shared with Nast how best to start bridging the nation’s divide based on what he’d learned from studying the life of his hero, Thomas Jefferson, who, 63 years before, had set the standard for promoting e pluribus unum.

The Sedition Act had been passed by the Federalist-controlled Congress in 1798 during John Adams’ presidency, and made it a crime punishable by incarceration for anyone to criticize Adams and Federalist policies. Thankfully for the country, the flagrantly unconstitutional law expired when Adams’ term ended. In hopes of restoring unity, Jefferson, Adams’ successor, proclaimed in his March 4, 1801, inaugural address, “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”

In other words, “We are all Americans! And we better start acting that way if we want our new nation to survive.”

Acting on his message, the charming Jefferson hosted small dinners every week of his presidency where he entertained leading Republicans and Federalists. In his Jefferson biography, Jon Meacham concluded that the meals made animosity lessen because the president’s “social civility, grace and hospitality softened the strident hours of partisanship … and feelings evolved from hostility to at least partial respect.”

The Union Christmas Dinner by Thomas Nast.

Mirroring Jefferson’s approach in The Union Christmas Dinner, Nast depicted Lincoln opening the door to welcome Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee and Southern governors to a Christmas feast attended by Northern governors already seated at a table with portraits of Union generals hanging on the wall.

Surrounding this welcoming dinner image were five smaller drawings that enhanced the theme of reconciliation: an olive branch offered by the victor to the defeated; a loving father embracing his returning prodigal son; the necessary unconditional surrender by Lee to Grant to end the war; Union soldiers ready to embrace their Southern counterparts once they laid down their arms; and the joyful festivities that would take place when peace arrived.

As Nast wove these images into his (and Lincoln’s) message of postwar reconciliation, he may have been influenced by the theme Lincoln put into words during his second inaugural address, given three months later. Perhaps Lincoln even shared them with Nast. They could have easily served as the pre-meal blessing to any banquet Lincoln hosted:

Both [North and South] read the same Bible and pray to the same God. ... Let us judge not, that we be not judged … The Almighty has his own purposes. ... 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 do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Amazingly, as the Civil War came to an end, it was perceived as an achievable goal from Lincoln’s and Nast’s perspective for men to forgive, socialize and rebuild relationships with those who had recently been responsible for killing their loved ones.

That was then; but what about now? Knowing the state of today’s political sentiments, if he were alive today, would Nast portray the same hopeful spirit of reconciliation between, for example, those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and those outraged by that insurrection? Or, in fact, does the goal of inspiring a spirit of unity and reconciliation in 2024′s poisonous political climate only prompt idle thoughts of Don Quixote tilting at windmills? If Thomas Nast were still around, what would he draw in 2024 in an attempt to convey a sense of hope for the future?

I think Nast might create an image along the following lines: A person in the market for a car (labeled “Voter”) sees to his right an old, broken-down Ford with an incapacitated person in the driver’s seat (labeled “Republican”), and to his left an old, broken-down Chevy with an incapacitated person in the driver’s seat (labeled “Democrat”). On either side of the prospective buyer are salesmen pressuring him to think that Ford or Chevrolet are the only vehicle options he has. On the horizon, however, is a different model car (labeled “No Labels Unum ”) that’s operational and ready to go.

Nast might find the alternative transportation option appealing since he knew that today’s Republican Party started out as an alternative third party in 1854. The time was right then for something new and hopefully better than the series of ineffective presidents Democrats and Whigs had been offering. That third party brought Abraham Lincoln to the forefront, who turned out to be the candidate most capable of leading the nation through the Civil War because he always channeled the better angels of our nature and took personal responsibility for bringing e pluribus unum back to the nation’s mindset, until sadly an assassin’s bullet ended his life.

Having remembered the ultimate success of the third party in 1854, to put the finishing touches on his new drawing, Nast might sketch a figure in the Unum vehicle’s driver’s seat with the profile of an Abraham Lincoln/Uncle Sam hybrid. Last but not least, in 2024, he would write the cartoon’s title at the bottom of the page: May History Repeat Itself.

We welcome your thoughts in a letter to the editor. See the guidelines and submit your letter here . If you have problems with the form, you can submit via email at [email protected]

Talmage Boston

Talmage Boston , Contributing Columnist . Talmage Boston is a Dallas lawyer who has authored five history books and written Op-Eds and book reviews for The Dallas Morning News for over 30 years. His next book, How the Best Did It: Leadership Lessons from Our Top Presidents, will be released April 2024. He is a Dallas Morning News Contributing Columnist.

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The 10 best tourist attractions in the US, according to someone who's been to all 50 states

  • I've visited all 50 states  and have seen some incredible natural wonders and powerful monuments.
  • Hawaii's Na Pali Coast and Alaska's Inside Passage showcase America's stunning natural diversity.
  • The Statue of Liberty and the National Mall are moving tributes to America's past.

Insider Today

I've visited all 50 states in my career as a travel writer and truly believe each has something unique to offer visitors.

But certain attractions stand out as particularly breathtaking or symbolic of America's history and natural diversity.

From the dunes of Michigan to the swamps of Florida, here are the 10 best tourist attractions in the US .

Yellowstone embodies the vast, wild spirit of the American West.

abraham lincoln quotes education

America's very first national park is one I always return to year after year, and I discover new vistas and hiking trails on each visit.

Located in Wyoming, Yellowstone is open in all four seasons, and guests can learn about its Indigenous peoples' histories in the park's lodges and visitor centers.

If you have time, drive south of Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park for magnificent views of the jagged Teton Range, the teenage children of the American Rockies .

The Statue of Liberty is an inspiring symbol of America's history.

abraham lincoln quotes education

As a New Yorker, I easily brush past some of Manhattan's iconic landmarks , but the Statue of Liberty always inspires my latent patriotism and nostalgia for some of America's founding ideals.

A sunset sail on the Hudson River is the perfect opportunity to catch the statue bathed in a fiery pastel light .

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a highlight of the Midwest.

abraham lincoln quotes education

Some dismiss the Midwest as monotonous, but I've learned to expect the unexpected . It's home to one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited: Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes.

The dunes are a sprawling landscape of golden sand and turquoise water in America's heartland — I truly could not believe my eyes when I visited.

This national park is one of many reasons to explore the Great Lakes .

Hawaii's Na Pali Coast is a pristine paradise.

abraham lincoln quotes education

Few places on earth have truly taken my breath away, and the Na Pali Coast , on the island of Kauai, is one of them.

I cried when I saw the overwhelmingly gorgeous 17-mile stretch in Hawaii for the first time.

Though travelers can visit the coast via road trip, helicopter, or hiking trail, I suggest approaching by catamaran for the most transcendent perspective of the green cliffs from the water .

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a powerful chronicle of our nation's past.

abraham lincoln quotes education

I was 11 years old when I first visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute , and I still remember the awakened feeling of horror and injustice I felt learning about dark parts of America's past.

This Alabama institute depicts civil-rights developments and movements throughout the 1950s and 1960s. It's a must-visit for all Americans to better understand our country's all-too-recent history.

And, if you have time, take a road trip to The Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, to continue your education on the history of American life and racial injustice .

Head to Washington, DC, for a monumental visit to The National Mall.

abraham lincoln quotes education

This list is incomplete without the National Mall — the stretch of landscaped lawn that goes from the US Capitol Building to the Washington Monument.

The spot is home to iconic monuments and memorials in Washington, DC, and I especially recommend stopping at the ones dedicated to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial , which includes a list of over 50,000 people who died in the Vietnam War, is also not to be missed.

I've visited the nation's capital in all four seasons, but my favorite is spring, when the cherry blossoms — a 1912 gift from Japan — are in full bloom .

The unspoiled scenery of Alaska's Inside Passage is incredible.

abraham lincoln quotes education

There's nothing like venturing into the wild with a journey through Alaska's Inside Passage , a 500-mile stretch along the Pacific Ocean.

It's home to uninhabited islands packed with evergreen trees, glaciers, and incredible wildlife, such as bald eagles and humpback whales.

I experienced the Last Frontier during a salmon-fishing trip in the summer, and I can't wait to return for a snow-capped sojourn in the winter .

The Golden Gate Bridge is an eternal tribute to the Golden State.

abraham lincoln quotes education

It's easy to see why the Golden Gate Bridge is often considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world .

This imposing testament to American industrialism connects Marin County, one of the most idyllic regions of Northern California, to San Francisco.

I've found true bliss and freedom driving across the Golden Gate Bridge in a convertible with the top down and music up .

Everglades National Park is a wonderland in the American South.

abraham lincoln quotes education

The Everglades are a massive national park and UNESCO World Heritage site.

Located in Southern Florida, the sub-tropical wetlands of south-central Florida offer endless curiosities for lovers of the outdoors .

I've witnessed the most spectacular sunsets driving west along the country roads of the Everglades, heading out to the Gulf.

The Everglades are also an incredible spot to see wildlife and greenery — they're home to various tropical birds, alligators, and mangrove forests .

The Grand Canyon embodies the otherworldly beauty of the Southwest.

abraham lincoln quotes education

The Grand Canyon is an epic natural landmark in Arizona worth visiting more than once.

I first experienced the national park on cross-country road trips with my parents and am soon returning for a trek along the North Rim. I know the red rocks and incredible formations will still inspire that same childlike wonder within me.

abraham lincoln quotes education

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    01/11/1837. Quote. In one faculty, at least, there can be no dispute of the gentleman's superiority over me, and most other men; and that is, the faculty of entangling a subject, so that neither himself, or any other man, can find head or tail to it. Topics Topics:

  7. Abraham Lincoln

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