Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Abraham Lincoln. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, the country's greatest moral, cultural, constitutional, and political crisis. He succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy.
Lincoln was born into poverty in a log cabin and was raised on the frontier primarily in Indiana. He was self-educated and became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator, and U.S. Congressman from Illinois. In 1849, he returned to his law practice but became vexed by the opening of additional lands to slavery as a result of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. He reentered politics in 1854, becoming a leader in the new Republican Party, and he reached a national audience in the 1858 debates against Stephen Douglas. Lincoln ran for President in 1860, sweeping the North in victory. Pro-slavery elements in the South equated his success with the North's rejection of their right to practice slavery, and southern states began seceding from the union. To secure its independence, the new Confederate States fired on Fort Sumter, a U.S. fort in the South, and Lincoln called up forces to suppress the rebellion and restore the Union.
As the leader of moderate Republicans, Lincoln had to navigate a contentious array of factions with friends and opponents on both sides. War Democrats rallied a large faction of former opponents into his moderate camp, but they were countered by Radical Republicans, who demanded harsh treatment of the Southern Confederates. Anti-war Democrats (called "Copperheads") despised him, and irreconcilable pro-Confederate elements plotted his assassination. Lincoln managed the factions by exploiting their mutual enmity, by carefully distributing political patronage, and by appealing to the U.S. people. His Gettysburg Address became a historic clarion call for nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Lincoln scrutinized the strategy and tactics in the war effort, including the selection of generals and the naval blockade of the South's trade. He suspended habeas corpus, and he averted British intervention by defusing the Trent Affair. He engineered the end to slavery with his Emancipation Proclamation and his order that the Army protect and recruit former slaves. He also encouraged border states to outlaw slavery, and promoted the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed slavery across the country.
Lincoln managed his own successful re-election campaign. He sought to heal the war-torn nation through reconciliation. On April 14, 1865, just days after the war's end at Appomattox, Lincoln was attending a play at Ford's Theatre with his wife Mary when he was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln is remembered as a martyr and hero of the United States and is consistently ranked as one of the greatest presidents in American history.
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
Most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.
Great honor is due to those officers who remain true despite the example of their treacherous associates; but the greatest honor and most important fact of all is the unanimous firmness of the common soldiers and common sailors.
Anyone can stand adversity but to test a person's character, give them power.
I do the very best I know how, the very best I can and I mean to keep doing so until the end.
I intend discourtesy to no one.
Ability may get you to the top but it's character that will keep you there.
If I were two-faced would I be wearing this one?
When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
A jury too often has at least one member more ready to hang the panel than to hang the traitor.
Important principles may and must be inflexible.
Never change horses in midstream.
Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.
Be sure that you put your feet at the right place, then stand firm.
Have I not destroyed my enemy when I have made him into my friend?
Politicians are a set of men who have interests aside from the interests of the people and who, to say the most of them, are, taken as a mass, at least one long step removed from honest men.
The unpleasant events you are passing from will not have been profitless to you.
I indicated no wish or purpose of my own;I simply expressed my expectation. Cannot the judge perceive the distinction between a purpose and an expectation? I have often expressed an expectation to die but I have never expressed a wish to die.
Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things that are not crimes.
I am here; I must do the best I can, and bear the responsibility of taking the course which I feel I ought to take.
We must settle this question now--whether in a free government the minority have the right to break it up whenever they choose. If we fail, it will go far to prove the incapability of the people to govern themselves.
I can make a General in five minutes, but a good horse is hard to replace.
These men ask for just the same thing: fairness, and fairness only. This is, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.
I regard no man as poor who has a godly mother. Happy Birthday Mom.
Next to creating a life, the finest thing a man can do is save one.
If each of billions or trillions of leaves and snowflakes can display its own unique individual identity, how much more so should not each human being?
Few can be induced to labor exclusively for posterity. Posterity has done nothing for us.
Military glory the attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood.
Military glory-that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood-that serpent's eye, that charms to destroy.
Writing the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye is the great invention of the world.
Don't swap horses in the middle of the stream.
Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye, is the great invention of the world enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and space.
If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first six sharpening my axe.
A man's legs must be long enough to reach the ground.
Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.
You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.
My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
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 sky and say there is no God.
Perhaps a man's character was like a tree, and his reputation like a shadow; the shadow is what we think of it, the tree is like the real thing.
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.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution.
I have always wanted to deal with everyone I meet candidly and honestly. If I have made any assertion not warranted by facts, and it is pointed out to me, I will withdraw it cheerfully.
Without Divine assistance I can not succeed; with it I can not fail.
No client ever had money enough to bribe my conscience or to stop its utterance against wrong, and oppression.
No client ever had money enough to bribe my conscience or to stop its utterance against wrong, and oppression. My conscience is my own -- my creators -- not man's. I shall never sink the rights of mankind to the malice, wrong, or avarice of another's wishes, though those wishes come to me in the relation of client and attorney.
The Cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end of one, or even one hundred defeats.
The love of property and consciousness of right and wrong have conflicting places in our organization, which often makes a man's course seem crooked, his conduct a riddle.
Through their deeds, the dead of battle have spoken more eloquently for themselves than any of the living ever could. But we can only honor them by rededicating ourselves to the cause for which they gave a last full measure of devotion.
When I have a particular case in hand, I have that motive and feel an interest in the case, feel an interest in ferreting out the questions to the bottom, love to dig up the question by the roots and hold it up and dry it before the fires of the mind.
When you lack interest in the case the job will very likely lack skill and diligence in the performance.
And then, the negro being doomed, and damned, and forgotten, to everlasting bondage, is the white man quite certain that the tyrant demon will not turn upon him too?
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.
If elected I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same.
Tis better people think you a fool, then open your mouth and erase all doubt.
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.
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.
The trouble with Hooker is that he's got his headquarters where his hindquarters aught to be.
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.
A tendancy to melancholy is a misfortune, not a fault.
A tendancy to melancholy...let it be observed, is a misfortune, not a fault.
If you trust, you will be disappointed occasionally, but if you mistrust, you will be miserable all the time.
My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not to either save or destroy Slavery.
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
No one has needed favours more than I, and generally, few have been less unwilling to accept them; but in this case, favour to me,would be injustice to the public, and therefore I must beg your pardon for declining it.
The Constitution is not a suicide pact.
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?
A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people.
A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.
The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another mans right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in cases of conflict, the man before the dollar.
The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts.
The plainest print cannot be read through a gold eagle.
The political horizon looks dark and lowering; but the people, under Providence, will set all right.
Public opinion, though often formed upon a wrong basis, yet generally has a strong underlying sense of justice.
Let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children's liberty.
The damnest scoundrel that ever lived, but in the infinite mercy of Providence... also the damnest fool.
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.
Think of strangers as friends you have not met yet.
Allow me to assure you, that suspicion and jealousy never did help any man in any situation.
Tangible language, which often tells more falsehoods than truths.
If people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on.
A jury too often has at least one member more ready to hang the panel than to hang the traitor.
I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day came.
It is sometimes well to be humble.
A fellow once came to me to ask for an appointment as a minister abroad. Finding he could not get that, he came down to some more modest position. Finally, he asked to be made a tide-waiter. When he saw he could not get that, he asked me for an old pair of trousers. It is sometimes well to be humble.
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.
Again, a law may be both constitutional and expedient, and yet may be administered in an unjust and unfair way.
Offering thanks in the midst of tragedy is an American tradition, . even during a bloody Civil War.
It has long been recognized that the problems with alcohol relate not to the use of a bad thing, but to the abuse of a good thing.
While we are grateful to all the brave men and officers for the events of the past few days, we should, above all, be very grateful to Almighty God, who gives us victory.
I don't like to hear cut and dried sermons. No--when I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees.
Money possesses no value to the state other than that given to it by circulation.
Never let your correspondence fall behind.
With this honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so under God it will sustain you.
Two principles have stood face-to-face from the beginning of time; and they will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings.
Half finished work generally proves to be labor lost.
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.
Adversity does not make us frail; it only shows us how frail we are.
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