“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.”
— March 9, 1832 – First Political Announcement

“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.”
— March 9, 1832 – First Political Announcement

“Towering genius distains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.”
— January 27, 1838 – Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

“There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.”
— January 27, 1838 – Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

“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.”
— January 27, 1838 – Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

“Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap — let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; — let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.”
— January 27, 1838 – Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

“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.
— January 27, 1838 – Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

“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.” “
— December 26, 1839 – Speech on the Sub-Treasury in the Illinois House of Representatives

“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.'”
— February 22, 1842 – Temperance Address of Springfield, Illinois

“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 defense.”
— February 22, 1842 – Temperance Address of Springfield, Illinois

“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!”
— February 22, 1842 – Temperance Address of Springfield, Illinois

The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity.
— February 22, 1842 – Temperance Address of Springfield, Illinois

“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.”
— July 31, 1846 – Handbill Replying to Charges of Infidelity

“I do not think I could myself, be brought to support a man for office, whom I knew to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion.”
— July 31, 1846 – Handbill Replying to Charges of Infidelity

“I believe it is an established maxim in 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.”
— August 11, 1846 – Letter to Allen N. Ford

“If as the friends of colonization hope, the present and coming generations of our countrymen shall by any means, succeed in freeing our land from the dangerous presence of slavery; and, at the same time, in restoring a captive people to their long-lost father-land, with bright prospects for the future; and this too, so gradually, that neither races nor individuals shall have suffered by the change, it will indeed be a glorious consummation.”
— July 6, 1852 – Eulogy on Henry Clay

“Mr. Clay’s lack of a more perfect early education, however it may be regretted generally, teaches at least one profitable lesson; it teaches that in this country, one can scarcely be so poor, but that, if he will, he can acquire sufficient education to get through the world respectably.”
— July 6, 1852 – Eulogy on Henry Clay

“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.”
— August 15, 1855 – Letter to George Robertson

“You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it.”
— August 24, 1855 – Letter to Joshua Speed

“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.”
— August 24, 1855 – Letter to Joshua Speed

“When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].”
— August 24, 1855 – Letter to Joshua Speed

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except Negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.” When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
— August 24, 1855 – Letter to Joshua Speed

“If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already.”
— November 5, 1855 – Letter to Isham Reavis

“I believe this Government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.”
— June 16, 1858 – House Divided Speech in Springfield, Illinois

“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.”
— June 16, 1858 – House Divided Speech in Springfield, Illinois

“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.”
— June 16, 1858 – House Divided Speech in Springfield, Illinois

“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.”
— July 10, 1858 – Speech at Chicago, Illinois

“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.”
— August 21, 1858 – Lincoln-Douglas debate at Ottawa

“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.”
— September 18, 1858 – Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois

“This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave.”
— April 6, 1859 – Letter to Henry Pierce

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.”
— April 6, 1859 – Letter to Henry Pierce

“Every blade of grass is a study; and to produce two, where there was but one, is both a profit and a pleasure.”
— September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society

“This leads to the further reflection, that no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture. I know of nothing so pleasant to the mind, as the discovery of anything which is at once new and valuable — nothing which so lightens and sweetens toil, as the hopeful pursuit of such discovery. And how vast, and how varied a field is agriculture, for such discovery. The mind, already trained to thought, in the country school, or higher school, cannot fail to find there an exhaustless source of profitable enjoyment.”
— September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society

“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.”
— September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society

“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.”
— September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society

“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.”
— September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society

“By the ‘mud-sill’ theory it is assumed that labor and education are incompatible; and any practical combination of them impossible. According to that theory, a blind horse upon a tread-mill, is a perfect illustration of what a laborer should be — all the better for being blind, that he could not tread out of place, or kick understandingly. According to that theory, the education of laborers, is not only useless, but pernicious, and dangerous. In fact, it is, in some sort, deemed a misfortune that laborers should have heads at all.”
— September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society

“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!”
— September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society

“Then came the Black-Hawk war; and I was elected a Captain of Volunteers — a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since.”
— December 20, 1859 – Autobiography

“If any personal description of me is thought desirable, it may be said, I am, in height, six feet, four inches, nearly; lean in flesh, weighing on an average one hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion, with coarse black hair, and grey eyes — no other marks or brands recollected.”
— December 20, 1859 – Autobiography

“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.”
— February 27, 1860 – Cooper Union Address

“What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?”
— February 27, 1860 – Cooper Union Address

“John Brown’s effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to participate.”
— February 27, 1860 – Cooper Union Address

“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.”
— February 27, 1860 – Cooper Union Address

“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.”
— July 22, 1860 – Letter to George Latham

“To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
— February 11, 1861 – Farewell Address at the Great Western Depot in Springfield, Illinois

“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.”
— February 11, 1861 – Farewell Address at the Great Western Depot in Springfield, Illinois

“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.”
— February 14, 1861 –  Remarks at the Monogahela House

“If all do not join now to save the good old ship of the Union this voyage nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage.”
— February 15, 1861 – Speech at Cleveland, Ohio

“I have stepped out upon this platform that I may see you and that you may see me, and in the arrangement I have the best of the bargain.”
— February 16, 1861 – Remarks at Painesville, Ohio

“The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am. None who would do more to preserve it.”
— February 21, 1861 – Address to the New Jersey General Assembly

“I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.”
— February 22, 1861 – Address in Independence Hall

“One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended.”
— March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

“I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual.”
— March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

“I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken; and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States.”
— March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

“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.”
— March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, 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.”
— March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

“Plainly, the central idea of secession, is the essence of anarchy.”
— March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

“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’.”
— March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

“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.”
— March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

“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.”
— December 3, 1861 – Lincoln’s First Annual Message to Congress

“I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.”
— August 22, 1862 – Letter to Horace Greeley

“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.'”
— August 22, 1862 – Letter to Horace Greeley

“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.”
— August 22, 1862 – Letter to Horace Greeley

“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.”
— September 1862 – Meditation on the Divine Will

“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.”
— December 1, 1862 – Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress

“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.”
— December 1, 1862 – Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress

“Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”
— December 1, 1862 – Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress

“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.”
— December 1, 1862 – Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress

“I cannot make it better known than it already is that I strongly favor colonization.”
— December 1, 1862 – Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress

“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. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just – a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”
— December 1, 1862 – Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress

“In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares.”
— December 23, 1862 – Letter to Fanny McCullough

“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.”
— January 1, 1863 – Final Emancipation Proclamation

“You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm.”
— January 26, 1863 Letter to Joseph Hooker

“I would like to speak in terms of praise due to the many brave officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the war.”
— July 7, 1863 – Response to a Serenade

“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.”
— August 26, 1863 – Letter to James Conkling

“You dislike the emancipation proclamation; and, perhaps, would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional — I think differently.”
— August 26, 1863 – Letter to James Conkling

“But the proclamation, as law, either is valid, or is not valid. If it is not valid, it needs no retraction. If it is valid, it can not be retracted, any more than the dead can be brought to life.”
— August 26, 1863 – Letter to James Conkling

“Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon, and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time.”
— August 26, 1863 – Letter to James Conkling

“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.”
— August 26, 1863 – Letter to James Conkling

“And then, there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonnet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation…”
— August 26, 1863 – Letter to James Conkling

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”
—  October 3, 1863 – Proclamation of Thanksgiving

“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.”
— November 19, 1863 – Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
— November 19, 1863 – Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

“…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
— November 19, 1863 – Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

“I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America!”
— March 18, 1864 – Remarks at Closing of Sanitary Fair, Washington D.C.

“Property is the fruit of labor…property is desirable…is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. 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.”
— March 21, 1864 – Reply to New York Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association”.

“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.”
— April 4, 1864 – Letter to Albert Hodges

“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.”
— April 4, 1864 – Letter to Albert Hodges

“I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.”
— April 4, 1864 – Letter to Albert Hodges

“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 many 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.”
— April 18, 1864 – Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland

“I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer who remarked to a companion once that ‘it was not best to swap horses while crossing streams’.”
–June 9, 1864 – Reply to Delegation from the National Union League”

“I am very glad indeed to see you to-night, and yet I will not say I thank you for this call, but I do most sincerely thank Almighty God for the occasion on which you have called.”
— July 7, 1864 – Response to a Serenade

“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.”
— August 22, 1864 – Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment

“I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country.”
— August 22, 1864 – Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment

“There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed.”
— August 22, 1864 – Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment

“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.”
— August 22, 1864 – Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment

“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.”
— August 22, 1864 – Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment

“We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein.”
— September 4, 1864 – Letter to Eliza Gurney

“I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself.”
— September 4, 1864 – Letter to Eliza Gurney

“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.”
— September 7, 1864 – Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible

“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.”
— November 21, 1864 – Letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby

“I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. 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.”
— November 21, 1864 – Letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby

“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.”
— March 4, 1865 – Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

“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.”
— March 4, 1865 – Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

“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…”
— March 4, 1865 – Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

“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.”
— March 4, 1865 – Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

“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 – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
— March 4, 1865 – Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

“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.”
— March 4, 1865 – Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

“Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
— March 17, 1865 – Speech to One Hundred Fortieth Indiana Regiment

“In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man.” (September 7, 1864)

“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.” (September 30, 1859)

“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.”
(March 9, 1832)

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