Abraham Lincoln Quotes
Abraham Lincoln was a skilled wordsmith and orator, renowned for being able to distill the essence of an argument into just a few pithy words. In fact, the Gettysburg Address, one of Lincoln's best and most often quoted works is a very short speech, and was considerably briefer than the other addresses delivered the same day. The speeches delivered by the other speakers at the Gettysburg ceremony are now completely forgotten, while Lincoln's straightforward but deeply moving words still resound through history. We have collected here a collection of some of Abraham Lincoln's best quotes on a number of subjects. They are not only still meaningful, but also offer an insight into the character and soaring intellect of this remarkable president.
We have been the recipient of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! -- President Abraham Lincoln, in a proclamation appointing a National Fast Day, March 30, 1863
I think very much of the people, as an old friend said that he thought of woman. He said when he lost his first wife, who had been a great help to him in his business, he thought he was ruined -- that he could never find another to fill her place. At length, however, he married another, who he found did quite as well as the first, and that his opinion now was that any woman would do who was well done by. We will try to do well by them in all parts of the country, North and South, with entire confidence that all will be well with all of us. -- President Elect, Abraham Lincoln, November 21, 1860
I believe, if we take drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. -- Abraham Lincoln, in a speech to the Springfield Washingtonian Temperance Society, 1843
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 makes me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference. -- Abraham Lincoln
If the people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign that we intend the Union shall go on. -- Abraham Lincoln, defending his decision to continue construction of the White House during wartime, which many thought was an extravagant expenditure.
Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. -- Abraham Lincoln, 1856
As an individual who undertakes to live by borrowing, soon finds his original means devoured by interest, and next to no one left to borrow from - so it must be with a government. -- Abraham Lincoln, 1843
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. -- Abraham Lincoln, 1838
I have very large ideas of the mineral wealth of our Nation. I believe it practically inexhaustible. It abounds all over the western country, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, and its development has scarcely commenced .... Immigration, which even the war has not stopped, will land upon our shores hundred of thousands more per year from overcrowded Europe. I intend to point them to the gold and silver that waits for them in the West. Tell the miners from me, that I shall promote their interests to the utmost of my ability; because their prosperity is the prosperity of the Nation, and we shall prove in a very few years that we are indeed the treasury of the world. -- Abraham Lincoln, April 14, 1865. Later that afternoon Lincoln left for Ford's Theater and his rendezvous with death.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. -- Abraham Lincoln, 1838
The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost every thing, especially of government policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded. -- Abraham Lincoln, 1843
We know nothing of what will happen in the future, but by the analogy of experience. -- Abraham Lincoln, 1839
You may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. -- Abraham Lincoln
In 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. -- Abraham Lincoln, replying to a clergyman who had said that the Lord was on their side.
My friends - ... I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon [George] Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being, who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. -- Lincoln's farewell speech to Springfield, Illinois before setting out for Washington after being elected President. On the way to Washington Lincoln survived an assassination attempt.
Must a government, of necessity, be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence? -- Abraham Lincoln, 1861
When 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. -- President Lincoln, in his first inaugural address.
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, individual capacities. In all that people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere. -- Abraham Lincoln, 1854
Gentlemen, suppose all the property you were worth was in gold, and you had put it in the hands of Blondin to carry across the Niagara River on a rope, would you shake the cable, or keep shouting out to him -- "Blondin, stand up a little straighter -- Blondin, stoop a little more -- go a little faster -- lean a little more to the north -- lean a little more to the south?" No, you would hold your breath as well as your tongue, and keep your hands off until he was safe over. The Government is carrying an immense weight. Untold treasures are in their hands, They are doing the very best they can. Don't badger them. Keep silence, and we'll get you safe across. -- Abraham Lincoln, in a 1864 speech aimed at critics of his administration. Blondin was a famous tightrope walker who had crossed the Niagara Falls three times on a tight rope.
There is an important sense in which government is distinctive from administration. One is perpetual, the other is temporary and changeable. An man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose particular principles and methods of administration. -- Abraham Lincoln
What has happened, will invariably happen again, when the same circumstances which combined to produce it, shall combine again in the same way. - Abraham Lincoln, 1839
I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that his hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me - and I think He has - I believe I am ready. -- Abraham Lincoln, on the coming Civil War.