Abraham Lincoln

 

LIFE’S WISDOM


  1. 1."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." The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months at the White House by Francis B. Carpenter (University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1995), pp. 258-259.
  2. 2."Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Letter To Henry L. Pierce and Others" (April 6, 1859), p. 376.

  3. 3."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." Lincoln's Cooper Institute Address, February 27, 1860.

  4. 4."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 Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Speech at Chicago, Illinois" (July 10, 1858), p. 502.

  5. 5."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." Lincoln Observed: The Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks edited by Michael Burlingame (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1998), p. 210.

  6. 6."I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Letter to Albert G. Hodges" (April 4, 1864), p. 281.

  7. 7."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." Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865.

  8. 8."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." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Remarks at the Monogahela House" (February 14, 1861), p. 209.

  9. 9."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." Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.

  10. 10."...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." Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.

  11. 11."Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VIII, "Speech to One Hundred Fortieth Indiana Regiment" (March 17, 1865), p. 361.

  12. 12."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." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Speech on the Sub-Treasury" (in the Illinois House of Representatives, December 26, 1839), p. 178.

  13. 13."Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Notes for a Law Lecture" (July 1, 1850?), p. 81.

  14. 14."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." Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.

  15. 15."Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser - in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Notes for a Law Lecture" (July 1, 1850?), p. 81.

  16. 16."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." Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.

  17. 17."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." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Speech to One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment (August 22, 1864), p. 512.

  18. 18."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." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume IV, "Speech at Cleveland, Ohio" (February 15, 1861), p. 216.

  19. 19."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." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Letter to Joshua F. Speed" (August 24, 1855), p. 323.

  20. 20."Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, "Speech at Peoria, Illinois" (October 16, 1854), p. 273.