Honestly, Abe | Abraham Lincoln Quotes
After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Edward M. Stanton uttered the phrase “Now he belongs to the ages”. It’s not hard to see why: the 16th President of the United States abolished slavery and became a true symbol of racial equality for his country.
His words echo the gravity of his democratic ideas, and this collection of his most important quotes covers his reflections on subjects ranging from freedom to slavery, from war to democracy, from religion to leadership.
Abraham Lincoln: Famous Quotes
- Every man’s happiness is his own responsibility.
- I am nothing, truth is everything.
- I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.
- Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.
- Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.
- Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.
- The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.
- Whatever you are, be a good one.
- When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
- America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
- I would rather be a little nobody, then to be a evil somebody.
- 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.
- Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?
- No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
- You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
- If this country is ever demoralized, it will come from trying to live without work.
- Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.
- 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 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.
- When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.
- I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.
- Die when I may, 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.
- Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God cannot retain it.
- There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.
- Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.
- If friendship is your weakest point then you are the strongest person in the world.
- If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
- 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 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.
- I laugh because I must not cry, that is all, that is all.
- It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
- 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 will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
- I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
- I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.
- My father taught me to work, but not to love it. I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it. I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh — anything but work.
- I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.
- You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.
- You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.
- I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.
- It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.
- I am not concerned that you have fallen ; I am concerned that you arise.
- We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.
- Life is hard but so very beautiful.
- It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong
- Nothing will divert me from my purpose.
- My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
- The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.
- If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool.
- I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.
- All I have learned, I learned from books.
- Get books, sit yourself down anywhere, and go to reading them yourself.
- My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.
Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Slavery
- If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.
- Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
- As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
- 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.
- Achievement has no color.
- 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 should 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.
- No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent
Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Leadership
- Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
- Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.
- The best way to predict your future is to create it.
- I will prepare and some day my chance will come.
- Force is all conquering, but it’s victories are short lived.
- The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
- Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
- I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
- 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.
- That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.
- When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.
- You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
- 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.
- 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!
- Don’t worry when you are not recognized but strive to be worthy of recognition.
Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Democracy
- You cannot have the right to do what is wrong!
- The ballot is stronger than the bullet.
- 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.
- If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that 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.
- Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, but, leave him when he is wrong.
- Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
- 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.
- This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can excersize their Constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.
- The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation is the philosophy of government in the next.
Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Civil War
- 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
- Let your military measures be strong enough to repel the invader and keep the peace, and not so strong as to unnecessarily harrass and persecute the people. Letter to John M. Schofield
- 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, we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
- Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damages morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hung.
- 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
- And now, beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy, and sleepless vigilance, go forward, and give us victories. Letter to Joseph Hooker
- 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. Letter to James Conkling
- We are in civil war. In such cases there always is a main question; but in this case that question is a perplexing compound — Union and Slavery. It thus becomes a question not of two sides merely, but of at least four sides, even among those who are for the Union, saying nothing of those who are against it. Letter to Charles Drake et al
- It is easy to see that, under the sharp discipline of civil war, the nation is beginning a new life. December 8, 1863 Message to Congress
- War at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible. June 16, 1864 Speech at Philadelphia
Abraham Lincoln’s Funny Quotes
- It’s not me who can’t keep a secret. It’s the people I tell that can’t.
- If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.
- 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 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.
- Hypocrite: The man who murdered his parents, and then pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.
Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Religion
- The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.
- Take all that you can of this book upon reason, and the balance on faith, and you will live and die a happier man. (When a skeptic expressed surprise to see him reading a Bible).
- I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.
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