QUOTES: 25 of the Most Profound Things Abraham Lincoln Ever Said.

by Michael Josephson on February 13, 2012

in Quotes, Observations

  1. Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
  2. Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
  3. Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?
  4. 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 by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
  5. You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
  6. [The] leading object [of government], to elevate the condition of men — to lift artificial weights from all shoulders — to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all — to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life.
  7. I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 it gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones.
  10. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.
  11. Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.
  12. The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
  13. Whatever you are, be a good one.
  14. I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.
  15. Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did, five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.
  20. I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts.
  21.  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 Emancipation Proclamation
  22. 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 Gettysburg Address
  23. 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 —  Letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby
  24. 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 Inaugural Address
  25. 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.

See Commentary on Lincoln and 8 Witty Lincoln Quotes

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

F. G. Woidka February 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Lincoln quotes: FYI…..I have a copy of a note, supposedly handwritten and signed by Abraham Lincoln, that reads as follows.

“Executive Mansion
Oct. 17, 1861
Maj. Ramsey
My dear sir
The lady — bearer of this — says she has two sons who want to work. Set them at it, if possible. Wanting to work is so rare a (???) that it should be encouraged.
A. Lincoln”

Has anyone seen this before, and does anyone know what the (???) word is?

Reply

Michael Josephson February 16, 2012 at 1:21 am

This is a well known note included in compilations of Lincoln’s work — if it is an original it is very valuable. i think the missing word is “quality” but I haven’t looked it up

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