Government Of The People
We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19, 1863, vol. IX, p. 210.
Violation Of Liberty
Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children's liberty.
Lyceum Address, Jan, 2t, 1837 , vol. I, p. 43.
Reading Through An Eagle
The plainest print cannot be read through a gold eagle.
Speech at Springfield, Ill., June 26,1857. vol. II, p. 338.
Power Of Public Opinion
In this age, and in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed.
- Notes for Speeches, Oct. I, , vol. IV, p. 222.
Controlled By Events
I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.
- Letter to A. G. Hodges, Apr. 4, 1864, vol. X, p. 68,
Stand With The Right
Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
Speech at Peoria, Ill. Oct. 16, 1854, vol. II, p. 243.
If the people should, by whatever mode or means, make it an executive duty to re-enslave such persons [negroes], another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it. Annual Message to Congress,
Dec. 6, 1864, vol. X, p. 310.
Seeing Through The Guinea
The dissenting minister who argued some theological point with one of the established church was always met by the reply, "I can't see it so." He opened the Bible and pointed him to a passage, but the orthodox minister replied, "I can't see it so." Then he showed him a single word—"Can you see that?" "Yes, I see it," was the reply. The dissenter laid a guinea over the word, and asked "Do you see it now?" Speech at New Haven, Conn.,
Mar. 6, 1860, vol. V, p. 344.
Difference In Consciences
I Consciences differ in different individuals.
Notes for Speeches, Oct. 1, 1858, vol. IV, p. 213.
Clear Before His Own Conscience
At least I should have done my duty, and have stood clear before my own conscience. Memorandum, Aug. 23, 1864, vol. X, p. 204.
Inflexibility Of Principle
Important principles may and must be inflexible. Last Public Address, Apr. II, 1865, Vol. XI, p. 92.
Origin Of The Will
Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest.
—Speech at Springfield, Ill., June 26, 1857, vol. II, p. 338.
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him an aphorism 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."
Agricultural Address, Sept. 30, l859, vol. V, p. 255.
Demand For Facts
No man has needed favors more than I, and, generally, few have been less unwilling to accept them; but in this case favor to me would be injustice to the public, and therefore I must beg your pardon for declining it. That I once had the confidence of the people of Sangamon is sufficiently evident; and if I have since done anything, either by design or misadventure, which, if known, would subject me to a forfeiture of that confidence, he that knows of that thing, and conceals it, is a traitor to his country's interest.
Letter to Robert Allen, June 21, 1836, vol. I, p. I5.
Truth And Prudence
I never encourage deceit, and falsehood, especially if you have got a bad memory, is the worst enemy a fellow can have. The fact is, truth is your truest friend, no matter what the circumstances are. Notwithstanding this copy-book preamble, my boy, I am inclined to suggest a little prudence.
Letter to George E. Pickett, Feb. 22, 1842, vol. I, p. I91.
There is something so ludicrous in promises of good or threats of evil a great way off as to render the whole subject with which they are connected easily turned into ridicule. "Better lay down that spade you are stealing, Paddy; if you don't you'll pay for it at the day of judgment." "Be the powers, if ye'll credit me so long I'll take another jist."
—Temperance Address, Feb. 22, 1842, vol. I, p. 2O2.
For The Man Who Works
I am always for the man who wishes to work.
Indorsement of Application for Employment, Aug. 15,1864, vol. X, p. I92.
Men More Than Money
Gold is good in its place, but living, brave, patriotic men are better than gold.
Response to a Serenade, Nov. IO, 1864, vol. X, p. 264.
Rare Want Encouraged
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 want that it should be encouraged.
Note to Major Ramsey, Oct. 17, l86l, vol. XI, p. 12O.
Lincoln The Hired Laborer
I am not ashamed to confess that twenty-five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flatboat—just what might happen to any poor man's
son. I want every man to have a chance.
Speech at New Haven, Conn., Mar. 6, 1860, vol. V, p. 361.
Causes Of Poverty
If any continue through life in the condition of the hired laborer, it is not the fault of the system, but because of either a dependent nature which prefers it, or improvidence, folly, or singular misfortune.
- Agricultural Address, Sept. 30, 1859, vol. V, p. 250.
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