Abraham Lincoln Quotes

In using the strong hand, as now compelled to do, the government has a difficult duty to perform. At the very best, it will by turns do both too little and too much. It can properly have no motive of revenge, no purpose to punish merely for punishment's sake. While we must, by all available means, prevent the overthrow of the government, we should avoid planting and cultivating too many thorns in the bosom of society.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to Edwin M. Stanton, Mar. 10, 1864. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 7, p. 255, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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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.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. Fragment, notes for a law lecture, July 1, 1850? Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 81, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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In considering the policy to be adopted for suppressing the insurrection, I have been anxious and careful that the inevitable conflict for this purpose shall not degenerate into a violent and remorseless revolutionary struggle.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. annual message to Congress, Dec. 3, 1861. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 5, p. 48, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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I beg to assure you that I have never written you, or spoken to you, in greater kindness or feeling than now, nor with a fuller purpose to sustain you, so far as in my most anxious judgement, I consistently can. But you must act.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to George B. McClellan, Apr. 9, 1862. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 5, p. 185, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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Almost every thing, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two [good and evil].
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. Speech in the U.S. House of Representatives on internal improvements, June 20, 1848. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, p. 484, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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And, once more let me tell you, it is indispensable to you that you strike a blow. I am powerless to help this.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to George B. McClellan, Apr. 9, 1862. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 5, p. 185, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty within the family of freedom.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to Michael Hahn, Mar. 13, 1864. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 7, p. 243, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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I believe you to be a brave and a skillful soldier, which, of course, I like. I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession, in which you are right.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to Joseph Hooker, Jan. 26, 1863. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 6, p. 78, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990). Preliminary words to calling a general on the carpet.
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We stand at once the wonder and admiration of the whole world, and we must enquire what it is that has given us so much prosperity, and we shall understand that to give up that one thing, would be to give up all future prosperity. This cause is that every man can make himself.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan, Aug. 27, 1856. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 364, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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With steady eye on the real issue, let us reinaugurate the good old "central ideas" of the Republic. We can do it. The human heart is with us—God is with us. We shall again be able not to declare, that "all States as States, are equal," nor yet that "all citizens as citizens are equal," but to renew the broader, better declaration, including both these and much more, that "all men are created equal."
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. speech at a Republican banquet, Chicago, Illinois, Dec. 10, 1856. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 385, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
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