Abraham Lincoln quotes Part 2

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Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis)

Spielberg’s film follows 56-year-old Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, from January of 1865 until his death in April. The portrait on the left was taken in 1864.

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Lincoln quotes:

“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 (Lincoln, Nebraska, University of Nebraska Press, 1995), pp. 258-259.

“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.

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, (August 1, 1858?), p. 532.

“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.

“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.

“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, “Letter to Horace Greeley” (August 22, 1862), p. 388.

“Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.” Lincoln and the Civil War In the Diaries and Letters of John Hay selected by Tyler Dennett (New York, Da Capo Press, 1988), p. 143.

“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 (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 210.

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” Lincoln’s First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861.

“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.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, “First Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions” (April 6, 1858), p. 437.

“Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, “Letter to Quintin Campbell” (June 28, 1862), p. 288.

“I cannot make it better known than it already is that I strongly favor colonization.” Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.

“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.

“…I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months at the White House by Francis B. Carpenter (Lincoln, Nebraska, University of Nebraska Press, 1995), p. 282. Also, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln by Ward Hill Lamon (Lincoln, Nebraska, University of Nebraska Press, 1994), p. 91.

“In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just – a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.” Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.

“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.

“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.” Lincoln’s ‘House-Divided’ Speech in Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858.

“I would rather be defeated with this expression (‘house divided against itself cannot stand’) in the speech, and uphold and discuss it before the people, than be victorious without it.” The Lincoln Reader edited by Paul M. Angle (New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press, 1947), p. 228. For more details on Lincoln’s comment see pp. 324-325 of Herndon’s Life of Lincoln by William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik (Da Capo reprint of original 1942 edition published in Cleveland by World Publishing Company).

“Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.” Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865.

“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.

“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.

“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, “Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Ottawa” (August 21, 1858), p. 27.

“…that 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 this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.

“I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America!” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, “Remarks at Closing of Sanitary Fair, Washington D.C.” (March 18, 1864), p. 254.

“I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer who remarked to a companion once that ‘it was not best to swap horses while crossing streams’.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, “Reply to Delegation from the National Union League” (June 9, 1864), p. 384.

“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.

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