The Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln

A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me.

All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother.

All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind.

All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.

Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.

As our case is new, we must think and act anew.

Avoid popularity if you would have peace.

Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets.

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.

Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.

Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.

Every one desires to live long, but no one would be old.

Everybody likes a compliment.

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.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

God must love the common man, he made so many of them.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.

He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.

He who molds the public sentiment... makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to make.

Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible.

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.

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.

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.

I can make more generals, but horses cost money.

I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.

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.

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.

I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.

I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country's cause.

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.

I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.

I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.

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.

I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. What I have done since then is pretty well known.

I will prepare and some day my chance will come.

I'm a slow walker, but I never walk back.

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax.

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.

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?

If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.

If there is anything that a man can do well, I say let him do it. Give him a chance.

If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.

If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? Five? No, calling a tail a leg don't make it a leg.

If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.

Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.

In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong.

In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

Knavery and flattery are blood relations.

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.

Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.

Lets have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.

My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this.

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.
No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.

No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.

Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.

People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Public opinion in this country is everything.

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.

Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar.

Sir, 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.

Some day I shall be President.

Some single mind must be master, else there will be no agreement in anything.

Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Surely God would not have created such a being as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.

Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.

That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.

The assertion that "all men are created equal" was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use.

The ballot is stronger than the bullet.

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.

The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.

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, so we must think anew and act anew.

The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person.

The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is why he makes so many of them.

The people themselves, and not their servants, can safely reverse their own deliberate decisions.

The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.

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.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.

The time comes upon every public man when it is best for him to keep his lips closed.

The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself in every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him.

There is another old poet whose name I do not now remember who said, "Truth is the daughter of Time."

There is nothing true anywhere,
The true is nowhere to be seen;
If you say you see the true,
This seeing is not the true one.

These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.

These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.

To give victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary.

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.

To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.
Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.

We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.

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.

What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.

Whatever you are, be a good one.

When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.

When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees.

When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run.

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

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.

With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.

With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.

It is the duty of all nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

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 he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.

 

See the Kids Wings literature guide for Chasing Lincoln's Killer

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