Abraham Lincoln

Quotations

I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly, those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

Statement to an Indiana Regiment passing through Washington (17 March 1865)

I have now come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying, and for this reason; I can never be satisfied with anyone who would be blockhead enough to have me.

Letter to Mrs. Orville H. Browning (1 April 1838)

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.

Address Delivered in Candidacy for the State Legislature. (9 March 1832)

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.

Inaugural address, March 4, 1865

When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad, and that’s my religion.

Quoted in Herndon's Lincoln (1890)
This quote is attributed / unsourced.

I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad, sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer, and holier sort than you have ever known before.

letter to Fanny McCullough, Dec. 23, 1862

You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, and less often, P. T. Barnum.
This quote is attributed / unsourced.

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

This quote has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and Samuel Johnson, among others.

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.

As quoted in How to Get What You Want (1917) by Orison Marden
This quote is attributed / unsourced.

We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, allover this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

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

attributed; James Morgan Our Presidents (1928)

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

As quoted in The Early Life of Abraham Lincoln (1896) by Ida Tarbell
This quote is attributed / unsourced.

I would consent to any great evil, to avoid a greater one.

Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Peoria, Illinois, 16 October 1854