Famous Quotes From President Abraham Lincoln In addition to being a famous President during the civil war, Abraham Lincoln was a great orator known for many famous quotes. Here is a partial list of some of his most memorable quotes. 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. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition, is yet to be developed. 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. There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country’s cause. Four score 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. 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. Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories. Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? 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. Plainly, the central idea of secession, is the essence of anarchy. 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. Welcome, or unwelcome, agreeable, or disagreeable, whether this shall be an entire slave nation, is the issue before us. 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. “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. 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. 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. Important principles may, and must, be inflexible. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two-hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” 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 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’s 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." These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people. Truth is generally the best vindication against slander. 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. 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, 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. 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 have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. For more information on the life of Abraham Lincoln, including pictures, facts, family life with Mary Todd Lincoln, articles and accomplishments like the Gettysburg Address and Emancipation Proclamation, please see our Abraham Lincoln theme page.