70+ Honest Abraham Lincoln Quotes

Abraham Lincoln Quotes

As we step back into the folds of history, no figure stands taller or casts a longer shadow than America’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky in 1809, Lincoln rose from a humble background to lead the American nation through one of its most challenging times: the American Civil War. Known for his eloquent oratory, profound wisdom, and steadfast leadership, he carved out a legacy that continues to inspire and guide us, even in the 21st century.

A self-taught lawyer, a skilled politician, and an ardent advocate for freedom and equality, Abraham Lincoln was a leader of incredible resilience and deep compassion. Nicknamed ‘Honest Abe’ for his consistent commitment to truth and integrity, he championed the cause of the Union and the abolition of slavery. Despite his assassination in 1865, his words and deeds live on, influencing generations far removed from his own.

In this blog post, we will journey through the time and space to revisit some of the most iconic Abraham Lincoln quotes. These quotes, both inspirational and thought-provoking, echo Lincoln’s ideals of democracy, freedom, and the inherent dignity of all human beings. Join us as we delve into the timeless wisdom of a remarkable man whose words continue to resonate today, offering guidance and perspective in a rapidly changing world.

Some of the quotes appear in the following video:

Table of Contents

Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Life

In this troublesome world, we are never quite satisfied.


The true rule, in determining to embrace or reject anything, is not whether it have any evil in it, but whether it have more of evil than of good.


Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.


I wish to do justice to all.


Let bygones be bygones; let past differences as nothing be.


I have found that when one is embarrassed, usually the shortest way to get through with it is to quit talking or thinking about it, and go at something else.


Important principles may and must be inflexible.


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.


How miserably things seem to be arranged in this world. If we have no friends, we have no pleasure; and if we have them, we are sure to lose them, and be doubly pained by the loss.


Yield larger things to which you can show nor more than equal right; and yield lesser ones, though clearly your own. Better give your path to a dog, than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite.


There are two ways of establishing a proposition. One is by trying to demonstrate it upon reason; and the other is to show that great men in former times have thought so and so, and thus to pass it by the weight of pure authority.


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


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


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


Avoid popularity if you would have peace.


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

Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Ambition and Opportunity

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.


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


I say try. If we never try, we shall never succeed.


I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has.


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.


You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm.


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.


Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?

Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Democracy

Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty.


Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of equal rights of men…ours began, by affirming those rights. They said, some men are too ignorant, and vicious, to share in government. Possibly so, said we; and, by your system, you would always keep them ignorant, and vicious, to share in government. Possibly so, said we; and, by your system, you would always keep them ignorant, and vicious. We proposed to give all a chance; and we expected the weak to grow stronger, the ignorant wiser; and all better, and happier together.


Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.


Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.


In leaving the people’s business in their own hands, we cannot be wrong.


If there is anything which it is the duty of the whole people to never entrust to any hands but their own, that thing is the preservation and perpetuity of their own liberties and institutions.


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 legitimate object of government is ‘to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they cannot, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves’


No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle – the sheet anchor of American republicanism.


If there is anything which it is the duty of the whole people to never entrust to any hands but their own, that thing is the preservation and perpetuity of their own liberties and institutions.


Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them.


The people’s will, constitutionally expressed, is the ultimate law for all.


The people will save their government, if the government itself will do its part only indifferently well.


It is said that we have the best government the world ever knew, and I am glad to meet you, the supporters of that government.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Education and Self-Development

A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones.


Every blade of grass is a study; and to produce two, where was but one, is both a profit and pleasure.


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


All creation is a mine, and every man a miner.


I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.


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


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


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.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Slavery and Freedom

Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man’s nature — opposition to it is in his love of justice. These principles are an eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely, as slavery extension brings them, shocks, and throes, and convulsions must ceaselessly follow. Repeal the Missouri Compromise — repeal all compromises — repeal the declaration of independence — repeal all past history, you still cannot repeal human nature. It still will be the abundance of man’s heart, that slavery extension is wrong; and out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth will continue to speak.


The slave-breeders and slave-traders, are a small, odious and detested class, among you; and yet in politics, they dictate the course of all of you, and are as completely your masters, as you are the master of your own negroes.


On the question of liberty, as a principle, we are not what we have been. When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that “all men are created equal” a self-evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim “a self-evident lie.


Welcome, or unwelcome, agreeable, or disagreeable, whether this shall be an entire slave nation, is the issue before us.


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.


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.


I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes with any other man’s rights.


If we cannot give freedom to every creature, let us do nothing that will impose slavery upon any other creature.


If slavery is right, it ought to be extended; if not, it ought to be restricted – there is no middle ground.


What I did, I did after very full deliberation, and under a heavy and solemn sense of responsibility. I can only trust in God that I have made no mistake.


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.


The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes on United States and Union

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 government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


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


Let us neither express nor cherish any hard feelings toward any citizen who by his vote has differed with us. Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling.


The United States don’t need the services of boys who disobey their parents.


I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be ‘the Union as it was.


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.


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


May our children and our children’s children to a thousand generations, continue to enjoy the benefits conferred upon us by a united country, and have cause yet to rejoice under those glorious institutions bequeathed us by Washington and his compeers.


A fair examination of history has seemed to authorize a belief that the past action and influences of the United States were generally regarded as having been beneficent towards mankind.


It is not merely for to-day, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children’s children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives.


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.

Abraham Lincoln Quotes on God

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.


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.


Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.


I go to assume a task more difficult than that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the great God, who assisted him, shall be with me and aid me, I must fail; but if the same omniscient mind and almighty arm that directed and protected him shall guide and support me, I shall not fail – I shall succeed.

Interesting Facts about Abraham Lincoln

After these inspiring Abraham Lincoln quotes, it’s time to get to know the man a little bit better. Here are some interesting facts about Abraham Lincoln that may surprise you. Enjoy!

  1. He Was an Accomplished Wrestler – Abraham Lincoln was an amazing wrestler. He was defeated only once in approximately 300 matches, and it is said that he even used to talk a little smack in the ring. According to Carl Sandburg’s biography of Lincoln, Lincoln once challenged an entire crowd of onlookers after dispatching an opponent, but no one agreed to fight him. He received an “Outstanding American” honor in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
  2. Created The Secret Service Just Before His Assassination – On April 14, 1865, Lincoln signed legislation that created the U.S. Secret Service. The great irony, is that in that same day, in the evening, Lincoln was shot and assassinated at Ford’s Theatre. However, even if the Secret Service had been established earlier, it probably wouldn’t have saved Lincoln, because the original mission of the service agency was to fight widespread currency counterfeiting. Only in 1901, after more presidents were killed, the secret service started protecting the presidents themselves.
  3. There Were Attempts to Steal His Corpse – In 1876, a gang of Chicago counterfeiters tried to snatch and steal Lincoln’s body from his tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. The grave was protected by just a single padlock. The plan of the gang was to hold the corpse for ransom proposes and receive for him $200,000 as well as release the gang’s best counterfeiter from prison. Secret Service agents were able to get their hands on the gang members, and Lincoln’s body was quickly moved to an unmarked grave. Now, it was encased in a steel cage and buried under 10 feet of concrete.
  4. The Only President That Obtained a Patent – Lincoln loved to mess with machines and think about their operation. One time, after being aboard a steamboat that ran aground on low shoals and had to unload its cargo, Lincoln designed a method that allowed vessels to stay afloat when traversing shallow waters. This is possible thanks to the use of empty metal air chambers attached to their sides. For his design, Lincoln obtained Patent No. 6,469 in 1849.
  5. He Personally Test-Fired Rifles – Lincoln liked gadgets and was very interested in the artillery that was being used by his Union troops during the Civil War. So, he attended artillery and cannon tests as well and met different inventors that demonstrated military prototypes. Although it was prohibited to fire a weapon in the District of Columbia, Lincoln himself test-fired muskets and repeating rifles around the White House, now known as the Ellipse and the National Mall.

For more quotes from famous historical figures, please visit our pages dedicated to Alexander the Great quotes, Genghis Khan quotes, Albert Einstein quotes, and Immanuel Kant quotes.

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