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Quotations From ABRAHAM LINCOLN

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  • 21.
    In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. meditation on the divine will, Sep. 2, 1862? Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 5, p. 403, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).

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  • 22.
    Remembering that when not a very great man begins to be mentioned for a very great position, his head is very likely to be a little turned, I concluded I am not the fittest person to answer the questions you ask.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to Richard M. Corwine, Apr. 6, 1860. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 4, p. 36, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
  • 23.
    You have constantly urged the idea that you were persecuted because you did not come from West-Point, and you repeat it in these letters. This, my dear general, is I fear, the rock on which you have split.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. Letter to Robert H. Milroy, June 29, 1863. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 6, p. 308, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).

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  • 24.
    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. Whenever [I] hear anyone, arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. speech to One Hundred Fortieth Indiana Regiment, Mar. 17, 1865. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 8, p. 361, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
  • 25.
    The ballot is stronger than the bullet.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. Speech, May 29, 1856, Bloomington, Illinois. The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Arthur Brooks Lapsley (1905). This speech to the first Republican State Convention of Illinois was reconstructed 40 years after; more reliable sources exist for a variant—but later—form of this famous line: "To give victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary." (speech, May 18, 1858, published in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 2, ed. Roy P. Basler, 1953).
  • 26.
    I never knew a man who wished to be himself a slave. Consider if you know any good thing, that no man desires for himself.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. on slavery, Mar. 22, 1864. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 7, p. 260, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).
  • 27.
    The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. Fragment of draft of message to Congress, July 4, 1861. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 4, p. 421, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).

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  • 28.
    I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the Army and the Government needed a Dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain success, can set up dictators.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to Joseph Hooker, Jan. 26, 1863. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 6, p. 78, Rutgers University Press (1955, 1990).

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  • 29.
    Gen. Schurz thinks I was a little cross in my late note to you. If I was, I ask pardon. If I do get up a little temper I have no sufficient time to keep it up.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. letter to Franz Sigel, Feb. 5, 1863. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 6, p. 93, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).

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  • 30.
    It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. response to a serenade, Nov. 10, 1864. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 8, p. 100, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).

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