Abraham Lincoln reference site established 2005

Abraham Lincoln Said It

Quotes from Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln is often quoted, and often without referring to a source. For example, one quotation goes like this:

"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." --Abraham Lincoln

With Lincoln's name appearing after the quote, some credibility is given. Obviously, the quote above is in jest, because everyone knows that the Internet did not exist until over 100 years after Lincoln's death when Al Gore invented it.

The following quotations are from Abraham Lincoln, with sourcing given wherever possible.


Extemporaneous speaking should be practised [sic] and cultivated.

July 1, 1850: Notes for a Law Lecture

It is said by some, that men will think and act for themselves; that none will disuse spirits or anything else, merely because his neighbors do; and that moral influence is not that powerful engine contended for. Let us examine this. Let me ask the man who would maintain this position most stiffly, what compensation he will accept to go to church some Sunday and sit during the sermon with his wife's bonnet upon his head? Not a trifle, I'll venture. And why not? There would be nothing irreligious in it: nothing immoral, nothing uncomfortable. Then why not? It is not because there would be something egregiously unfashionable i n it? Then it is the influence of fashion; and what is the influence of fashion, but the influence that other people's actions have [on our own]?

February 22, 1842: Temperence Address delivered before the Springfield Washington Temperance Society in the Second Presbyterian Church [Collected Works, Vol. I, p. 277]

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. 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.

March 6, 1860: Speech at New Haven, CT

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.

March 4, 1865: Second Inaugural Address

I personally wish Jacob R. Freese, of New-Jersey, to be appointed a Colonel for a colored regiment--and this regardless of whether he can tell the exact shade of Julius Caesar's hair.

    - Letter to Edwin M. Stanton, November 11, 1863

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--... that 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

November 19, 1863: Gettysburg Address

I am pleased to know that, in your judgment, the little I did say was not entirely a failure.

November 20, 1863: Letter to Edward Everett regarding Everett's praise of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.

March 4, 1865: Second Inaugural Address

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our household. ...He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our working men in every department of industry with abundant rewards.

October 20, 1864: Proclamation of Thanksgiving [Collected Works, Vol. VIII, p. 55]

Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every man may receive at least, a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance, even on this account alone, to say nothing of the advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the scriptures and other works, both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves. For my part, I desire to see the time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more general than at present...

March 9, 1832: New Salem, IL, Letter to the Sangamo Journal

In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book.

September 7, 1864: Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible


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