The legal right of the Southern people to reclaim their fugitives I have constantly admitted. The legal right of Congress to interfere with their institution in the states, I have constantly denied.
I go for all sharing the privileges of the government, who assist in bearing its burdens. Consequently, I go for admitting all whites to the right of suffrage, who pay taxes or bear arms (by no means excluding females).
Being elected to Congress, though I am very grateful to our friends for having done it, has not pleased me as much as I expected.
I can express all my views on the slavery question by quotations from Henry Clay.
'A living dog is better than a dead lion.' Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion for this work, is at least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of slavery? He don't care anything about it.
Why was the amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people to exclude slavery, voted down? Plainly enough now, the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision.
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.
It is a quality of revolutions not to go by old lines or old laws, but to break up both and make new ones.
I have great respect for the semicolon; it is a mighty handy little fellow.
If the people of Utah shall peacefully form a State Constitution tolerating polygamy, will the Democracy admit them into the Union?
Nothing new here, except my marrying, which to me is a matter of profound wonder.
Illinois surpasses every other spot of equal extent upon the face of the globe in fertility of soil and in the proportionable amount of the same which is sufficiently level for actual cultivation.
My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families - second families, perhaps I should say.
It is a great piece of folly to attempt to make anything out of my early life.
I perhaps ought to say that individually I never was much interested in the Texas question. I never could see much good to come of annexation, inasmuch as they were already a free republican people on our own model.
It has so happened in all ages of the world that some have labored, and others have, without labor, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits.
I have always been an old-line Henry Clay Whig.
No policy that does not rest upon some philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained.
It is rather for us here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.
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.
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.
In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in that 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.
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.
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.
Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.
He who molds the public sentiment... makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to make.
With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.
The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person.
We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us.
What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.
Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets.
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.
I believe it is universally understood and acknowledged that all men will ever act correctly, unless they have a motive to do otherwise.
I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
I am like a man so busy in letting rooms in one end of his house, that he can't stop to put out the fire that is burning the other.
I am rather inclined to silence.
Let the people on both sides keep their self-possession, and just as other clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this, and this great nation shall continue to prosper as before.
There is another old poet whose name I do not now remember who said, 'Truth is the daughter of Time.'
We can succeed only by concert. It is not, 'Can any of us imagine better,' but, 'Can we all do better?'
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.
I was born and have ever remained in the most humble walks of life.
By what principle of original right is it that one-fiftieth or one-ninetieth of a great nation, by calling themselves a State, have the right to break up and ruin that nation as a matter of original principle?
Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this.
To give victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary.
In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and to the young, it comes with bitterest agony because it takes them unawares. I have had experience enough to know what I say.
If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.
Avoid popularity if you would have peace.
Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.
I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by my friends to become a candidate for the Legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman's dance.
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.
If I like a thing, it just sticks after once reading it or hearing it.
Gold is good in its place; but loving, brave, patriotic men are better than gold.
The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.
Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
A woman is the only thing I am afraid of that I know will not hurt me.
The point - the power to hurt - of all figures lies in the truthfulness of their application.
I pass my life in preventing the storm from blowing down the tent, and I drive in the pegs as fast as they are pulled up.
Some single mind must be master, else there will be no agreement in anything.
Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible.
It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in that Declaration of Independence.
The people know their rights, and they are never slow to assert and maintain them when they are invaded.
I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country's cause.
True patriotism is better than the wrong kind of piety.
If a man had more than one life, I think a little hanging would not hurt this one; but after he is once dead, we cannot bring him back, no matter how sorry we may be; so the boy shall be pardoned.
He who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.
If you think you can slander a woman into loving you, or a man into voting for you, try it till you are satisfied.
I learned a great many years ago that in a fight between husband and wife, a third party should never get between the woman's skillet and the man's ax-helve.
There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.
We think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous. We know the court that made it has often overruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to have it overrule this.
I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free.
I have talked with great men, and I do not see how they differ from others.
In so far as the government lands can be disposed of, I am in favor of cutting up the wild lands into parcels so that every poor man may have a home.
Don't swap horses in crossing a stream.
Never regret what you don't write.
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.
With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.
Some day I shall be President.
These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people; and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel.
Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.
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.
The time comes upon every public man when it is best for him to keep his lips closed.
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.
Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.
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.
Every one desires to live long, but no one would be old.
I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end... I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.
I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's side.
Biographies, as generally written, are not only misleading but false... In most instances, they commemorate a lie and cheat posterity out of the truth.
The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every calling, is diligence.
A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.
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.
As our case is new, we must think and act anew.
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.
Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all.
How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg.
Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.
Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government - that is despotism.
There may sometimes be ungenerous attempts to keep a young man down; and they will succeed, too, if he allows his mind to be diverted from its true channel to brood over the attempted injury.
A private soldier has as much right to justice as a major-general.
Concede that the new government of Louisiana is only to what it should be, as the egg is to the fowl; we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.