Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of thoughts and quotes by Robert E. Lee on moral, courage, bullying, war, inspire, control, life, faith, religion, belief, reading and humble.

98 Thought-Provoking Quotes By Robert E. Lee

Quick Facts

Famous As: Confederate General in the American Civil War

Born On: January 19, 1807

Died On: October 12, 1870

Born In: Stratford Hall

Died At Age: 63

Robert Edward Lee was a 19th century American soldier who served as the General of the Confederate Army of North Virginia at the time of the American Civil War. Lee was born in an illustrious family and his father served as the Governor General of Virginia in addition to being an officer in the Revolutionary War. Lee followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the United States Military Academy, from where he graduated as the topper of his class. Subsequently, he went on to serve the United States Army in the capacity of an engineer and performed his job with distinction for 32 years. From 1862 till 1865, he served as the General of the Confederate Army in his state. He had to surrender in the end but during his time as the General, he was particularly well-known for his aggressive military tactics. Lee is best remembered for advocating the northern and southern states to reunite following the end of the war and is regarded as the foremost hero of the Civil War from among the Southern states. Here is a collection of some of his most memorable quotations and sayings which have been scanned from his life and work. Go through the inspiring quotes and thoughts by Robert E. Lee.

Never do a wrong thing to make a friend--or to keep one.

Robert E. Lee

I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.

Robert E. Lee

It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.

Robert E. Lee

What a cruel thing war is... to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors.

Robert E. Lee

In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution is a moral & political evil in any country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages.

Robert E. Lee

While we see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is onward, & we give it the aid of our prayers & all justifiable means in our power, we must leave the progress as well as the result in his hands who sees the end; who chooses to work by slow influences; & with whom two thousand years are but as a single day.

Robert E. Lee

I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and I have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.

Robert E. Lee

The war... was an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided if forebearance and wisdom had been practiced on both sides.

Robert E. Lee

Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one.

Robert E. Lee

We should live, act, and say nothing to the injury of anyone. It is not only best as a matter of principle, but it is the path to peace and honor.

Robert E. Lee

A Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets has no charm for me. If the Union is dissolved and government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people, and save in defense will draw my sword on none.

Robert E. Lee

The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.

Robert E. Lee

You must study to be frank with the world: Frankness is the child of honesty and courage.

Robert E. Lee

We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters.

Robert E. Lee

Do your duty in all things, like the old Puritan. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.

Robert E. Lee

I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me. I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God.

Robert E. Lee

Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.

Robert E. Lee

The education of a man is never completed until he dies.

Robert E. Lee

I can only say that I am nothing but a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation.

Robert E. Lee

I have been up to see the Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving.

Robert E. Lee

We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing.

Robert E. Lee

If a friend asks a favor, you should grant it if it is reasonable; if not, tell him plainly why you cannot: You will wrong him and wrong yourself by equivocation of any kind.

Robert E. Lee

My chief concern is to try to be an humble, earnest Christian.

Robert E. Lee

The doctrines & miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small part of the human race, & even among Christian nations, what gross errors still exist!

Robert E. Lee

We have fought this fight as long, and as well as we know how. We have been defeated. For us as a Christian people, there is now but one course to pursue. We must accept the situation.

Robert E. Lee

I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity.

Robert E. Lee

In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.

Robert E. Lee

Say just what you mean to do on every occasion, and take it for granted you mean to do right.

Robert E. Lee

There is a terrible war coming, and these young men who have never seen war cannot wait for it to happen, but I tell you, I wish that I owned every slave in the South, for I would free them all to avoid this war.

Robert E. Lee

The devil's name is dullness.

Robert E. Lee

There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil.

Robert E. Lee

I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it.

Robert E. Lee

So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that Slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interest of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this that I would have cheerfully lost all that I have lost by the war, and have suffered all that I have suffered to have this object attained.

Robert E. Lee

Remember, we are all one country now. Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring them up to be Americans.

Robert E. Lee

It is easier to make our wishes conform to our means than to make our means conform to our wishes.

Robert E. Lee

I believe it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony.

Robert E. Lee

Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word “concern” out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice.

Robert E. Lee

With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relative, my children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the Army...

Robert E. Lee

I have always observed that wherever you find the negro, everything is going down around him, and wherever you find the white man, you see everything around him improving.

Robert E. Lee

My experiences of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them nor be indisposed to serve them: nor, in spite of failures which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge, or the present aspect of affairs, do I despair of the future. The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.

Robert E. Lee

The enemy never sees the backs of my Texans!

Robert E. Lee

All that the South has ever desired was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, should be preserved, and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth.

Robert E. Lee

Abandon your animosities and make your sons Americans!

Robert E. Lee

A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.

Robert E. Lee

I am of the opinion that all who can should vote for the most intelligent, honest, and conscientious men eligible to office, irrespective of former party opinions, who will endeavour to make the new constitutions and the laws passed under them as beneficial as possible to the true interests, prosperity, and liberty of all classes and conditions of the people.

Robert E. Lee

They do not know what they say. If it came to a conflict of arms, the war will last at least four years. Northern politicians will not appreciate the determination and pluck of the South, and Southern politicians do not appreciate the numbers, resources, and patient perseverance of the North. Both sides forget that we are all Americans. I foresee that our country will pass through a terrible ordeal, a necessary expiation, perhaps, for our national sins.

Robert E. Lee

Read history, works of truth, not novels and romances

Robert E. Lee

Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.

Robert E. Lee

It's the loneliest feeling in the world-to find yourself standing up when everybody else is sitting down. To have everybody look at you and say, 'What's the matter with him?' I know. I know what it feels like. Walking down an empty street, listening to the sound of your own footsteps. Shutters closed, blinds drawn, doors locked against you. And you aren't sure whether you're walking toward something, or if you're just walking away.

Robert E. Lee

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.

Robert E. Lee

My trust is in the mercy and wisdom of a kind Providence, who ordereth all things for our good.

Robert E. Lee

There is a true glory and a true honor: the glory of duty done--the honor of the integrity of principle.

Robert E. Lee

Shake off those gloomy feelings. Drive them away. Fix your mind and pleasures upon what is before you.All is bright if you will think it so. All is happy if you will make it so. Do not dream. It is too ideal, too imaginary. Dreaming by day, I mean. Live in the world you inhabit. Look upon things as they are. Take them as you find them. Make the best of them. Turn them to your advantage.

Robert E. Lee

All I ever wanted was a Virginia farm, no end of cream and fresh butter and fried chicken - not one fried chicken, or two, but unlimited fried chicken.

Robert E. Lee

The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.

Robert E. Lee

The time is not come for impartial history. If the truth were told just now, it would not be credited.

Robert E. Lee

True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them the desire to do right is precisely the same.

Robert E. Lee

Go home all you boys who fought with me and help build up the shattered fortunes of our old state

Robert E. Lee

Sir, if you ever presume again to speak disrespectfully of General Grant in my presence, either you or I will sever his connection with this university.

Robert E. Lee

The consolidation of the states into one vast empire, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of ruin which has overwhelmed all that preceded it.

Robert E. Lee

All motion is relative. Perhaps it is you who have moved away-by standing still

Robert E. Lee

Postal officials say that before Christmas they receive tons of letters written to Santa Claus, but after Christmas how few letters of thanks are sent to him! From childhood onward, human beings seem to be characterized by thanklessness.

Robert E. Lee

Cadets can neither be treated as schoolboys or soldiers.

Robert E. Lee

Alabama soldiers, all I ask of you is to keep up with the Texans!

Robert E. Lee

We have only one rule here - to act like a gentleman at all times.

Robert E. Lee

We must forgive our enemies. I can truly say that not a day has passed since the war began that I have not prayed for them.

Robert E. Lee

I was too weak to defend, so I attacked

Robert E. Lee

Act with a determination not to be turned aside by thoughts of the past and fears of the future.

Robert E. Lee

We poor sinners need to come back from our wanderings to seek pardon through the all-sufficient merits of our Redeemer. And we need to pray earnestly for the power of the Holy Spirit to give us a precious revival in our hearts and among the unconverted.

Robert E. Lee

We must look to the rising generation for the restoration of the country.

Robert E. Lee

You cannot barter manhood for peace.

Robert E. Lee

There are things in the Old Book which I may not be able to explain, but I fully accept it as the infallible Word of God, and receive its teachings as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Robert E. Lee

The dominant party cannot reign forever, and truth and justice will prevail at last.

Robert E. Lee

No day should be lived unless it was begun with a prayer of thankfulness and an intercession for guidance.

Robert E. Lee

So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery,I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished.

Robert E. Lee

A land without memories is a people without liberty.

Robert E. Lee

If you have any fault to find with anyone, tell him, not others, of what you complain; there is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back.

Robert E. Lee

I am A man, not a sponge! If god wished a sponge to think, A SPONGE WOULD THINK!

Robert E. Lee

It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it.

Robert E. Lee

The education of a man ( or woman ) is never completed until he dies.

Robert E. Lee

Everyone should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in the hope that it may find a place in history and descend to posterity. History is not the relation of campaigns and battles and generals or other individuals, but that which shows the principles for which the South contended and which justified her struggle for those principles.

Robert E. Lee

Respect is based on Friendship,and friendship is based on love and love is so accidental isn't it ?

Robert E. Lee

You must be careful how you walk and where you go, for there are those following you who will set their feet where yours are set.

Robert E. Lee

There is scarcely anything that is right that we cannot hope to accomplish by labor and perseverance. But the first must be earnest and the second unremitting.

Robert E. Lee

Marry...into a family that will enable your children to feel proud of both sides of the house.

Robert E. Lee

Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.

Robert E. Lee

What a beautiful world God, in His loving kindness to His creatures, has given us! What a shame that men endowed with reason and knowledge of right should mar His gifts....

Robert E. Lee

I consider the proper education of our youths one of the most important objects now to be attained and one from which the greatest benefits may be expected.

Robert E. Lee

Duty, then is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.

Robert E. Lee

We have but one rule here, and that is that every student must be a gentleman.

Robert E. Lee

I did only what my duty demanded. I could have taken no other course without dishonor.

Robert E. Lee

What a glorious world Almighty God has given us. How thankless and ungrateful we are, and how we labor to mar his gifts.

Robert E. Lee

A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday does not know where it is today.

Robert E. Lee

It is good that war is so terrible, or we should become too fond of it.

Robert E. Lee

I have thought from the time of the cessation of the hostilities, that silence and patience on the part of the South was the true course; and I think so still. Controversy of all kinds will, in my opinion, only serve to continue excitement and passion, and will prevent the public mind from the acknowledgement and acceptance of the truth.

Robert E. Lee

Life Insurance trusts I consider sacred. To hazard the property of the dead & to lose the scanty earnings of fathers & husbands, who have toiled & saved that they may leave something to their families deprived of their care & the support of their labour, is to my mind the worst of crimes.

Robert E. Lee

Why, it appears that we appointed all of our worst generals to command the armies and we appointed all of our best generals to edit the newspapers. I mean, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor generals saw all of the defects plainly from the start but didn't tell me until it was too late. I'm willing to yield my place to these best generals and I'll do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper.

Robert E. Lee

I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than the dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation.

Robert E. Lee