Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lincoln's Birthday

203 yeas ago today, Abraham Lincoln was born in a tiny log cabin in Kentucky. Even the “Reader’s Digest version” of his life is impressive: he was almost entirely self-educated; he rose through the ranks of state and federal government to become President of the United States, in which capacity he oversaw the ending of slavery and preservation of the country; then he was assassinated by a national celebrity while watching a play.

It is obvious that we all have many reasons to be thankful he won the 1860 and 1864 presidential elections. Rather than recount those reasons, I will simply leave you with some of my favorite Abraham Lincoln quotations:


Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors.

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.

Property is the fruit of labor -- property is desirable -- is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. 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.

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.

Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing?

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.

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

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.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

Gold is good in its place, but living, brave, patriotic men are better than gold.

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Unionwhen again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.

Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.

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

If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

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

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.

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.

As President, I have no eyes but constitutional eyes; I cannot see you.

4 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great post, John... Lincoln was an amazing man.. Wonder if we will be able to say that about some of our other recent politicians 50-100 yrs. from now???????? Probably not.

We have 3 trips planned between now and the middle of March... SO --life is getting more and more interesting.
Betsy

Fred Alton said...

Thanks, John! These words from one of our early Presidents who had character, strength and compassion are truly timely now.

Barb said...

I liked reading these quotes, John - from a wise, self-eduated man. My twin Grandchildren share a birthdate with him. Here is one I really believe is true: "Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be." Happy Valentine Day to you and your Family, John. I bet Sarah is excited for this holiday.

KB said...

Those are great quotes. In this age, it seems almost surprising when I read such eloquent and insightful quotes made by someone in politics. We are very lucky that he was elected president.