abraham lincoln quotes

70+ Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Life and Freedom

Abraham Lincoln was a self-taught government legislator, lawyer, and opponent of slavery. He is America’s 16th president, in office from 1861 to 1865. Keep reading for some motivational Abraham Lincoln quotes to show what kind of a president he was.

Lincoln’s Beginning

Lincoln’s life wasn’t always about the government and the nation. He had a humble beginning, growing up on a farm in Kentucky and helping his father on their farm. He was religious and spent a lot of time reading books and learning, especially of God and the Bible. He also had a wife and four kids, and they coped with the loss of a child who had died in infancy. As his life went on, he developed a profound religious desire and even personified himself as God. 

His Presidency

In 1860, just before the Civil War, Lincoln was elected as president, making him America’s 16th president. In 1863, he developed the Emancipation Proclamation: a public sentiment to the great concern of slavery. This freed all slaves and led to the passage of the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery. He also gave a brief speech at Gettysburg, known as the Gettysburg Address. In this speech, he discussed the meaning of the war: the pursuit of human equality and freedom. 

His presidency didn’t last long, though. On April 15, 1865, Lincoln was murdered at Ford’s Theater by Confederate John Wilkes Booth. Boothe stepped in his theater box and shot the him point-blank in the back of the head. Lincoln died the next day. 

As the 16th president, Lincoln was a spokesman for liberty, equality, and freedom of all. He made American History with his oppositions and beliefs. These are some of the best Lincoln quotes

abraham lincoln quotes
Public domain – Wikipedia

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About God and Religion 

“In the present Civil War, it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party—and yet the human instrumentalizes, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be a humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.” -Abraham Lincoln

“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…. ” -Abraham Lincoln

“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.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. 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. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk. Until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said: “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” -Abraham Lincoln

“All I ask for the negro is that if you do not like him, let him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.” -Abraham Lincoln

“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.” -Abraham Lincoln

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” -Abraham Lincoln

“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.” -Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Slavery and Freedom 

“This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” -Abraham Lincoln

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” -Abraham Lincoln

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.”-Abraham Lincoln

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is not democracy.”-Abraham Lincoln

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.” -Abraham Lincoln

“We all declare for liberty, but in using the same word, we do not all mean the same thing.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Freedom is the last best hope of earth.” -Abraham Lincoln

“In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Government

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot do so well, for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities.” -Abraham Lincoln

“No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Fourscore 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.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The government will not assail you…. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it.” -Abraham Lincoln

“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.” -Abraham Lincoln

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” -Abraham Lincoln

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congresses and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it —” -Abraham Lincoln

“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” -Abraham Lincoln

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.” -Abraham Lincoln

“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.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If the great American people will only keep their temper, on both sides of the line, the troubles will come to an end…” -Abraham Lincoln

“The people will save their government if the government itself will allow them.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” -Abraham Lincoln

man sitting on chair statue

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Life, Happiness, and Pain

“In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all, and it comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with the passing of time.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Life is hard but so very beautiful.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” -Abraham Lincoln

 “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Success and Motivation

“Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.” -Abraham Lincoln

“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.” -Abraham Lincoln

“That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end, you are sure to succeed.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” -Abraham Lincoln

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” -Abraham Lincoln

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” -Abraham Lincoln

“You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.” -Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Quotes On Character

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.” -Abraham Lincoln

“You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Every man’s happiness is his own responsibility.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If I was two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” -Abraham Lincoln

“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

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

Mount Rushmore

Abraham Lincoln Quotes On Friends and Enemies

“I never encourage deceit, and falsehood, especially if you have got a bad memory, is the worst enemy a fellow can have. The fact is, truth is your truest friend, no matter what the circumstances are.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” -Abraham Lincoln

“We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. 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 Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Do good to those who hate you and turn their ill will to friendship.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” -Abraham Lincoln

Other Abraham Lincoln Quotes to Inspire You

“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.” -Abraham Lincoln

“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” -Abraham Lincoln

“No man is poor who has a Godly mother.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” -Abraham Lincoln

“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor; he is a liar. If any man tells you, he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I would rather be a little nobody than to be an evil somebody.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If I am killed, I can die but once; but to live in constant dread of it is to die over and over again.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.” -Abraham Lincoln

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About the author
January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University. Read more articles from January on Thought Catalog.

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