Abraham Lincoln, on his “do-gooder” religion:
When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.
Abraham Lincoln, on the importance of transparency in government:
What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.
Abraham Lincoln, on the proper relation of God and humans:
We trust, sir, that God is on our side. It is more important to know that we are on God's side.
Abraham Lincoln, reminding us that Rome was not built in a day, nor the business of America finished by the adoption of the Constitution:
"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, proposing a common sense test for true religion:
I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
Abraham Lincoln, on the proper attitude regarding compromise of basic principles:
Important principles may and must be inflexible.
the question of extending the slavery under the national auspices, --I am inflexible. I am for no compromise which assists or permits the extension of the institution on soil owned by the nation
The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.
Abraham Lincoln, on the nature of conservatism:
What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?
Abraham Lincoln, on the primary source of his political ideas:
I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.
Abraham Lincoln, explaining that the genius of the Declaration of Independence was not something to be accomplished in a single generation:
It was not the mere matter of separation of the colonies from the motherland; but something in the Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time. 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.
Abraham Lincoln, on the hope of democracy:
Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?
Abraham Lincoln, on whether elections should be suspended in time of war or national emergency (like the Civil War):
We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.
Abraham Lincoln, applying the Golden Rule to slavery just as we might apply it to torture in our day:
I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should first be 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.
Abraham Lincoln, on idealism and pragmatism concerning American values:
We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. 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. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless.
Abraham Lincoln, on what corrupts human beings, including Americans:
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln, on where the gravest threats to America shall come from:
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I...
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