11 inspiring quotes from Abraham Lincoln on liberty, leadership, and character

Abraham Lincoln kept the US united and freed black Americans from slavery.

To achieve these historic feats, he relied on a mastery of the written and spoken word. In honour of his 206th birthday, we’ve collected a few of his most inspiring quotes.

On genius

'Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.'

(Lyceum Address, 1838)

On hypocrisy

'Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.'

(Speech, 1865)

On reading

'A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the (yet) unsolved ones.'

(Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, 1859)

On struggle

'In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realised by every one.'

(Speech to the 164th Ohio Regiment, 1864)

On taking action

'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. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.'

(Message to Congress, 1862)

On determination

'If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already.'

(Letter, 1855)

On slavery

'This is a world of compensations; and 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, can not long retain it.'

(Letter, 1859)

On enemies

'Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?'

(Conversation, 1863-65)

On work

'Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well. With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue.'

(Speech, 1859)

On honesty

'I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him.'

(Letter, 1846)

On the Civil War

'Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.'

(Gettysburg Address, 1863)

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