News & Posts

Lincoln on Political Persuasion

“When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and true maxim “that a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.”

Speech at Springfield, February 22, 1842


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Lincoln on the Presidential Election and Candidates of 2016

“We cannot have free government without elections…  The strife of the election is but human nature practically applied in the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case must ever recur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged…”

Remarks, Washington, D.C., November 10, 1864


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Lincoln on Principled Decision Making

“…as you have made up your organization upon principle, stand by it; for as surely as God reigns over you and has inspired your mind, and given you a sense of propriety, and continues to give you hope, so surely will you still cling to these ideas, and you will at last come back again after your wanderings, merely to do your work over again.”

Speech at Chicago, July 10 , 1858

“Important principles may and must be flexible.”

Last public address, Washington, D.C., April 11, 1965


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Lincoln on Private Property

“Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is positive good in the world.”

Remarks, Washington, D.C., March 21, 1864

“I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. We do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else!”

Speech at New Haven, March 6, 1860


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Lincoln on Public Opinion and Polls

“Public opinion in this country is everything.”

Speech at Columbus, September 16, 1859

“Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion can change the government practically just so much. Public opinion, on any subject, always has a “central idea,” from which all its minor thoughts radiate.”

Speech at Chicago, December 10, 1856

“With public sentiment nothing can fail; without nothing can succeed.”

Speech at Ottawa, August 21, 1858


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Lincoln on the Purpose of Government

“This is essentially a People’s contest… It is a struggle for maintaining in the world, that form and substance of government, whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men – to lift artificial weights from all shoulders – to clear the paths of laudable pursuits for all – to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.”

Message to Congress, July 4, 1861

“It is not merely for today, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children’s children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives.”

Speech at Washington, D.C., August 22, 1864


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Lincoln on Race Relations and Tensions


“There will be some black men who can remember that with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation, while I fear there will be some white ones unable to forget that with malignant heart and deceitful speech they strove to hinder it.”

Letter to James Conkling, August 26, 1863


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