"You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
"If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong."
"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.
Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived.
He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.
Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.
I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts.
I don't think much of a man who is not wiser than he was yesterday.
I will prepare and some day my chance will come.
If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.
If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.
It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.
Let me not be understood as saying that there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise for the redress of which no legal provisions have been made. I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say that although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in force, for the sake of example they should be religiously observed.
Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.
No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.
Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.
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.
There has never been but one question in all civilization-how to keep a few men from saying to many men: You work and earn bread and we will eat it.
Whatever you are, be a good one.
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. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing him of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause is really a good one.
When you have got an elephant by the hind leg, and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time.
'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
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. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
There is an important sense in which government is distinctive from administration. One is perpetual, the other is temporary and changeable. A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration.
While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years.
I do the very best I know how-the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.
Quarrel not at all. No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention.
Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.
Abraham Lincoln, letter to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, July 18, 1864
Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
We know nothing of what will happen in the future, but in the analogy of experience.