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Quotations by Abraham Lincoln
Abraham LincolnTo test a man's character - Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

Destroying enemies - Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

Entitlement to fruits of labor - I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men's rights.

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

The thing can be done - Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then... find the way.

You cannot help men permanently - You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

Those who deny freedom to others - 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, they cannot long retain it.

The fearful strain that is on me - With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.

The incessant human wriggle for office - If ever this free people, if this Government itself is ever utterly demoralized, it will come from this incessant human wriggle and struggle for office, which is but a way to live without work.

My mother's prayers - I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.

Character and reputation - Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is: the tree is the real thing.

Growing weary of government - 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 or overthrow it.

Drunkards as a class - I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant and warm-blooded to fall into this vice.

One who argues for slavery - I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly, those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

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