TWEETABLE QUOTES BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Abraham Lincoln in 1858 Photo
Lincoln about the time of the debates with Stephan Douglas (Photo by Abraham M. Byers – May 7, 1858)

This is a page dedicated to actual 🎩 Abraham Lincoln quotes – in tweetable form (140 characters). They have NOT been altered, but they do have tweet shorthand (to=2).  Feel free to copy and paste on Twitter!

They are organized by # headings.

The source from which each quote came is also noted. They are from his speeches, letters, and courtroom reports that appeared in local newspapers. Some are even from scraps of paper with a thought jotted on them and tossed among his papers.

But get ready, because Lincoln’s far more profound than he’s often credited with being. Some quotes even seem homespun and simplistic, but the concepts they express are often complicated. Einstein said that “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Lincoln understood it…even in 140 characters.

[Please note: CWAL = Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln]

🎩 HIS TWEETABLE WISDOM:

#Action

  • The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just–a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless.”

-“Second Annual Message to Congress (December 1, 1862).” CWAL. v.V:p.521.

  • Broken by it, I, too, may be; bow to it I never will.

-[Regarding President Van Buren’s political force] “Speech on the Sub-Treasury – December [26?], 1839.” CWAL. v.I:p. 179.

#Addiction

  • …none seemed to think the injury arose from the use of a bad thing, but from the abuse of a very good thing.

-[Speaking about alcoholism & the misconception of early reformers] “Temperance Address – February 22, 1842.” CWAL. v.I:p. 275.

  • They teach hope to all—despair to none.

-[Regarding the use of former alcoholics as reformers] “Temperance Address – February 22, 1842.” CWAL. v.I:p. 277.

#Agribusiness

  • Every blade of grass is a study; and to produce two, where there was but one, is both a profit and a pleasure.

-“Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society – September 30, 1859” CWAL. v.III:p.481.

#Democracy

  • In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.

-“Second Annual Message to Congress (December 1, 1862).” CWAL. v.V:p.521.

  • Advancement – improvement in condition-is the order of things in a society of equals.

-“Fragment of notes on Free Labor – September, 1859?” Kerner, F. (1965). A Treasury of Lincoln Quotations. New York, NY: Doubleday and Company Inc: p.103.

  • in this country, one can scarcely be so poor, but that, if he will, he can acquire sufficient education to get through the world respectably

-“Euology on Henry Clay” (February 27, 1860). CWAL. v.II:125.

#Diversity

  • Because of these diversities we waste much strength in struggles among ourselves. By mutual concession we should harmonize and act together.

-“Second Annual Message to Congress (December 1, 1862).” CWAL. vV:521.

#Government

  • Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.

-“Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan at (August 27, 1856).” CWAL. vII:p.367.

  • Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only is self government.

-“Speech at Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854” CWAL. v.II:266.

  • There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.

-“Speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum, Springfield, IL – January 27, 1838.” Kerner, F. (1965). A Treasury of Lincoln Quotations. New York, NY: Doubleday and Company Inc: p.180.

  • …government rightfully may, &, subject to the constitution, ought to, redress & prevent, all wrongs, which are wrongs to the nation itself.

-“Notes for Speeches at Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, September 16-17, 1859.” CWAL. v.III:pp. 426-436.

#Humor

  • The Saviour of the world chose twelve disciples, and even one of that small number, selected by superhuman wisdom, turned out a traitor..

-“Speech on the Sub-Treasury (in the Illinois Legislature) – December 26, 1839.” CWAL. v.I:p.168.

#Influence

  • …what is the influence of fashion, but the influence that other people’s actions have on our own actions…

-[An example to show how the culture of the community effects the backsliding of alcoholics] “Temperance Address – February 22, 1842.” CWAL. v.I:p. 278.

#Life

  • …we know nothing of what will happen in future, but by the analogy of experience…

-“Speech on the Sub-Treasury (in the Illinois Legislature) – December 26, 1839.” CWAL.  v.I:p.167.

  • I believe it is universally understood and acknowledged, that all men will ever act correctly, unless they have a motive to do otherwise.

-“Speech in the Illinois Legislature concerning the State Bank – January 11, 1837.” CWAL. v.I:p.67.

  • The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships…

-“To Joseph Gillespie – July 13. 1849.” CWAL. v.II:p. 58.

  • 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

-“Temperance Address – February 22, 1842.” CWAL. v.I:p. 274.

  • In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, & as strong; as silly & as wise; as bad & good

-” Lincoln’s Response to a Serenade, November 10, 1864.” The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.  Retrieved June 6, 2017 from: https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mal:@field(DOCID+@lit(d3811500))

  • It is an old maxim and a very sound one, that he that dances should always pay the fiddler.

-“Speech in the Illinois Legislature concerning the State Bank – January 11, 1837.” CWAL. v.I:p.65.

  • 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;

-“Letter to Allen N. Ford” (August 11, 1846).CWAL. v.I:384.

  • Human-nature will not change…

-” Lincoln’s Response to a Serenade, November 10, 1864.” The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Retrieved June 6, 2017 from: https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mal:@field(DOCID+@lit(d3811500))

  • Great distance, in either time or space, has wonderful power to lull & render quiescent the human mind.

-“Speech to Washington Temperance Society, Springfield, IL Feb. 22, 1842.” Kerner, F. (1965). A Treasury of Lincoln Quotations. New York, NY: Doubleday and Company Inc: p.65.

#LincolnMaxims

  • I find quite as much material for a lecture in those points wherein I have failed, as in those wherein I have been moderately successful.

-“Fragment: Notes for a Law Lecture (July 1, 1850?).” CWAL. vII:81.

  • …we can not escape history.

-“Second Annual Message to Congress (December 1, 1862).” CWAL. vV:521.

  • Stand with anybody that stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right and PART with him when he goes wrong.

-“Speech at Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854” CWAL. v.II:274.

  • LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.  [Lincoln’s capitalizations – probably for emphasis]

-“Address at Cooper Institute, New York City” (February 27, 1860). CWAL.  v.III:550.

#Metaphors

  • An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.

-“Letter to William Durley – October 03, 1845.” Kerner, F. (1965). A Treasury of Lincoln Quotations. New York, NY: Doubleday and Company Inc: p.105.

  • the great volcano at Washington, aroused & directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corruption

“Speech on the Sub-Treasury (in the Illinois Legislature) – December 26, 1839.” CWAL. v.I:p.178.

#Politics

  • It is not the qualified voters, but the qualified voters who choose to vote, that constitute the political power of a state.

-Lincoln’s opinion of the admission of West Virginia into the Union Dec. 31, 1862.” Kerner, F. (1965). A Treasury of Lincoln Quotations. New York, NY: Doubleday and Company Inc: p.82.

  • If elected, I shall consider the whole people of Sangamon my constituents, as well those that oppose, as those that support me.

-“Letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal, June 13, 1836.” CWAL. v.I:p.49.

#PoliticalActivism

  • It is a quality of revolutions not to go by old lines, or old laws; but to break up both, and make new ones.

-“Speech in United States House of Representatives: The War with Mexico – January 12, 1848.” CWAL. v.I:p. 440.

  • What interest, let me ask, have the people in the settlement of this question?

-“Speech in the Illinois Legislature concerning the State Bank – January 11, 1837.” CWAL.  v.I:p.64.

#Respect_Relationships

  • I want in all cases to do right, and most particularly so, in all cases with women.

-“Letter to Mary S. Owens – August 16, 1837.” CWAL. v.I:p.95.

  • Whatever woman may cast her lot with mine, should any ever do so, it is my intention to do all in my power to make her happy and contented;

-“Letter to Mary S. Owens – May 7, 1837.” CWAL. v.I:p.79.

#Similes

  • …he feels the blood of this war, like the blood of Abel, is crying to Heaven against him.

-[Regarding then President Polk] “Speech in United States House of Representatives: The War with Mexico – January 12, 1848.” CWAL. v.I:p. 440.

  • …you shall no more be able to pierce him, than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.

-“Temperance Address – February 22, 1842.” CWAL. v.I:p. 274.

#Wealth

  • Lincoln defined wealth as “simply a superfluity of things we don’t need.”

-Gross, Anthony. (1912). Lincoln’s Own Stories. New York, NY: Harper & Brothers Publishing Co. p. 108.

#WomensSuffrage

  • I go for admitting all whites to the right of suffrage, who pay taxes or bear arms, (by no means excluding females.)

-“Letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal, June 13, 1836.” CWAL. v.I:p.49.