Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 155

When one of his generals grumbled and complained after being placed in charge of a mere 3,000 men, Lincoln wired him: 'Act well your part; therein all the honor lies. He who does something at the head of one regiment will eclipse him who does nothing at the head of a hundred.'

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 154

‘Though the young Lincoln would never leave the frontier, would never leave America, he traveled with Byron’s Childe Harold to Spain and Portugal, the Middle East and Italy; accompanied Robert Burns to Edinburgh; and followed the English kings into battle with Shakespeare. As he explored the wonders of literature and the history of the country, the young Lincoln, already conscious of his own power, developed ambitions far beyond the expectations of his family and neighbors. It was through literature that he was able to transcend his surroundings.’
- Doris Kearns Goodwin

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 153

'When southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery than we, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists and that it is very difficult to get rid of it in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 152

‘When the Pennsylvania miners broke out in open rebellion against the operation of the draft law – detested but necessary - in their section, worried Harrisburg officials inquired whether Lincoln would send troops to execute the law. Entrusting nothing to paper, Lincoln sent a confidential messenger to A. K. McClure, the aide of the Pennsylvania governor: “say to McClure that I am very desirous to have the laws fully executed, but it might be well, in an extreme emergency, to be content with the appearance of executing the laws; I think McClure will understand.” McClure did understand, and he made no more than a feeble effort to subdue the miners’ revolt, but let the agitation die out of its own accord. Thus, the Lincoln administration won the credit both for preserving the peace and for enforcing the draft.’
- David Donald

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 151

During the 1858 senatorial debate with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln reached for a metaphor to describe the 'humbuggery' of popular sovereignty as a sort of anti-expansionist device. Thanks to Douglas's own inconsistent interpretations, 'had it not got down as thin as a homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death?'

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 150

Those around Lincoln strove from beginning to end to erect barriers to defend him against constant interruption, but the President himself was always the first to break them down. He disliked anything that kept people from him who wanted to see him. 'You will wear yourself out,' they pleaded with him. Lincoln of course agreed, but, he contended, they wanted so little - how could he refuse to see them?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 149

'My friends: no one not in my situation can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place and the kindness of these people I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born and one is buried. I now leave not knowing when or whether ever I may return with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me and remain with you and be everywhere for good let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you as I hope in your prayers you will commend me I bid you an affectionate farewell.'
- Abraham Lincoln, President-elect, Farewell Address, Springfield, Illinois on leaving for his inauguration, February, 1861

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 148

'Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 147

'My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 145

'My father taught me how to work, but not to love it. I never did like to work, and I don't deny it. I'd rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh - anything but work.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 144

'Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?'
- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 143

Abraham Lincoln once said he couldn’t stand the prospect of wringing the neck of a chicken and yet ironically found himself in the intolerable position as Commander in Chief of actively willing the continuance of a war that was resulting in the deaths of thousands and thousands of men.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 142

'With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, and to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. '
- Abraham Lincoln, [Second Inaugural Address]

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 141

A few days after they were married in 1842, Lincoln wrote a friend that nothing was new 'except my marrying, which to me is a matter of profound wonder.'