A hypocrite is like the man who murdered both his parents and then pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?
And while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed, than to violate any of them trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional. (on the Fugitive Slave Act)
As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all.
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.
Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.
Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.
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.
Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.
How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
I don't know who my grandfather was. I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.
If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
I fear explanations explanatory of things explained.
If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe.
If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business.
If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, then the people will have ceased to be their own rulers.
If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.
I have been told I was on the road to hell, but I had no idea it was just a mile down the road with a Dome on it.
I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.
I sincerely wish war was a pleasanter and easier business than it is, but it does not admit of holidays.
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.
I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.
Men moving only in an official circle are apt to become merely official -- not to say arbitrary -- in their ideas, and are apter and apter with each passing day to forget that they only hold power in a representative capacity.
My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
No matter how much the cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.
People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.
Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good in the world.
Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
The assertion that "all men are created equal" was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use.
The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
Whatever you are, be a good one.
Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.
When you have got an elephant by the hind leg, and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run.
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.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.