Lincoln Says | Abraham Lincoln’s Best Quotes

abraham lincoln's best quotesOn this day, 203 years ago, Abraham Lincoln was born. February 12, 1809. He might seem like ancient history now, but my great-grandfather could have known some of the same people Abe Lincoln new. It’s fascinating that history hasn’t kept us that far apart.

Abraham Lincoln was more than just a President, or the patriarch-like historical figure we make him out to be now. He was true flesh and blood that faced challenges and had to make tough choices. So today, to honor his birthday, we bring Abraham Lincoln’s best quotes we could find. Check out the man’s wisdom!

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

This sounds a lot like a Biblical proverb–which says, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent.” Sometimes, you sound smarter when you don’t say anything.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Today, it’s easy to say and believe this statement. America is a world super-power! But in Abe Lincoln’s time? Not so much. He truly had a vision for how strong the United States could become.

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

I thought this was an interesting paradigm shift on how we view God. Rather than as a servant following our will and supporting our plans, do we understand what is right and just in God’s eyes? Are we aligned with that, or are we trying to justify our schemes and fabricate a reason why God would support them?

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
“Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.”

I like that Abraham Lincoln wasn’t blinded by some current thinking that the Constitution is a holy document. What he regarded as sacred is the right to liberate the world, the right to rise up and shake off an old government for a one that suits the people better should they determine that is the case.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

Here’s what I would like to know–what did he perceive as the means of “giving” the people the truth? Today the President can transmit to us citizens what information he chooses immediately. As for Lincoln, how would he get it into the hands of the people, and ensure that is was still the “truth” unadulterated as he originally intended it to be conveyed?

Do you have any of Abraham Lincoln’s best quotes to add?

About Todd Mayfield

He's a lover, not a fighter. But he's also a fighter, so don't get any ideas.

He works for a series of private schools to advance innovative education to combat ballooning classroom sizes and challenge the status quo of the current public and private education format.


  1. Great quotes Todd! I LOVE Lincoln and studied him extensively in my undergrad. We need men like him today to help move our country in the direction it needs to be as opposed to the politicians we see today. He’s easily in the top 3 of people I would give anything to meet.

  2. I totally need to work on the “staying silent” part. I have always thought that I show my hand too often. IT is truly a gift to keep stuff to yourself and be a little less transparent. I’m not sure I can do it but…

    Thanks for these amazing quotes!

    • It’s interesting you state it that way, showing your hand. I’ve realized when I feel like “I’m getting on a roll” in a conversation, I’m probably actually just talking too much and revealing too much as well!

  3. I had always thought the that the first quote was from Mark Twain.

    • I think the top quote is something a lot of people have said in different ways over the years. But it’s interesting you bring it up. Oftentimes when I find quotes online I can’t find where that person found it. Without a source, I do wonder sometimes if I’m quoting something that’s good, but maybe the person didn’t actually say.

      • True, and sometimes things are just mis-attributed. I had always heard that “a penny saved is a penny earned” was from Ben Franklin, but there is no evidence that he ever said it, and the phrase had been kicking around in one form or another for a hundred years before his birth.

  4. I thought I was going to have a favorite quote out of all of these but they are all remarkable quotes. It’s hard to imagine that they were said so long ago and yet still hold true over time.

    • It is interesting how “timeless” his vision for America was. And he could have never imagined even the industrial revolution! I wonder if all he imagined was rural and city folk just continually growing together!

Speak Your Mind