Today is Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday. Having led our nation through its darkest hours, President Lincoln’s thoughts and insights continue to resonate and inspire us today.
There was no honeymoon period for Lincoln’s presidency as he was immediately faced with the dissolution of the Republic and civil war. No president has ever faced so grave a crisis upon assuming office and yet this unassuming man with no previous executive experience rose to the task.
Given the current state of our Republic and the challenges we are facing, one can only pause and wonder what thoughts and advise 'Honest Abe' would share with us and our leaders.
Abraham Lincoln on the people:
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.
The people themselves, and not their servants, can safely reverse their own deliberate decisions.
The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.
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 exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.
Abraham Lincoln on the Constitution:
Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the safeguard of our liberties.
Important principles may, and must, be inflexible.
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
Abraham Lincoln on liberty and freedom:
No man is good enough to govern another man without that man’s consent.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Abraham Lincoln on the nature of wealth:
That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.
That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.
Let not him who is homeless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself in every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him.
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
Some thoughts from Abraham Lincoln that the current president should consider:
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
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.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worth of recognition.
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
What kills a skunk is the publicity he gives himself.
Some thoughts from Abraham Lincoln for those of us in the Tea Party movement:
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
The probability that we may fail in the struggle should ought not deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?
My dream is of a place and time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.
One final thought from Abraham Lincoln on his birthday:
People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.
February 12, 2011