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Presidents Day Countdown: Abraham Lincoln

Reading even a few Abraham Lincoln quotes helps you appreciate the depth and extent of his wisdom and character.

If George Washington kept the United States from falling apart before it had really got started as first president, fast forward to a time when it didn’t look like the United States would celebrate its 100th anniversary as a country. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president US president, a self-taught man from humble circumstances, cast a vision of integrity – despite the cost – for the union in his words and actions. Here are just a few thoughts from ‘Honest Abe’ – a common man with uncommon wisdom applied to personal success, politics, virtue, and even the practice of law!

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.

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

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.

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 at all.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

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.

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

God must love the common man, he made so many of them.

Perhaps the most famous and immortal words that Lincoln ever spoke are known as the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln on America, Labor, Freedom, Slavery, Books, and more

With our country’s 233rd birthday just around the corner, we’ve posted some quotes from two of the Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, in the last few days. Fast forward to a time when it didn’t look like the United States would celebrate its 100th anniversary as a country. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president US president, a self-taught man from humble circumstances, cast a vision of integrity – despite the cost – for the union in his words and actions. Here are just a few thoughts from ‘Honest Abe’ – a common man with uncommon wisdom applied to personal success, politics, virtue, and even the practice of law!

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.

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

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.

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 at all.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

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.

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

God must love the common man, he made so many of them.

Perhaps the most famous and immortal words that Lincoln ever spoke are known as the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

For the 4th? Come back and visit to find out!

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Quotes for Readers

Mark Gilroy is a reader.

I am a reader – and I love readers!

I’m not sure what I’ve actually every accomplished in life – though I’m very proud of my six kids and maybe that’s all that matters.

I’m not sure what I’m good at. Good reviews on my novels – I’ve published some books that have sold millions – but there have been so many others and so many blessings associated with any successes, I’m not sure what I can take credit for.

But one thing I know for sure is I like to read books. I’m a reader.

Enough so that I’ve tried to make a living in the business of books. For you MBA students, book publishing might be the second oldest profession known to humankind. That indicates book publishing is a mature industry.

But that hasn’t really dissuaded me from the path paved by paper and ink. [Read more…]

George Washington On Politics and Virtue and Handguns

A happy and blessed 4th of July to you and America on its 233rd birthday.

On this fourth day of posting quotes it is only fitting to give George Washington the seat of honor. When Henry Lee delivered his funeral oration in 1799, he said of him, he was “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

Yesterday we highlighted Lincoln, who held the union of a young nation together – at the cost of a Civil War – through force of will. Washington was the one who through force of will, personality, diplomacy, and talent kept the union from disintegrating before it started. After winning the Revolutionary War, Washington headed straight for his plantation in Mount Vernon to retire from public life. When King George III heard this, he said that if he would actually do that he was the greatest man who ever lived. And it seems to be the case that Washington really wasn’t interested in holding power, despite winning the presidency two terms.

His quotes, as well as those of Adams, Jefferson, and Lincoln from previous days, underscore the degree to which our nation was built on the premise that Freedom required good citizens – and that good citizens were those who practiced virtue and lived with integrity. A nice reminder for our day on this 4th. Enjoy!

While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable.

It is with pleasure I receive reproof, when reproof is due, because no person can be readier to accuse me, than I am to acknowledge an error, when I am guilty of one; nor more desirous of atoning for a crime, when I am sensible of having committed it.

I shall make it the most agreeable part of my duty to study merit, and Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder.

A people… who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything.

I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is the best policy.

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.

Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. It is better be alone than in bad company.

Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.

Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.

Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.

Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.

I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.