5 Powerful Abraham Lincoln Quotes You’ve Never Heard

He was one of the most eloquent speakers in American history – and he certainly did not feel the need to keep it brief.

Abraham Lincoln

Photo: Abraham Lincoln, Courtesy of Juan García / Flickr

We remember Lincoln not only as the president who stewarded our nation through the Civil War, but also as one of the most eloquent speakers in American history. And he certainly did not feel the need to keep it brief.

Below are some of our favorite, lesser-known quotes by the famous figure culled from The Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, a comprehensive collection of his statements on politics, slavery, education, law. They show his passion for the written word and exemplify a strong moral character than continues to impress Americans 150 years after his death.

Get ready to be inspired.


“Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye, is the great invention of the world. Great is the astonishing range of analysis and combination which necessarily underlies the most crude and general conception of it — great, very great, in enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and space; and great, not only in its direct benefits, but greatest help to all other inventions.” — Speech to the Springfield Library Association, February 22, 1859

“A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones.” — Speech to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, September 30, 1859

The Lincoln Memorial

Photo: The Lincoln Memorial, Courtesy of Ben C.K. / Flickr

“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say, for one, that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow — men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.” — Address to the people of Sangamon, March 9, 1832

“The true rule in determining to embrace or reject anything, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost everything, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two” — Speech in the House of Representatives, June 20, 1848

“I do not say that in the recent election the people did the wisest thing that could have been done; indeed, I do not think that they did; but do say that in accepting the great trust committed to me, which I do with a determination to endeavor to prove worthy of it, I must rely upon you, upon the people of the whole country, for support; and with their sustaining aid, even I, humble as I am, cannot fail to carry the ship of state safely through the storm.” — On the road to Lincoln’s inauguration, February 19, 1861

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