Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Slavery (9 Quotes)


    Letter to Horace Greeley. August 22, 1862 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.

    Broken campaign promises are as old as the Presidency itself. Here the 'Great Emancipator' makes an inaugural pledge that history would sooner forget. 'I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.'

    As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.

    Slavery is founded on the selfishness of man's nature -- opposition to it on his love of justice.

    In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.


    This is a world of compensation and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves and, under a just God, can not long retain it.

    Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it by being a slave himself

    I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If he has a place and work for me and I think He has I believe I am ready. This comment was made in a private conversation with Newton Bateman, superintendent of public instruction for the state of Illinois, a few days before the election of 1860. During the election of 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy used the same words in a speech to the United Steelworkers of America convention, Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 19, 1960. Freedom of Communications, final report of the Committee on Commerce, United States Senate, part 1, p. 286 (1961). Senate Report. 87-994. As president, he used a variation of these words at the 10th annual presidential prayer breakfast, March 1, 1962. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States John F Kennedy, 1962, p. 176.

    Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.


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