"As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;--let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children?s liberty."
Bill in chancery to Sangamon Co. Circuit Court, Illinois, Lincoln and Herndon as attorneys for Upton Crowl against John Grigg, David B. Ayers, Robert North, and William Parks. Affidavit sworn by Lincoln before J. Calhoun, clerk, and L. B. Adams
"Its authors meant it to be... a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack."
"I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all mean created equal -- equal in certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
"In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in the making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, and sneered at, and construed, and hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it."
"[I]n the way our Fathers originally left the slavery question, the institution was in the course of ultimate extinction, and the public mind rested in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction . . . . All I have asked or desired anywhere, is that it should be placed back again upon the basis that the Fathers of our government originally placed it upon."
"[T]he man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression."
"Before [patent law], any man might instantly use what another had invented; the inventor had no special advantage from his own invention. The patent system changed this; secured to the inventor, for a limited time, the exclusive use of his invention; and thereby added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius in the discovery and production of new and useful things."
"The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was not made to conceal or destroy the apple, but to adorn and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple?not the apple for the picture."
"Continue to execute all the express provisions of our national Constitution, and the Union will endure forever--it being impossible to destroy it, except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself."
"I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, streching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
"[I]f the policy of the Government, upon vital questions affecting, the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased, to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their Government, into the hands of that eminent tribunal."
"If there could ever be a time for mere catch arguments, that time is surely not now. In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not be personally responsible through time and eternity."
" The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. … 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"