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" My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families - second families, perhaps I should say. "
" When the white man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government - that is despotism. "
" I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country's cause. "
" Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? "
" I understand a ship to be made for the carrying and preservation of the cargo, and so long as the ship can be saved, with the cargo, it should never be abandoned. This Union likewise should never be abandoned unless it fails and the possibility of its preservation shall cease to exist, without throwing passengers and cargo overboard. "
" I have talked with great men, and I do not see how they differ from others. "
" Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. "
" Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. "
" Being elected to Congress, though I am very grateful to our friends for having done it, has not pleased me as much as I expected. "
" When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run. "
" Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible. "
" What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself. "
" I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. "
" When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say. "
" Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it. "
" If I like a thing, it just sticks after once reading it or hearing it. "
" The people themselves, and not their servants, can safely reverse their own deliberate decisions. "
" 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. "
" Upon the subjects of which I have treated, I have spoken as I have thought. I may be wrong in regard to any or all of them; but, holding it a sound maxim that it is better only sometimes to be right than at all times to be wrong, so soon as I discover my opinions to be erroneous, I shall be ready to renounce them. "
" No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens. "
" I never went to school more than six months in my life, but I can say this: that among my earliest recollections, I remember how, when a mere child, I used to get irritated when anybody talked to me in a way I could not understand. "
" I can express all my views on the slavery question by quotations from Henry Clay. "
" 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. "
" I am a slow walker, but I never walk back. "
" The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read. "
" A house divided against itself cannot stand. "
" Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar. "
" We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. "
" 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. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition is yet to be developed. "
" If there should prove to be one real, living Free State Democrat in Kansas, I suggest that it might be well to catch him and stuff and preserve his skin as an interesting specimen of that soon-to-be-extinct variety of the genus Democrat. "
" At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. "