Powerful Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Leadership

Abraham Lincoln quotes

If you are passionate about leadership, what’s the best way to keep your flame alive if not through Abraham Lincoln quotes on what makes a great leader?  Recall that Lincoln is the 16th President of the United States and was truly a remarkable man. His life and legacy have been studied and celebrated for generations, and for good reasons.

He was a man of courage, conviction ad vision, who led the country through its most tumultuous period, the Civil War, and preserved the Union. He was also a masterful communicator who used his words to inspire, persuade and unite people from all walks of life.

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Lots of people look up to Lincoln for guidance and inspiration as they navigate their leadership journeys, so, you’re not left out. Whether you’re leading a team at work, pursuing a passion project, or simply striving to be the best version of yourself, there are lessons to be learned from Lincoln’s life and leadership style. Let’s dive in!

Don’t forget to check out our collection of inspirational quotes for more inspiring sayings and content.

Top 10 Abraham Lincoln quotes

  1. “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” —  Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1.  “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Love is the chain to lock a child to its parent.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.” — Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln quotes on life

  1. “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Fact: the ability to describe others as they see themselves.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1.  “A farce or comedy is best played; a tragedy is best read at home.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “For people who like that kind of a book that is the kind of book they will like.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” — Abraham Lincoln

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More Abraham Lincoln quotes about life

  1. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1.  “Every man’s happiness is his own responsibility.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “If I am killed, I can die but once; but to live in constant dread of it, is to die over and over again.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “I would rather be a little nobody, then to be an evil somebody.” — Abraham Lincoln

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  1. “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” — Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln quotes on leadership

  1. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other thing.” — Abraham Lincoln
  1. “I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2.  “I have a congenital aversion to failure.” — Abraham Lincoln
  3. “I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” — Abraham Lincoln
  6. “And having thus chosen our course, without guile, and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts.” — Abraham Lincoln
  7. “Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good.” — Abraham Lincoln
  8. “What is to be, will be, and no prayers of ours can arrest the decree.” — Abraham Lincoln
  9. “Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.” — Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln quotes on success

  1. “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. “I know not how to aid you, save in the assurance of one of mature age, and much severe experience, that you can not fail, if you resolutely determine, that you will not.”
    — Abraham Lincoln
  3. “I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer who remarked to a companion once that ‘it was not best to swap horses while crossing streams’.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “I have stepped out upon this platform that I may see you and that you may see me, and in the arrangement I have the best of the bargain.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity.” — Abraham Lincoln
  6. “This is a world of compensations; 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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  7. “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.” — Abraham Lincoln
  8. “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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  9. “You think slavery is right and should be extended; while we think slavery is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us.” — Abraham Lincoln
  10. “The one victory we can ever call complete will be that one which proclaims that there is not one slave or one drunkard on the face of God’s green earth.” — Abraham Lincoln

Motivational Abraham Lincoln quotes about freedom

  1. “All I ask for the negro is that if you do not like him, let him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. “I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.” — Abraham Lincoln
  3. “No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle–the sheet anchor of American republicanism.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “Surely God would not have created such a being as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.” — Abraham Lincoln
  6. “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” — Abraham Lincoln
  7. “I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America!” — Abraham Lincoln
  8. “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book.” — Abraham Lincoln
  9. “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party – and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose.” — Abraham Lincoln
  10. “I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.” — Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln quotes on education

  1. “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. “The United States government must not undertake to run the Churches. When an individual, in the Church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the public interest he must be checked.” — Abraham Lincoln
  3. “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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half-slave and half-free. 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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “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 their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.” — Abraham Lincoln
  6. “I desire to so conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.” — Abraham Lincoln
  7. “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” — Abraham Lincoln
  8. “The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” — Abraham Lincoln
  9. “I cannot make it better known than it already is that I strongly favor colonization.” — Abraham Lincoln
  10. “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser–in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” — Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln quotes about the future

  1. “The love of property and consciousness of right and wrong have conflicting places in our organization, which often makes a man’s course seem crooked, his conduct a riddle.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. “What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?” — Abraham Lincoln
  3. “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  6. “Property is the fruit of labor…property is desirable…is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.” — Abraham Lincoln
  7. “I can make a General in five minutes but a good horse is hard to replace.” — Abraham Lincoln
  8. “My father taught me to work, but not to love it. I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it. I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh—anything but work.” — Abraham Lincoln
  9. “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, stretching 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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  10. “If we have no friends, we have no pleasure; and if we have them, we are sure to lose them, and be doubly pained by the loss.” — Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln quotes on leadership

  1. “I distrust the wisdom if not the sincerity of friends who would hold my hands while my enemies stab me.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. “I never encourage deceit, and falsehood, especially if you have got a bad memory, is the worst enemy a fellow can have. The fact is truth is your truest friend, no matter what the circumstances are.” — Abraham Lincoln
  3. “I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” — Abraham Lincoln
  6. “Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.” — Abraham Lincoln
  7. “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” — Abraham Lincoln
  8. “I will prepare and someday my chance will come.” — Abraham Lincoln
  9. “I do the very best I know how–the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” — Abraham Lincoln
  10. “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” — Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln quotes on hope

  1. “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”— Abraham Lincoln
  3. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “Towering genius distains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.” — Abraham Lincoln
  6. “There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.” — Abraham Lincoln
  7. “If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already.” — Abraham Lincoln
  8. “The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.” — Abraham Lincoln
  9. “I expect to maintain this contest until successful, or till I die, or am conquered, or my term expires, or Congress or the country forsakes me…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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  10. “The old general rule was that educated people did not perform manual labor. They managed to eat their bread, leaving the toil of producing it to the uneducated. This was not an insupportable evil to the working bees, so long as the class of drones remained very small. But now, especially in these free States, nearly all are educated–quite too nearly all, to leave the labor of the uneducated, in any wise adequate to the support of the whole. It follows from this that henceforth educated people must labor. Otherwise, education itself would become a positive and intolerable evil. No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive.” — Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln inspirational quotes

  1. “On the question of liberty, as a principle, we are not what we have been. When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that ‘all men are created equal’ a self evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim ‘a self evident lie.'” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. “Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere.” — Abraham Lincoln
  3. “Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon, and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  6. “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.” — Abraham Lincoln
  7. “The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.” — Abraham Lincoln
  8. “In very truth he was, the noblest work of God—an honest man.” — Abraham Lincoln
  9. “I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him.” — Abraham Lincoln
  10. “Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief — resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer.” — Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln quotes on slavery

  1. “In law it is a good policy to never plead what you need not, lest you oblige yourself to prove what you can not.” — Abraham Lincoln
  2. “Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling.” — Abraham Lincoln
  3. “I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.” — Abraham Lincoln
  4. “Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense.” — Abraham Lincoln
  5. “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” — Abraham Lincoln

Which of these Abraham Lincoln quotes inspired you the most?

As you can see, Abraham Lincoln quotes on leadership are a testament to his greatness as a leader and his enduring legacy. His words continue to resonate with people today because they embody timeless truths about what it means to be a good leader.

Lincoln believed that true leadership was not just about weathering the storms of life but also about how one uses power and influence. It’s also important that a leader has a sense of direction and is able to inspire others to follow him toward that vision. Good leaders must take charge of their own destinies and have a clear plan for the future. All in all, Lincoln’s great words on leadership serve as a guidepost for anyone who aspires to lead others. While reflecting on his legacy, you should also grow to embody these qualities so that you can create a brighter future for yourself and for those you’re currently leading or about to lead.

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Damian Rogers, Editor
At GreatBigMinds.com, Damian Rogers holds the position of Lead Editor, where he is responsible for overseeing the production of exceptional and motivational content for our audience. He specialized knowledge in WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. By working closely with our proficient writers, he guarantees that each piece of content we publish is well-crafted and captivating. Damian's valuable contributions to GreatBigMinds' mission of promoting optimism and advancement in digital media have resulted in his being regarded as a respected authority in the field.