Abraham Lincoln Online Speeches and Writings
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Signature of Abraham Lincoln

Selected Speeches and Writings by Abraham Lincoln

The source of this small sample of letters, speeches, and writings is The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler. Introductions to individual documents are by Abraham Lincoln Online. Documents housed on other Web sites are noted as such.


Letter to Allen N. Ford, 1846
Lincoln replies to charges of being a religious scoffer.

Letter to George Robertson, 1855
Important quotes on liberty and an early mention of the "house divided" concept.

Letter to Joshua Speed, 1855
Lincoln tells a close friend how he views slavery.

Advice to Lawyers, 1855-1860
Lincoln recommends diligent study to prospective lawyers.

Letter to Henry Pierce, 1859
Lincoln's highly quotable "all honor to Jefferson" letter.

Letter to Lyman Trumbull, 1860
Lincoln confesses his interest in the 1860 presidential nomination.

Letter to George Latham, 1860
Lincoln encourages a his friend's son who failed to enter college.

Letter to Grace Bedell, 1860
A response to the girl who asked Lincoln to grow a beard.

Letter to the Ellsworths, 1861
A letter of condolence to the parents of a 24-year-old colonel.

Letter to Horace Greeley, 1862
The famous "I would save the Union" response to a newspaper editor.

Letter to Fanny McCullough, 1862
Eloquent expression of condolence to the daughter of an Illinois friend.

Letter to Major General Joseph Hooker, 1863
Advice with a fatherly tone to a Union general.

Letter to Erastus Corning and Others, 1863
An important public letter defending Lincoln's civil liberties policies.

Letter to General Grant, 1863
Lincoln admits that he was wrong about a military strategy.

Letter to James C. Conkling, 1863
What Lincoln asked a friend to read at a Union rally in his hometown.

Letter to Edward Everett, 1863
Lincoln responds to compliments about his remarks at Gettysburg.

Letter to Albert G. Hodges, 1864
Reveals Lincoln's position on constitutional responsibility and emancipation.

Letter to Mrs. Eliza P. Gurney, 1864
Lincoln thanks a Quaker woman for her prayers and concern.

Letter to Mrs. Bixby, 1864
The much-praised message to a widow who lost sons in the war.

Lincoln's Acceptance of Honorary Degree, 1864 (Princeton University)
Lincoln responds to a degree given to him by Princeton.


Lyceum Address, 1838
An early speech revealing Lincoln's attitude toward government.

Temperance Address, 1842
Lincoln disturbs his listeners by urging persuasion and reason.

Eulogy on Henry Clay, 1852
Lincoln praises his "beau ideal of a statesman" on his death.

House Divided Speech, 1858
The landmark speech which kicked off Lincoln's campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858
Visit the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln site to search all seven debates.

Second Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions, 1859
Lincoln the patent holder goes on the lecture circuit.

Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, 1859
Lincoln goes to the fair, slipping in a word for free labor and education.

Cooper Union Address, 1860
The brilliant effort expressing the intentions of the signers of the Constitution.

Farewell Address, 1861
A touching good-bye to his hometown friends.

Addresses to the New Jersey Senate/General Assembly, 1861
Impromptu messages delivered on Lincoln's inaugural journey.

Address in Independence Hall, 1861
An inaugural journey speech which refers to the Declaration of Independence.

First Inaugural Address, 1861
Lincoln pleads with his "dissatisfied fellow countrymen" to avoid war.

Response to a Serenade, 1863
Impromptu remarks which foreshadowed later remarks at Gettysburg.

The Gettysburg Address, 1863
The classic speech demonstrating mastery of thought and expression.

Speeches to Ohio Regiments, 1864
Words of thanks to soldiers returning from war.

Second Inaugural Address, 1865
Reveals Lincoln's deep political and theological understanding.

Last Public Address, 1865
The speech which prompted John Wilkes Booth to murder.


First Political Announcement, 1832
Lincoln stresses navigation and education in his initial bid for office.

Poems by Lincoln, 1846
Lincoln recalls his Indiana boyhood home and a bear hunt.

Notes for a Law Lecture, 1850
Lincoln offers practical advice for aspiring lawyers.

Autobiographies of 1858-60
Lincoln describes his life before the presidency in three different ways.

Meditation on the Divine Will, 1862
A private memorandum about God's sovereignty discovered by one of Lincoln's secretaries.

Concluding Remarks/Annual Message to Congress, 1862
Source of the "last best hope of earth" and other famous quotations.

Emancipation Proclamation, 1863
The watershed document Lincoln prepared many months before its signing.

Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day, 1863
A call to repentence for forgetting God.

Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863
The document which set the precedent for today's national holiday.

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