Extract from Abraham Lincoln to Henry L. Pierce and others

The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society ... 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.

All honor to Jefferson—to the 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 re-appearing tyrany and oppression.

Published in Roy P. Basler, ed., Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ, 1953), 3:374-6.
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Abraham Lincoln
Henry L. Pierce
Date Range
April 6, 1859
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson