With Charity for All, With Firmness in the Right; Let Us Begin; Let us Strive On – Words from some of our Presidents on President’s Day

On President’s Day, let’s read a few words from a few of our Presidents.  Two included, Washington and Lincoln, are the “official” presidents remembered on President’s Day.  I chose an important excerpt from LBJ, and my favoirite portion of Kennedy’s inaugural.  And, then, the Gettysburg Address in its entirety.

Abraham Lincoln
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.
Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
(read the entire speech here)

George Washington
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.

John F. Kennedy
All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days; nor in the life of this Administration; nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961
(read the entire speech here)

Lyndon Baines Johnson
There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans — not as Democrats or Republicans. We are met here as Americans to solve that problem.
“We Shall Overcome” — Address to a Joint Session of Congress on Voting Legislation, March 15, 1965
(read the entire speech here)

The Hay copy, with Lincoln's handwritten corrections
The Hay copy, with Lincoln’s handwritten corrections

And…  Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, in its entirety
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.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln
, November 19, 1863
(text taken from Lincoln on-line)

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