December 1, 2006
Cannot Escape History
Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it.
We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. 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. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just,--a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.
Source: State of the Union Address to United States Congress by President Abraham Lincoln on December 1, 1862. These are President Lincoln's concluding paragraphs to this address.
See: State of the Union Addresses by Abraham Lincoln at the Gutenberg Project
See also: Biography of Abraham Lincoln at WhiteHouse.gov.
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