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81 Famous American Civil War Quotes To Make You Think

Abraham Lincoln was a key part of the Civil War

The American Civil War has been called many names, including the War Between The States, the War Of Southern Independence, the War Of Rebellion, the Freedom War, and many more!

The American Civil War was fought between the northern states of America, called the Union, and the southern states of America, known as the Confederate states, between 1861 and 1865. The main causes leading to this divide between Northern and Southern states are complex, but slavery, disagreements over state's rights versus federal rights, and economic interests of the different states are understood by many to be the main three causes.

In addition to these causes the Dred Scott decision, the territorial expansion of the United States, Bleeding Kansas, and the election of Lincoln as President make a total of seven causes of the Civil War, although there are many more discussed by historians every day.

We have gathered plenty of Civil War quotes to help you learn about this period of history. Including Abraham Lincoln quotes, Robert E. Lee quotes, war quotes by Ulysses S. Grant, quotes about war, and Gettysburg address quotes.

If you like these Civil War quotes, please check out these [Stonewall Jackson quotes] and [Robert E Lee quotes] too.

Abraham Lincoln Civil War Quotes

Abraham Lincoln was the President of America during the Civil War. He was elected in 1860 and was against slavery. Some famous Civil War quotes and sayings from him are listed here.

1. "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.

2. "We have, as all will agree, a free government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man."

-Abraham Lincoln.

3. "From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion."

-Abraham Lincoln.

4. "That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain."

-Abraham Lincoln.

5. "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.

6. "America will not be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedom, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

-Abraham Lincoln.

7. "He who does something at the head of one Regiment, will eclipse him who does nothing at the head of a hundred."

-Abraham Lincoln, 31 December 1861, letter to David Hunter.

8. "War at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible."

-Abraham Lincoln, 16 June 1864, speech at Philadelphia.

9. "It is easy to see that, under the sharp discipline of Civil War, the nation is beginning a new life."

-Abraham Lincoln, 8 December 1863, message to Congress.

10. "In regards to this great Book [the Bible], 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. But for it, we could not know right from wrong."

-Abraham Lincoln.

11. "Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

-Abraham Lincoln.

12. "There is no need of bloodshed and war. There is no necessity for it."

-Abraham Lincoln.

13. "We, on our side, are praying Him to give us victory, because we believe we are right; but those on the other side pray to Him, look for victory, believing they are right. What must He think of us?"

-Abraham Lincoln.

14. "Without slavery the rebellion could never have existed; without slavery it could not continue."

-Abraham Lincoln.

Robert E Lee Civil War Quotes

The Civil War destroyed many innocent lives.

Robert E. Lee served as a commander of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. A few famous Civil War quotes from Robert E. Lee are.

15. "It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it."

-Robert E. Lee.

16. "So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished."

-Robert E. Lee.

17. "I believe it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony."

-Robert E. Lee.

18. "The dominant party cannot reign forever, and truth and justice will prevail at last."

-Robert E. Lee.

19. "It is history that teaches us to hope."

-Robert E. Lee.

20. "We must forgive our enemies. I can truly say that not a day has passed since the war began that I have not prayed for them."

-Robert E. Lee.

21. "Don't bring up your sons to detest the United States... Recollect that we form one country now. Abandon all these local animosities, and make your sons Americans."

-Robert E. Lee.

Jefferson Davis Civil War Quotes

Jefferson Davis served as the President of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Here are a few Civil War quotes from Jefferson Davis.

18. "If the Confederacy falls, there should be written on its tombstone: Died of a theory."

-Jefferson Davis, 'The Rise And Fall Of The Confederate Government, Volume 1'.

19. "The time for compromise has now passed, and the South is determined to maintain her position, and make all who oppose her smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel."

-Jefferson Davis.

20. "I worked night and day for twelve years to prevent the war, but I could not."

-Jefferson Davis.

21. "We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence, and that, or extermination, we will have."

-Jefferson Davis.

22. "Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southerner apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance."

-Jefferson Davis.

23. "The principle for which we contend is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form."

-Jefferson Davis.

24. "The past is dead; let it bury its dead, its hopes and its aspirations; before you lies the future - a future full of golden promise."

-Jefferson Davis.

John Brown Quotes

John H. Brown was an American abolitionist leader (did you know that one of the results of the Civil War was the abolition of slavery?) here are the best Civil War quotes from him.

25. "I don't think the people of the slave states will ever consider the subject of slavery in its true light till some other argument is resorted to other than moral persuasion."

-John H. Brown.

26. "When I strike, the bees will begin to swarm, and I want you to help hive them.”

-John H. Brown.

27. "I am quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think vainly, flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done."

-John H. Brown.

28. "Caution, Sir! I am eternally tired of hearing that word caution. It is nothing but the word of cowardice!”

-John H. Brown.

29. "Talk, is a national institution, but it does not help the slave."

-John H. Brown.

Ulysses S. Grant Civil War Quotes

Ulysses S. Grant was the Commanding General of the United States. Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army to win the Civil War. Some famous sayings from Ulysses S. Grant are listed here.

30. "I have never advocated war except as means of peace, so seek peace, but prepare for war. Because war... War never changes. War is like winter and winter is coming."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

31. "In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

32. "Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

33. "Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

34. "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

35. "The war is over-the rebels are our countrymen again."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

36. "The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

37. "If it is necessary that slavery should fall that the Republic may continue its existence, let slavery go."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

38. "The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United States will have to be attributed to slavery."

-Ulysses S. Grant.

Nathan Bedford Forrest Civil War Quotes

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate Army General during the American Civil War. His famous quotes about Civil War are found here.

39. "We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment."

-Nathan Bedford Forrest.

40. "If you surrender you shall be treated as prisoners of war, but if you have to storm your works you may expect no quarter."

-Nathan Bedford Forrest.

41. "I will be in my coffin before I will fight again under your command."

-Nathan Bedford Forrest.

42. "Boys, do you hear that musketry and that artillery? It means that our friends are falling by the hundreds at the hands of the enemy, and here we are... Let's go and help them. What do you say?"

-Nathan Bedford Forrest, 1862, address to his men at Shiloh, quoted in 'May I Quote You, General Forrest?' by Randall Bedwell.

43. "War means fighting, and fighting means killing.”

-Nathan Bedford Forrest.

44. "This fight is against slavery; if we lose it, you will be made free."

-Nathan Bedford Forrest.

45. "Every moment lost is worth the life of a thousand men."

-Nathan Bedford Forrest, September 1863, quoted in 'May I Quote You, General Forrest?' by Randall Bedwell.

46. "I've got no respect for a young man who won't join the colors."

- Nathan Bedford Forrest, quoted in 'May I Quote You, General Forrest?' by Randall Bedwell.

Civil War Quotes By Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane, a 19th-century American author, won international acclaim for the 1895 Civil War novel 'The Red Badge Of Courage'. Here are a few war quotes from him.

47. "He felt that in this crisis his laws of life were useless."

- Stephen Crane, 'The Red Badge Of Courage' (1895).

48. "It was not well to drive men into final corners; at those moments they could all develop teeth and claws."

-Stephen Crane.

49. "At times he regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way... He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage."

- Stephen Crane, 'The Red Badge Of Courage' (1895).

50."Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind. Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky and the affrighted steed ran on alone, Do not weep. War is kind."

-Stephen Crane, 'War Is Kind'.

Civil War Quotes From The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address was a speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln on the afternoon of 19 November

The Gettysburg Address was a speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln on the afternoon of 19 November 1863, during the Civil War. Here are some famous Civil War quotes from one of the best-known speeches in American history.

51. "Fourscore 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.

52. "... 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.

53. "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."

- Abraham Lincoln.

54. "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

- Abraham Lincoln.

55. "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."

- Abraham Lincoln.

56. "That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion."

- Abraham Lincoln.

57. "That government of the people, by the people, for the people."

- Abraham Lincoln.

58. "Now we are engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

- Abraham Lincoln.

Stonewall Jackson Civil War Quotes

Stonewall Jackson had served as a Confederate General during the Civil War. Here are some famous Civil War quotes from him.

59. "War means fighting. The business of the soldier is to fight... To move swiftly, strike vigorously, and secure all the fruits of victory is the secret of successful war."

-Stonewall Jackson.

60. "I want my army to be an army of the living God."

-Stonewall Jackson.

61. "I am more anxious than I can express that my men should be not only good soldiers of their country, but also good soldiers of the cross."

-Stonewall Jackson.

62. "Our men fought bravely, but the enemy repulsed me. Many valuable lives were lost. Our God was my shield."

-Stonewall Jackson.

63. "Duty is ours; consequences are God's."

-Stonewall Jackson.

64 ."It is painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. They do not know its horrors. I have seen enough of it to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils."

-Stonewall Jackson.

65. "The only true rule for cavalry is to follow the enemy as long as he retreats."

-Stonewall Jackson.

66. "The time for war has not yet come, but it will come, and that soon; and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard."

-Stonewall Jackson, March 1861, speech to cadets at Virginia Military Institute, quoted in 'Mighty Stonewall' by Frank E. Vandiver.

67. "My men have sometimes failed to take a position, but to defend one, never!"

-Stonewall Jackson.

Sam Houston Civil War Quotes

Sam Houston was an American soldier and Senator and a leader of the Texas Revolution in the United States. Here are some Sam Houston Civil War quotes.

68. "In the name of the Constitution of Texas, which has been trampled upon, I refuse to take oath. I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her."

-Sam Houston.

69. "My God, is it possible that all the people have gone mad? This Civil War now being inaugurated will be as horrible as his Satanic Majesty could desire."

-Sam Houston.

70. "I declare that civil war is inevitable and is near at hand... I predict the civil war which is now at hand will be stubborn and of long duration."

-Sam Houston.

71. "We view ourselves on the eve of battle. We are nerved for the conquest and must conquer or perish."

-Sam Houston.

72. "All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men."

-Sam Houston.

73. "The soldier who gropes for glory must submit himself to discipline."

-Sam Houston.

74. "Union can achieve everything when sustained by gallant hearts and correct principles, while anarchy and insubordination must fail in the achievement of every thing beneficial and glorious to mankind."

-Sam Houston.

75. "Subordination gives strength and security to an army."

-Sam Houston.

76. "He that will not submit to it when corrected and improved by the experience of ages does not deserve the proud appellation of a soldier."

-Sam Houston.

Other Famous Quotes About The Civil War

Here are a few famous Civil War quotes from people around the world.

77. "The United States needed a Civil War to unite properly."

-Umberto Eco.

78. "In the end no amount of American forces can solve the political differences that lie at the heart of somebody else's civil war."

-Barack Obama.

79. "I am often asked 'Why do Southerners still care about the Civil War?'… Because it is unique in the American experience. Defeat was total, surrender unconditional and the land still occupied."

-Tim Heaton.

80. "War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."

-William Tecumseh Sherman.

81. "The American Civil War produced carnage that has often been thought reserved for the combination of technological proficiency and inhumanity characteristic of a later time."    

-Drew Gilpin Faust.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for American Civil War quotes, then why not take a look at these  inspiring quotes about American and unity quotes for more?

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The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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