Civil War Quotes

Quotes tagged as "civil-war" (showing 1-30 of 271)
Abraham Lincoln
“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia...could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”
Abraham Lincoln

Mark Millar
“Guess that's thirty-one pieces of silver you've got now, huh? Sleep well, Judas.”
Mark Millar, Civil War: A Marvel Comics Event

Philip Henry Sheridan
“If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell”
Philip Henry Sheridan

Nathan Bedford Forrest
“War means fighting, and fighting means killing.”
Nathan Bedford Forrest

Clarence Darrow
“Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the [Civil] war. I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable -- which I need not discuss today -- it changed the world. For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street. Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed?

We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it -- if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy -- what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.”
Clarence Darrow, Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom

Stephen Crane
“It was not well to drive men into final corners; at those moments they could all develop teeth and claws.”
Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

Abraham Lincoln
“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
--as quoted in THE RIVER OF WINGED DREAMS”
Abraham Lincoln

Montesquieu
“I can assure you that no kingdom has ever had as many civil wars as the kingdom of Christ.”
Montesquieu, Persian Letters

Margaret Mitchell
“She couldn't survey the wreck of the world with an air of casual unconcern.”
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Ishmael Beah
“Some people tried to hurt us to protect themselves, their family and communities...This was one of the consequences of civil war. People stopped trusting each other, and every stranger became an enemy. Even people who knew you became extremely careful about how they related or spoke to you.”
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Louisa May Alcott
“No, dear, but speaking of Father reminded me how much I miss him, how much I owe him, and how faithfully I should watch and work to keep his little daughters safe and good for him.

Yet you told him to go, Mother, and didn’t cry when he went, and never complain now, or seem as if you needed any help, said Jo, wondering.

I gave my best to the country I love, and kept my tears till he was gone. Why should I complain, when we both have merely done our duty and will surely be the happier for it in the end? If I don’t seem to need help, it is because I have a better friend, even than Father, to comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but my become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Ernest Hemingway
“Are you a communist?"
"No I am an anti-fascist"
"For a long time?"
"Since I have understood fascism.”
Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Abraham Lincoln
“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. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.”
Abraham Lincoln

Margaret Mitchell
“They knew that love snatched in the face of danger and death was doubly sweet for the strange excitement that went with it.”
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Walt Whitman
“poor boy! I never knew you, Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you”
Walt Whitman, Drum Taps

Abraham Lincoln
“The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both *may* be, and one *must* be, wrong. God cannot be *for* and *against* the same thing at the same time. 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 adaption to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true - that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By His mere great power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either *saved* or *destroyed* the Union without human contest. Yet the contest began, And, having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.”
Abraham Lincoln

Wilhelm Reich
“For twenty-five years I've been speaking and writing in defense of your right to happiness in this world, condemning your inability to take what is your due, to secure what you won in bloody battles on the barricades of Paris and Vienna, in the American Civil War, in the Russian Revolution. Your Paris ended with Petain and Laval, your Vienna with Hitler, your Russia with Stalin, and your America may well end in the rule of the Ku Klux Klan! You've been more successful in winning your freedom than in securing it for yourself and others. This I knew long ago. What I did not understand was why time and again, after fighting your way out of a swamp, you sank into a worse one. Then groping and cautiously looking about me, I gradually found out what has enslaved you: YOUR SLAVE DRIVER IS YOU YOURSELF. No one is to blame for your slavery but you yourself. No one else, I say!”
Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man!

Michael Shaara
“If men were equal in America, all these Poles and English and Czechs and blacks, then they were equal everywhere, and there was really no such thing as foreigner; there were only free men and slaves.”
Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels

Gwenn Wright
“Whatever happened in those more than one hundred years, from the time my great-great-great grandfather studied law to the time when my own father took his bar exam in 1989, I may never know. Perhaps it was just greed and the good, old-fashion corruption that comes with power. The Drexlers have moved from the fight for human rights to the fight for corporations and wealthy individuals. We file their taxes, write their contracts, clean up their messes. As I see it, we have become little more than glorified Public Relations reps”
Gwenn Wright, The BlueStocking Girl

Margaret Mitchell
“Melanie is the gentlest of dreams and a part of my dreaming. And if the war had not come I would have lived out my life, happily buried at Twelve Oaks, contentedly watching life go by and never being a part of it. But when the war came, life as it really is thrust itself against me. The first time I went into action—it was at Bull Run, you remember—I saw my boyhood friends blown to bits and heard dying horses scream and learned the sickeningly horrible feeling of seeing men crumple up and spit blood when I shot them. But those weren't the worst things about the war, Scarlett. The worst thing about the war was the people I had to live with.

I had sheltered myself from people all my life, I had carefully selected my few friends. But the war taught me I had created a world of my own with dream people in it. It taught me what people really are, but it didn't teach me how to live with them. And I'm afraid I'll never learn. Now, I know that in order to support my wife and child, I will have to make my way among a world of people with whom I have nothing in common.”
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Nancy B. Brewer
“(The golden goose has died, my prince turned into a frog, the Kingdom is lost, everyone has turned into stone and I am locked in the tower)”
Nancy B. Brewer, Beyond Sandy Ridge

William Faulkner
“With the gun which was too big for him, the breech-loader which did not even belong to him but to Major de Spain and which he had fired only once, at a stump on the first day to learn the recoil and how to reload it with the paper shells, he stood against a big gum tree beside a little bayou whose black still water crept without motion out of a cane-brake, across a small clearing and into the cane again, where, invisible, a bird, the big woodpecker called Lord-to-God by negroes, clattered at a dead trunk. It was a stand like any other stand, dissimilar only in incidentals to the one where he had stood each morning for two weeks; a territory new to him yet no less familiar than that other one which after two weeks he had come to believe he knew a little--the same solitude, the same loneliness through which frail and timorous man had merely passed without altering it, leaving no mark nor scar, which looked exactly as it must have looked when the first ancestor of Sam fathers' Chickasaw predecessors crept into it and looked about him, club or stone axe or bone arrow drawn and ready, different only because, squatting at the edge of the kitchen, he had smelled the dogs huddled and cringing beneath it and saw the raked ear and side of the bitch that, as Sam had said, had to be brave once in order to keep on calling herself a dog, and saw yesterday in the earth beside the gutted log, the print of the living foot. He heard no dogs at all. He never did certainly hear them. He only heard the drumming of the woodpecker stop short off, and knew that the bear was looking at him. he did not move, holding the useless gun which he knew now he would never fire at it, now or ever, tasting in his saliva that taint of brass which he had smelled in the huddled dogs when he peered under the kitchen.”
William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses

“At least 600,000 men died in the Civil War. Major battles numbered the dead in the thousands; even minor skirmishes killed hundreds...Then why study the death of thirteen men?... Mass death numbs the mind and heart as it numbers its vast toll. Relief from the horror is less possible when we watch old Joe Woods and thirteen-year-old David Shelton plead for life - and then die.”
Phillip Shaw Pauadan, Victims: A True Story Of The Civil War

George Packer
“This isn't to deny that there were fierce arguments, at the time and ever since, about the causes and goals of both the Civil War and the Second World War. But 1861 and 1941 each created a common national narrative (which happened to be the victors' narrative): both wars were about the country's survival and the expansion of the freedoms on which it was founded. Nothing like this consensus has formed around September 11th.... Indeed, the decade since the attacks has destroyed the very possibility of a common national narrative in this country.”
George Packer

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“When it comes to the Civil War, all of our popular understanding, our popular history and culture, our great films, the subtext of our arguments are in defiance of its painful truths. It is not a mistake that Gone with the Wind is one of the most read works of American literature or that The Birth of a Nation is the most revered touchstone of all American film. Both emerge from a need for palliatives and painkillers, an escape from the truth of those five short years in which 750,000 American soldiers were killed, more than all American soldiers killed in all other American wars combined, in a war declared for the cause of expanding "African slavery." That war was inaugurated not reluctantly, but lustily, by men who believed property in humans to be the cornerstone of civilization, to be an edict of God, and so delivered their own children to his maw. And when that war was done, the now-defeated God lived on, honored through the human sacrifice of lynching and racist pogroms. The history breaks the myth. And so the history is ignored, and fictions are weaved into our art and politics that dress villainy in martyrdom and transform banditry into chivalry, and so strong are these fictions that their emblem, the stars and bars, darkens front porches and state capitol buildings across the land to this day.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

Marc Guggenheim
“I am not going to kill you. First I'm going to beat on you for a few hours.
Then I might move on to the cutting.”
Marc Guggenheim

“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

Aaron A.A. Smith
“No, I will not join your Civil War reenactment troupe.”
Aaron A.A. Smith, Siren's Lament and Other Stories

“Racial hatred in America still exists but never was it anything like the time immediately after the Civil War. The western history of our nation would not be complete without the story of former slaves that helped develop the unique character of the West.”
William Silverman

Robert E.      Lee
“Why, sir, in the beginning we appointed all our worst generals to command the armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers. As you know, I have planned some campaigns and quite a number of battles. I have given the work all the care and thought I could, and sometimes, when my plans were completed, as far as I could see, they seemed to be perfect. But when I have fought them through, I have discovered defects and occasionally wondered I did not see some of the defects in advance. When it was all over, I found by reading a newspaper that these best editor generals saw all the defects plainly from the start. Unfortunately, they did not communicate their knowledge to me until it was too late.” Then, after a pause, he added, with a beautiful, grave expression I can never forget: “I have no ambition but to serve the Confederacy, and do all I can to win our independence. I an willing to serve in any capacity to which the authorities may assign me. I have done the best I could in the field, and have not succeeded as I could wish. I am willing to yield my place to these best generals, and I will do my best for the cause in editing a newspaper.”

In the same strain he once remarked to one of his generals: “Even as poor a soldier as I am can generally discover mistakes after it is all over. But if I could only induce these wise gentlemen who see them so clearly beforehand to communicate with me in advance, instead of waiting until the evil has come upon us, to let me know that they knew all the time, it would be far better for my reputation, and (what is of more consequence) far better for the cause.”
Robert E. Lee

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