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Civil War Quotes

Quotes tagged as "civil-war" Showing 1-30 of 391
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”
General Philip Henry Sheridan

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

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

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

Clarence Darrow
“Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the 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

Mark Twain
“Each of you, for himself or herself, by himself or herself, and on his or her own responsibility, must speak. It is a solemn and weighty responsibility and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government or politician. Each must decide for himself or herself alone what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man, to decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor. It is traitorous both against yourself and your country.
Let men label you as they may, if you alone of all the nation decide one way, and that way be the right way by your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country, hold up your head for you have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Mark Twain, The Bible According to Mark Twain

Christopher Hitchens
“1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere.

2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times....

3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions.

4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred.

5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth.

It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.”
Christopher Hitchens

Karl Marx
“Labor in the white skin can never free itself as long as labor in the black skin is branded.”
Karl Marx, Das Kapital/Das kommunistische Manifest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael G. Kramer
“Cung said, “I have researched Vietnamese People fleeing to the land of the Uc da Loi! On the 26th of April 1976, the first boat carrying Vietnamese refugees arrived in Darwin. (Uc da Loi means Big Red Rat. The Vietnamese People named Australians as such because of the red kangaroo painted on the sides of Australian military vehicles. They did not know what a kangaroo was and so, they thought it was a rat. Hence the name of Uc da Loi.)

(A Gracious Enemy & After the War Volume Two)”
Michael G. Kramer

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

Ammar Habib
“When the masses are against you, when fear is on every side, and when it seems like you are standing alone, that is when you should stand the tallest. That is when you plant yourself like a mountain, and you do what your heart knows is right. Even if death will be your only reward.”
Ammar Habib, The Heart of Aleppo: A Story of the Syrian Civil War

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

Margarita Engle
“The Little War?
How can there be
a little war?

Are some deaths
smaller than others,
leaving mothers
who weep
a little less?”
Margarita Engle, The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom

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

“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

Abraham Lincoln
“The hen is the wisest of all the animal creation, because she never cackles until the egg is laid.”
Abraham Lincoln

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