• Inside the Lincoln Sitting Room

    Lincoln Home

    National Historic Site Illinois

America's Strength

September 11, 1858: From a Speech at Edwardsville, Illinois

What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not the reliance against the resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where.

Back to Quotes from Speeches and Letters

Back to History and Culture

Did You Know?

Potrait of Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass said Lincoln was "the first great man that I talked with in the United States freely, who in no single instance reminded me of the difference between himself and myself, of the difference of color." Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois