The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me. If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly and alone, and hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors. Here, without contemplating consequences, before high heaven and in the face of the world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty, and my love, And who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt the oath that I take? Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if, after all, we shall fail, bit it so. We still shall have the proud consolation of saying to our consciences, and to the departed share of our country’s freedom, that the cause approved of our judgement, and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending.
– Abraham Lincoln, December, 1839
I’ve been reading Vol. 1 of The Works of Abraham Lincoln (1903) and happened upon the above passage from a speech Lincoln delivered on the floor of the Illinois Legislature long before the events that defined his memory had begun. As the pool of political contenders deepens, I can’t help but try to imagine these words (or at least this sentiment) coming from their mouths.