A retroactive soundbite of Abraham Lincoln's. It is probably his most famous utterance after the Gettysburg Address. This line is often quoted without attribution, or with only an understanding that it was spoken by President Lincoln. The actual context is that it was part of Lincoln's inaugural speech. Talk about inheriting a bad situation. Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina was about to be bombarded by the renegade forces of the Confederacy. Lincoln's immediate concern was holding the Union together - the "Peculiar Institution", slavery, could be dealt with in time. At least that was his belief. The section in question runs like this:

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, 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...In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I have the most solemn one to 'preserve, protect and defend' it.

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