45+ Best Civil War Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Profoundly inspirational civil war quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

Famous Civil War Quotes

We’ll fight them, sir, ’til hell freezes over, and then, sir, we will fight them on the ice. Shelby Foote

To a mankind that recognizes the equality of man everywhere, every war becomes a civil war. Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy

Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it. Abraham Lincoln

Still, to use a coarse, but an expressive figure, broken eggs can not be mended. I have issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and I can not retract it. Abraham Lincoln

I cannot consent to place in the control of others one who cannot control himself. Robert E. Lee

I have been up to see the Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco while my army is starving. Robert E. Lee

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.

It doesn’t matter what the press says. It doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. It doesnn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. Republics are founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe in. no matter the odds or consequences.

When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move. Your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the whole world: No, you move. Mark Twain

I would rather die a thousand deaths than surrender. Robert E. Lee

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

Northern politicians will not appreciate the determination and pluck of the South, and Southern politicians do not appreciate the numbers, resources and patient perseverance of the North. Both sides forget that we are all Americans. I foresee that our country will pass through a terrible ordeal, a necessary expiation, perhaps, for our national sins. Robert E. Lee

You have no idea what a horrible sight a field of battle is. Robert E. Lee

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!

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world. Robert E. Lee

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

Much is being said about peace; and no man desires peace more ardently than I. Still I am yet unprepared to give up the Union for a peace, which, so achieved, could not be of much duration. Abraham Lincoln

I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think and feel. And yet I have never understood that the presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. Abraham Lincoln

And now, beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance, go forward and give us victories. Abraham Lincoln

War at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible. Abraham Lincoln

Civil wars leave nothing but tombs. Alphonse De Lamartine

The civil war which has so long prevailed between Spain and the Provinces in South America still continues, without any prospect of its speedy termination. James Monroe

With one terrible exception, the Civil War, law and the Constitution have kept America whole and free. Anthony Lewis

The Civil War has a tremendous moral and emotional force. Donald McCaig

You know, the thing that struck me about Civil War music was how bloody it was; it was full of hatred. There was incredible vitriol in it. T Bone Burnett

In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins. Ulysses S. Grant

War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over. William Tecumseh Sherman

Causes of Civil War are also, that the Wealth of the Nation is in too few mens hands, and that no certain means are provided to keep all men from a necessity either to beg, or steal, or be Souldiers. William Petty

Away with the idea of getting independence first, and looking for liberty afterwards… Our liberties, once lost, may be lost forever. Alexander H Stephens

Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southerner apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance. Jefferson Davis

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. Abraham Lincoln

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

There is no clear or meaningful difference between insurgency and civil war, or between national terrorism and civil war for that matter. Anthony H. Cordesman

That in a civil war there is continuous fighting, based on grievences that are forever changing. Nuruddin Farah

The American Civil War produced carnage that has often been thought reserved for the combination of technological proficiency and inhumanity characteristic of a later time. Drew Gilpin Faust

All wars are civil wars because all men are brothers… Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born. Francois Fenelon

I can assure you that no kingdom has ever had as many civil wars as the kingdom of Christ. Montesquieu

A Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. Robert E. Lee

The Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things… It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads. Shelby Foote

I am quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think vainly, flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done. John Brown

It’s just like a liberal, they import slaves, they hold slaves, they fight for slavery, they go to war in a civil war to defend slavery. They then install legal discrimination against blacks for a hundred years. Ann Coulter

Few Americans born after the Civil War know much about war. Real war. War that seeks you out. War that arrives on your doorstep – not once in a blue moon, but once a month or a week or a day. Nick Turse

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