Our popular government has often been called an experiment. Two points in it our people have already settled -- the successful establishing and the successful administering of it. One still remains -- its successful maintenance against a formidable internal attempt to overthrow it. It is now for them to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an election can also suppress a rebellion; that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets; and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal back to bullets. . . . Such will be a great lesson of peace: teaching men that what they cannot take by election, neither can they take it by war; teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war.
Tags: Abraham Lincoln, government, politics, election