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Contents > Author > Abraham Lincoln > Speech to the 166th Ohio Regiment 1809- 1865
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Abraham Lincoln
Speech to the 166th Ohio Regiment
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I suppose you are going home to see your families and friends.
For the service you have done in this great struggle in which
we are engaged I present you sincere thanks for myself and
the country. I almost always feel inclined, when I happen to
say anything to soldiers, to impress upon them in a few brief
remarks the importance of success in this contest. It is not
merely for to-day, but for all time to come that we should
perpetuate for our children's children this great and free
government, which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you
to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours. I
happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am
a living witness that any one of your children may look to
come here as my father's child has. It is in order that each
of you may have through this free government which we have
enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry,
enterprise and intelligence; that you may all have equal
privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human
aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained,
that we may not lose our birthright-- not only for one, but for
two or three years. The nation is worth fighting for, to
secure such an inestimable jewel.

(Washington, D.C., August 22, 1864)
 

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