Quotation by Abraham Lincoln

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), U.S. president. letter, Aug. 11, 1862 to newspaper editor Horace Greeley. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 5, ed. Roy P. Basler (1953).

However, Lincoln added, "I have here stated my purpose according to my views of official duty and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free."
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