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 your children may look to come here as my father's child has. It is in order that each of you may through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and 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.
President Abraham Lincoln
Speech to the 166th Ohio Regiment, Washington D.C.
August 22, 1864