I like to believe that for Lincoln . . . it was a matter of maintaining within himself the balance between two contradictory ideas — that we must talk and reach for common understandings, precisely because all of us are imperfect and can never act with the certainty that God is on our side; and yet at times we must act nonetheless, as if we are certain, protected from error only by providence.
The best I can do in the face of our history is remind myself that it has not always been the pragmatist, the voice of reason, or the force of compromise, that has created the conditions for liberty. The hard, cold facts remind me that it was . . . men like Frederick Douglass who recognized that power would concede nothing without a fight.
— Barack Obama