Abe’s Aloha Quotes

Today is the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (this year, we celebrate President’s Day next Monday). If you take the Hawaiian view of life, his Aloha Spirit is at least 198 years young today (I believe he was born in 1809).

If I were to choose those of his quotes which speak to aloha, it would probably be these two:

“I have stepped out upon this platform that I may see you and that you may
see me, and in the arrangement I have the best of the bargain.”

—Abraham Lincoln

Source: February 16, 1861 – Remarks at Painesville, Ohio

Why this one?
When we are authentically and transparently ready to engage with each other, we share our aloha. When we are real, sincere and genuine, others do get the best of us, and they feel they have “the best of the bargain.” Even in our worst days, the so-called “ugliest truth is far, far better than the prettiest lie.”

“Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well. With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue. The latter performs a little imperfectly, looks at it in disgust, turns from it, and imagines himself exceedingly tired. The little he has done, comes to nothing, for want of finishing.”

—Abraham Lincoln

Source: September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State
Agricultural Society

Why this one?
Abraham Lincoln believed very strongly in the value of education and in having a good work ethic. With this quote, I would surmise that he also understood, as with our ho‘ohana this month, that our work must be a reflection of who we are, and that our self-worth does connect with an energetic spirit.

Hau‘oli lā hānau
Mr. Lincoln (happy birthday). On this day we celebrate your legacy of the freedom to “do well.”

Aloha; a Celebration of Who We Are.


  1. says

    Excellent! It is always a rush to encounter again such a rhetorician as Lincoln was–the ever-quotable one!
    Got me to thinking: We don’t celebrate the Confederate President’s birthday. What was his name again? His birthdate?
    Does this mean that he was inarticulate? That he wasn’t in Lincoln’s league?
    Or does this mean that we celebrate the words of the winner? And, does that mean that when we explain the characteristics of the winner that we are also offering, by implication, a recipe for others to follow if they want to be winners?
    Was this other Pres less “real, sincere and genuine”? Does this mean that leaders who are interpreted to have those personality characteristics will “win”? Is there any reliable correlation at all? Hitler was said to be mesmerizing in his public speeches. Did he fail because he was NOT “real, sincere and genuine?
    Robert E. Lee was “real, sincere and genuine.” He lost. So we don’t quote him as often. He had more to say about leadership than did Lincoln.
    Thanks for the provocation.

  2. says

    Aloha Lee, thank you for stopping by! It was wonderful to take your link and find your new blog too!
    In regards to your thoughts here, I’d venture to say that while it may appear we defer to the winner, we are actually celebrating the winning thought which Abraham Lincoln championed – freedom, and the right we all claim to have it.