Abraham Lincoln by Woodrow Wilson

We say that Lincoln was honest; men used to call him “Honest Abe”. But honesty is not a quality. Honesty is the manifestation of character. Lincoln was honest because there was nothing small or petty about him, and only smallness or pettiness in a nature can produce dishonesty. Such honesty is a quality of largeness. It is that openness of nature which will not condescend to subterfuge, which is too big to conceal itself. Little men run to cover and deceive you. Big men cannot and will not run to cover, and do not deceive you. Of course, Lincoln was honest. But that was not a peculiar characteristic of him; that is a general description of him. He was not small or mean, and his honesty was not produced by any calculation, but was the genial expression of the great nature that was behind it.

From Selected Literary and Political Papers and Addresses of Woodrow Wilson

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