[Marxism] Abraham Lincoln on War and Corporate-Enthronement

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Wed May 12 03:22:39 MDT 2004

In March this year, I posted about this Lincoln quote on PEN-L.
Kevin Phillips says the quote is cited in "Democracy At Risk
- Rescuing Main street from Wall street" by Jeff Gates, a Georgia Green
Party activist, who got it from page 40 in "The Lincoln
Encyclopedia" by Archer H. Shaw (New York: Macmillan,

Archer H. Shaw sourced the quote to p. 954 of Volume 2 of
"Abraham Lincoln: A New Portrait", by Emanuel Hertz (New York: Horace
Liveright Inc, 1931). But the quote is actually cited in Hertz's book
without providing any date, source, or other identifying
information. Caroline Thomas Harnsberger mentions it
in her book "The Lincoln Treasury" (Wilcox & Follett Co.,1950)
citing the earliest known documentation for it by
George H. Shibley in "The Money Question" (Chicago:
Stable Money Publishing Company, 1896), but she said
that "this letter, often quoted is considered by the Abraham
Lincoln Society to be spurious"

Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, who inherited most of
his father's papers, dismissed the quote as inauthentic in an
unpublished letter on March 12, 1917. He claimed he tracked
the source of the quote to a Spiritualist séance in an Iowa
country town, and claimed that the quote had supposedly
been voiced by Abraham Lincoln through a medium.
Robert stated "[B]elief in its authenticity should
therefore be held only by those who place confidence in the outgivings of
so-called Mediums at the gatherings held under their auspices".
He had no memory of any person called "Elkins"
who was a personal friend of his father. In the letter
he actually sent on 14 March, 1917, Robert Todd
just denied the authenticity of the quote
"without attempting to give the details of my examination".
The quote previously appeared in chapter 6 of Jack
London's 1908 novel The Iron Heel. The first known
use of the Lincoln quote that has been reported
dates back to 1873.

On December 15, 1931, Pennsylvania's Louise T. '
McFadden gave a speech in the House of Representatives
citing this Lincoln quote. Two days later,
however, Congressman Morton D. Hull produced a letter from H.H.B. Meyers,
director of the Legislative Reference Section of the Library of Congress,
which informed him that there was no record of any such statement by
Lincoln. John C. Nicolay and John Hay (both Lincoln's personal secretaries),
previously pronounced the quote a forgery.
Nicolay said specifically it was "a bald, unblushing forgery.
The great President never said it or wrote it, and never said or wrote
anything that by the utmost license could be distorted
to resemble it.".In 1890, Nicolay traced the origins of the quote to a
by the Caldwell Remedy Company issued on May 10, 1888.
"It's simply Lincoln's own status as a cultural exemplar that make these
spurious quotations seem credible," Rodney Davis, co-director of the Lincoln
Studies Center at Knox College in Galesburg, told Associated Press in
a report published on December 1, 2003. Illinois state historian
Thomas Schwartz had tracked down numerous other erroneous attributions
to Lincoln and other luminaries in American history.

For furher reading:

William E. Barton, The Life of Abraham Lincoln 2 vols. (Indianapolis, 1925),
II, pp. 367, 392;
Roy P. Basler, "Abe Between Quotes," Saturday Review, XXXIII (March 11,
1950): 12.
Gabor S. Boritt, "Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream". Urbana,
Richard H. Luthin, "Fakes and Frauds in Lincoln Literature," Saturday
Review, XLII (February 14, 1959):15;
Mark E. Neely, Jr., The Last, Best Hope of Earth : Abraham Lincoln and the
Promise of America (Harvard University Press, fourth printing, 1995).
Thomas F. Schwartz, "Lincoln never said that", For the People (Abraham
Lincoln Association, Vol. 1, Number 1, Spring 1999), pp. 4-6


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