Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

No...Not Lincoln!

I am not sure which one of our two best-known presidents are abused and misquoted more often, Lincoln or Washington. I willing to bet that it is pretty close. Besides the quotes attributed to them that never occurred, there are the ones that are taken out of context and others that simply got history wrong. So let's take a look.

The third-party crowd has been floating this one around. Lord knows, being perfect, I've never got anything wrong and what makes this meme worse is how it got started. Bill Moyers, who is well known as a political commentator and a pretty good journalist, announced that Lincoln was a third-party candidate back in 2012 . Lincoln wasn't. He was a member of a relatively new political party. The Republican party was about six years old. The Whig party had pretty much imploded over slavery and disbanded. Those in favor of slavery went to the Democrats and those opposed joined the fledgling Republicans. The Republicans had run a presidential candidate, John Fremont in 1856. He came in second. Not only did Lincoln win in 1860, but so did the Republicans in 1856 actually making them the other party.  In 1856, Republicans won 15 of 62 seats in the Senate and 90 out of 237 seats in the House. That makes them a major player. If there was a third party in 1856 it was the short-lived Know-Nothing Party which held 14 seats in 1856. Sorry, but being the young party does not make a third party in 1860. History....

And then there is the quote out of context. Yes, Lincoln did say this, sort of. What is not included is what he said before this:

"We must not disturb slavery in the states where it exists, because the Constitution, and the peace of the country both forbid us — We must not withhold an efficient fugitive slave law, because the constitution demands it —

But we must, by a national policy, prevent the spread of slavery into new territories, or free states, because the constitution does not forbid us, and the general welfare does demand such prevention — We must prevent the revival of the African slave trade, because the constitution does not forbid us, and the general welfare does require the prevention — We must prevent these things being done, by either congresses or courts — The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it —"

Sort of changes the entire complexion of the above meme, huh? He is talking about changing public policy, not a revolutionary over-throw. 

Before you post that quote from a founding father or a great leader, do just a tiny bit of research.  I found the information in just a couple of minutes on Google. 

Let me help. Quotes that Lincoln did not say.