Wisdom for our time, from Honest Abe’s time

Abraham-Lincoln

Of the more than 40 presidents to occupy the White House, Abraham Lincoln was the only one whose presence was essential to the nation’s future.* The Great Cataclysm that occurred under his leadership had been building for decades and had become inevitable; had it occurred under those who came before him, or those who came after him, the Union as we know it would not have survived.

With that in mind, I’ve collected some pearls of wisdom from Honest Abe that hold particular relevance for our own times and challenges:

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves — in their separate, and individual capacities.”

“There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.”

“I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him.”

“I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else”

—————————

*And yes, I confess that is artfully worded. We did have one other essential president, George Washington. Like Lincoln, he was uniquely qualified for the time in which he served.

But you see, Washington never lived in the White House.

– Jay Bookman

553 comments Add your comment

Logical Dude

February 18th, 2013
2:28 pm

“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.”

Tom Middleton

February 18th, 2013
2:29 pm

And Washington didn’t have political parties, either, at least not till he saw their early beginnings during his second term. Needless to say he grew deeply concerned, and we’ve been suffering like hell ever since!

josef

February 18th, 2013
2:35 pm

IMAM

Oh, dear…and that’s all I got to say about that (ha!) :-)

So, what IS today in President’s Day history, other than a furlough day for those charged with out nation’s future?

Patrick

February 18th, 2013
2:35 pm

All that liberal claptrap from Lincoln! (just to get that out of the way).

Doggone/GA

February 18th, 2013
2:35 pm

“And Washington didn’t have political parties”

You’re welcome to you delusions. Of course there were political parties, when HAVEN’T there been?

Granny Godzilla

February 18th, 2013
2:36 pm

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

Abraham Lincoln

.
.
.
.
.
Oh the irony!

Tom Middleton

February 18th, 2013
2:39 pm

Doggone/GA

We’re not talking about the kind of parties where losers like you try to get laid. :)
Google it, Doggie…

Doggone/GA

February 18th, 2013
2:40 pm

“We’re not talking about the kind of parties where losers like you try to get laid”

And what makes you think *I* am?

Kamchak ~ Thug from the Steppes

February 18th, 2013
2:40 pm

So, what IS today in President’s Day history, other than a furlough day for those charged with out nation’s future?

Yoko Ono’s birthday

getalife

February 18th, 2013
2:41 pm

Facts do matter and when a President acts on what the majority wants, it does not get any better than that.

Jay

February 18th, 2013
2:41 pm

Don’t hold back, Josef:

Fishin’s no fun if’n the fish ain’t bitin’!

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
2:42 pm

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. ~Abraham Lincoln

Abe would never have supported this right wing war against the working man…

Logical Dude

February 18th, 2013
2:43 pm

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except Negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.” When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

Tom Middleton

February 18th, 2013
2:45 pm

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so his place will be proud of him.” Abraham Lincoln

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
2:45 pm

…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth. ~Abraham Lincoln

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
2:47 pm

Abraham Lincoln did not seek unity with Stephen A. Douglas. He made it clear that this Nation could not continue to exist half slave and half free. ~Harry S. Truman

MiltonMan

February 18th, 2013
2:48 pm

Cherry picking Lincoln’s quotes??? Here are some of mine:

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.

Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.

Erwin's cat

February 18th, 2013
2:49 pm

I hear CT has asked Spielberg to re-shoot some scenes that cast CT reps in an opposite light on the slavery issue than what really happened…the movie shows CT law makers voting against abolitionism of slavery rather than for it

Tom Middleton

February 18th, 2013
2:50 pm

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” -Abraham Lincoln

“I’ll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours.” -Bob Dylan

barking frog

February 18th, 2013
2:52 pm

Lincoln was a lawyer, Cheney would have shot him in the face.

Logical Dude

February 18th, 2013
2:54 pm

MiltonMan: Cherry picking Lincoln’s quotes???

Well, if we tried including them all, we’d probably get some lawyer up the AJC’s butt because of some stupid copyright issue. (okay okay, not really)

Dharma Bum

February 18th, 2013
2:55 pm

Some interesting thoughts here…

http://lightbox.time.com/2013/02/17/bringing-color-to-presidents-past/?hpt=hp_t2#1

“No one,” Kennedy told historian David Herbert Donald early in 1962, “has a right to grade a President — not even poor James Buchanan — who has not sat in his chair, examined the mail and information that came across his desk, and learned why he made decisions.”

josef

February 18th, 2013
2:58 pm

IMAM

Yeah, but it’s more frustrating for the fisherman when they don’t bite!

“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”

“Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.” :-)

“Only Burnside could manage such a coup to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”

josef

February 18th, 2013
3:00 pm

ERWIN’S

That one HAS been funny!

moonbat betty

February 18th, 2013
3:00 pm

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Robert Lee - Cogito ergo zoom

February 18th, 2013
3:01 pm

My personal favorite …..When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.
Abraham Lincoln

getalife

February 18th, 2013
3:05 pm

“Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came …. Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.”
–From the March 4, 1865 Inaugural Address

Logical Dude

February 18th, 2013
3:07 pm

“The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity.”

josef

February 18th, 2013
3:10 pm

Oh, and today in Presidential history? Jefferson Davis, tied for second place in my order of the worst of the Presidents, took the oath of office in Montgomery.

“Neither current events nor history show that the majority rule, or ever did rule.”

–Jefferson Davis

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
3:12 pm

Whereas, on the twenty second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

GT

February 18th, 2013
3:13 pm

“if slavery is a good, it is a good that no one has ever chosen for himself”

Regnad Kcin

February 18th, 2013
3:15 pm

“I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant and warm-blooded to fall into this vice.”

Regnad Kcin

February 18th, 2013
3:18 pm

“The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost every thing, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.”

Fred ™

February 18th, 2013
3:18 pm

He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.

Abraham Lincoln

Tom Middleton

February 18th, 2013
3:19 pm

josef

There’s a bronze star on the capital steps in Montgomery to indicate where Davis stood. while taking the oath. Fortunately, and what saves Montgomery from this infamy, is that it’s very close to one of Hank Williams’ guitars.

Logical Dude

February 18th, 2013
3:21 pm

“The old general rule was that educated people did not perform manual labor. They managed to eat their bread, leaving the toil of producing it to the uneducated. This was not an insupportable evil to the working bees, so long as the class of drones remained very small. But now, especially in these free States, nearly all are educated–quite too nearly all, to leave the labor of the uneducated, in any wise adequate to the support of the whole. It follows from this that henceforth educated people must labor. Otherwise, education itself would become a positive and intolerable evil. No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive.”

Road Scholar

February 18th, 2013
3:21 pm

Had a three week upper management training seminar once, and the only prerequisite was to read a book about Lincoln. Fascinating! The American public knows so little about this great man!

Happy President’s day!

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
3:21 pm

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” ~Abraham Lincoln

getalife

February 18th, 2013
3:22 pm

“I don’t know what to do or where to turn in this taxation matter. Somewhere there must be a book that tells all about it, where I could go to straighten it out in my mind. But I don’t know where the book is, and maybe I couldn’t read it if I found it.”
Warren G. Harding

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
3:23 pm

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Erwin's cat

February 18th, 2013
3:23 pm

“I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it.”

Georgia on my mind...

February 18th, 2013
3:24 pm

Abraham Lincoln (from the Lincoln-Douglas debates, 1858)

That is the real issue that will continue in this country when those poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles, right and wrong, throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time. The one is the common right of humanity, the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says “you toil and work and earn bread and I’ll eat it.”

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
3:25 pm

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. ~Abraham Lincoln

Georgia on my mind...

February 18th, 2013
3:25 pm

The two principles were:

Working and Taking.

Road Scholar

February 18th, 2013
3:26 pm

JamVet: I hope the proclamation wasn’t an Executive Order, or conservative heads will melt.

saywhat?

February 18th, 2013
3:27 pm

Happy President’s Day everybody, or as Mitt Romney calls it, Monday.

Union

February 18th, 2013
3:34 pm

saywhat?
February 18th, 2013
3:27 pm

Happy President’s Day everybody, or as Mitt Romney calls it, Monday.

now thats funny… even though its not really presidents day.. unless they changed it and didnt tell us..

TaxPayer

February 18th, 2013
3:34 pm

If African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.
– Abraham Lincoln’s great grandson’s second cousin’s barber’s uncle’s son of a preacher man. Yes he was. He was. Ooooh… yes he was.

getalife

February 18th, 2013
3:35 pm

“Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties.” — w discussing the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson in 2003, as quoted by Robertson.

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
3:36 pm

Road Scholar you want to see a real hoot and holler. Next door Dave refers to him as one of the worst Federalist supremacists ever elected to office.

And shonuff.

That Federalist really did rain on their little “states rights” slavery parade, huh?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8roidAxzNzU

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
3:36 pm

Happy President’s Day everybody, or as Mitt Romney calls it, Monday.

That really is a good one!

Stevie Ray

February 18th, 2013
3:39 pm

JAY

“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves — in their separate, and individual capacities.”

I heard a blip of BO’s speak today in Springfield. Seems that guy never stops talking..

What do you suppose he meant by can’t do or can’t do so well? Did you think he envisioned the job of government would encompass all the entitlements of today…and the accompanied expense? Would he view this level of permanent “safety nets’ as entitlements or enablers?

I do think it would be good practice for our current and future occupants of the WH to select a mixed party cabinet…

getalife

February 18th, 2013
3:39 pm

Jam,

Aesop is Andy over there.

I thought he got banned.

Matti

February 18th, 2013
3:39 pm

Apparently, Lincoln quotes are like Bible verses: Good for cherry picking the ones you like.

First President of the U.S. (

February 18th, 2013
3:41 pm

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence- it is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

Logical Dude

February 18th, 2013
3:41 pm

Stevie Ray: “Seems that guy never stops talking..”

So, he is criticized for “doing nothing” and also criticized for doing something?

Sheesh, make up your mind! :)

josef

February 18th, 2013
3:42 pm

LOGICAL
@ 3:41

:-)

getalife

February 18th, 2013
3:44 pm

Logical Dude,

They want it both ways.

Bilogical, if you will.

Erwin's cat

February 18th, 2013
3:44 pm

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”

alex

February 18th, 2013
3:46 pm

@ Matti; the mind-numbing omnipotence of the Google universe….

AmericaShrugged

February 18th, 2013
3:47 pm

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Logical Dude

February 18th, 2013
3:47 pm

Alex, (and others who already did it)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=abe+lincoln+quotes

getalife

February 18th, 2013
3:47 pm

“The minds of our cons should be studied by scientists like concussions” getalife

John F. Kennedy - January 20, 1961

February 18th, 2013
3:49 pm

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

Jay

February 18th, 2013
3:50 pm

“I do think it would be good practice for our current and future occupants of the WH to select a mixed party cabinet…”

Yeah, tell it to Chuck Hagel.

Doggone/GA

February 18th, 2013
3:51 pm

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle

That isn’t completely true. I can think of LOTS of things that hustling won’t get you…but waiting will.

getalife

February 18th, 2013
3:51 pm

I am part of the majority so our President acted:

“Obama Plans Decade-Long Effort to Map Human Brain…” drudgey.

Jay

February 18th, 2013
3:52 pm

“Next door Dave refers to him as one of the worst Federalist supremacists ever elected to office.

You forgot to refer to him by his full title, “Self-Announced Constitutional Expert Dave …”

Doggone/GA

February 18th, 2013
3:52 pm

“Obama Plans Decade-Long Effort to Map Human Brain”

Gotta keep himself busy!

TR

February 18th, 2013
3:54 pm

“presence was essential…”. Humph, I would have been deeelighted to lead the Union armies into battle and I would have been right in front of those columns of brave men. Of course my mother, a southerner would have not favored it, and my Dad shirked his duties..NOT me….. “would have not survived”….sentimentalist popycock,Jay…….

barking frog

February 18th, 2013
3:54 pm

John Ashcroft comparing G.W. Bush to Lincoln before
the Judiciary Committee
http://www.justice.gov/archive/ag/testimony/2002/072502agtestimony.htm

AmericaShrugged

February 18th, 2013
3:55 pm

“The worst thing you can do for anyone you care about is anything that they can do on their own.”
― Abraham Lincoln

getalife

February 18th, 2013
3:56 pm

“Gotta keep himself busy!”

They should scan the brain of a con listening to President Obama.

I am pretty sure there is a defect.

josef

February 18th, 2013
3:58 pm

Washington is the capital of the United States of America. Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska. Any questions?

AmericaShrugged

February 18th, 2013
3:59 pm

Oxymoron of the day. Dog used “I” and “think” in the same sentence!

Doggone/GA

February 18th, 2013
4:00 pm

“Any questions?”

Only a comment: it would have been a bit difficult to name the US capital after a President who hadn’t even been born yet.

TBS

February 18th, 2013
4:00 pm

Jay and Jam

Get it right. It is “I’m a Constitutionalist. You do not have the intelligence for me to explain what the means”.

Hahahahahah

Doggone/GA

February 18th, 2013
4:00 pm

“Oxymoron of the day. Dog used “I” and “think” in the same sentence!”

So did you

Doggone/GA

February 18th, 2013
4:01 pm

And now I’m out for a while

Mama Says

February 18th, 2013
4:02 pm

The oddity of quotes and using them against others, is that they are usually contrived during a period in history in which all who read them firmly grasp them as their ally, in the fight for the morals in which they live.

Mama Says, 2013

You can use this Jay, it sums up the practice of quoting during a debate.

TBS

February 18th, 2013
4:03 pm

And never forget that he “accepts your unconditional surrender”….

Best clown on any blog, anywhere…

josef

February 18th, 2013
4:03 pm

Erwin's cat

February 18th, 2013
4:03 pm

Washington is the capital of the United States of America. Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska. Any questions?

and Olympia is the capital of Washington

Lt Dan

February 18th, 2013
4:03 pm

Interesting fact: Lincoln’s son Robert was present at the death’s of three U.S. Presidents, all assassinated: his father, James Garfield (Robert was apponted to Garfield’s cabinet), and William McKinley (Robert was invited as a guest of the President). After McKinley’s death, Robert pretty much shunned himself from public appearances.

getalife

February 18th, 2013
4:04 pm

josef

February 18th, 2013
4:06 pm

Lt Dan

I don’t think I’d've invited him to 1600 were I the President…that boy was bad juju!

JamVet

February 18th, 2013
4:07 pm

Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska. Any questions?

No. The latter is named after the former!

First President of the U.S., we’re quoting Abraham Lincoln, not Glenn Beck!

Jay at 3:52, LOL!

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

February 18th, 2013
4:08 pm

Well, call the papers! For once I agree with josef about Lincoln.

Only my reasons are different. I think if Lincoln had of kept his federal troops up there and left us Southren states alone we wouldn’t have half of the problems we have today. You wouldn’t need to pay somebody to do some work for you and we wouldn’t have much guvmint because we’d be in national agreement that guvmint is bad, bad, bad. We wouldn’t even need to Succeed from the union. Who knows, I might be living in a mansion on a plantation instead of this kinda tiny trailer. Us guys would be setting the rules and we wouldn’t have these pushy females to deal with.

It’s all Lincoln’s fault—except for the problems Obama brung us.

josef

February 18th, 2013
4:09 pm

indigo

February 18th, 2013
4:10 pm

If Lincoln could see how far American politics has sunk into the outhouse today, he would weep bitter tears.

Stevie Ray

February 18th, 2013
4:10 pm

LOGICAL DUDE ET AL

I guess if you call giving speeches getting something accomplished he’s doing a ton….

Just seems like he spends a lot of time giving speeches…..last I heard he has given more speeches than the number of days in office. He has also apparently given the fewest press conferences than any on record.

Why do you suppose he avoids press conferences?

Stevie Ray

February 18th, 2013
4:13 pm

JAY

HAGEL….apparently the GOP has disowned him to a large degree. Therefore he counts not.

Those bad old Republicans…they do everything wrong eh Jay? Thank god we have the DEMS who apparently do everything right eh?

getalife

February 18th, 2013
4:14 pm

stevie,

Why do you suppose you are obsessed with attacking him?

Lt Dan

February 18th, 2013
4:14 pm

Josef: you really want to read of bad luck, from some reading I did, it appears all of the people who were around Lincoln on the evening of his assissination had something bad happen to them. The officer who was with Linocoln in his box seat later went insane and killed his wife; the doctor who attended Lincoln I think also later commintted suicide.

What is typical of our government was that it took a successful assissination for them to decide on creating the Secret Service. There was an attempt on Andrew Jackson, but the man’s pistol mis-fired and Jackson beat him with his walking cane.

Theodore Roosevelt was shot before giving a speach, but gave the speech anyway and was later given medical treatment. I think the bullet was slowed by passing through his clothing, papers, and a small metal case of some kind.

TBS

February 18th, 2013
4:15 pm

Stevie

I would say the lack of press conferences is worthy of mentioning, but it accomplishes how much more than speeches?

Wilbur

February 18th, 2013
4:15 pm

Democrat lawmakers in Washington state are proposing an annual door to door inspection of gun owners’ homes by the police.
I bet Abe would not have thought that a good idea.

Erwin's cat

February 18th, 2013
4:16 pm

he would weep bitter tears. If Lincoln could see how far American politics has sunk into the outhouse today,

I’d have to think he witnessed worse…civil war is hardly polite discourse

Christian Conservative

February 18th, 2013
4:17 pm

Why did you leave out Reagan Jay? He is certainly the greatest President in recent history….

Jefferson

February 18th, 2013
4:19 pm

The party of Lincoln, what happened ?

josef

February 18th, 2013
4:19 pm

Lt DAN

I had read some of that…