Hogan's Alley

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Reason Apparently Guided Al To False Lincoln Quote

A little research reported in the Washington Post demonstrates that a quote used by Al Gore in his new book, "The Assault On Reason", is a fiction. The quote, alleged to by Pres. Abe Lincoln, seems tailor made for the "progressives" of our age. In fact it seems too good to be true, casting The Great Emancipator as the Nostradamus of the 19th century.

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

The all too perfect sound of this quote, which Al proceeds to declare speaks perfectly of our own Bushian times, also contains a false ring for those of us who have read much of Lincoln's writings. In fact we learn that the quote, which has been debunked by historians and denied by Lincoln's former secretaries and his son Robert. "The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln", now searchable via the internet, also fails to produce this quote.

Gore isn't the first politician to claim a kinship with Lincoln. Reagan also misquoted the man to fit his view of the world. In fact, one could spit in a room full of politicians of all political stripes and be sure of hitting one who claims Lincoln as his or her philosophical or temperamental hero. It is a symptom of Lincoln's position as our most admired and respected President.

One would have hoped that Gore's publisher, handling a man who aspires to appear as an intellectual, driven purely by his reason, would employ better fact checkers.

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