What Lincoln didn't say...

Posted by ESC on November 30, 2003

Lincoln Wasn't As Quotable As Some Think

By JOHN O'CONNOR, Associated Press Writer
November 30, 2003

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - When it comes to Abraham Lincoln, some of the people are fooled all of the time.

Remarks attributed to the quotable 16th president have popped up in everything from television commercials to speeches by famous generals, presidents and even recent anti-war protesters. Too often, they are phrases that Lincoln never uttered, experts at the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency say. . .

The preservation agency has added a page to its Web site (see address below) that exposes famous sayings Lincoln never made. Among them:

_ "To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men."
_ "There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There's nothing good in war except its ending."
_ "The strength of the nation lies in the homes of its people."

And then there's this one: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

Allegedly part of a September 1858 speech in Clinton, the sentence does not show up in the text printed in the local newspaper, Schwartz said. The best evidence available comes from two people in 1910 recollecting that Lincoln said it in 1856. . .

On the Net:

Lincoln facsimiles and misnomers: www.illinoishistory.gov/facsimiles.htm

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln: www.hti.umich.edu/ l/lincoln/