Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Misquoted quotes of American History Part. II

“You can fool all the people…”
“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 of the time may ring true, but it’s doubtful that Lincoln said it. He is supposed to have made the remark in September, 1858, in Clinton, Illinois. Lincoln was running for the Senate against Stephen Douglas, but no mention of the quote appeared in the local newspapers. A few individuals who alleged they heard the speech said they had heard him say something similar in response to a survey by the Chicago Tribune and the Brooklyn Eagle, but this was 50 years after the speech was given.
“…Of the people, by the people…”
“Government of the People, by the people, for the People shall not perish form the Earth,” said Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address. But this thought was expressed in at least two prior speeches. Unitarian minister and abolitionist Theodore Parker said: “[Government] becomes more and more of all, by of all and for all.” In Daniel Webster’s words, it went this way: “the people’s government made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people.”  
“The only thing we have to fear…”

In the throes of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt told the American people, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ But similar statements have been attributed to other equally distinguished people and sources. A similar quote is found in the Bible, which says “Be not afraid of sudden fear.” “Closer to FDR’s idea is Montaigne’s “The thing I fear most is fear.” Francis Bacon’s “Nothing is terrible except fear itself” is also a note worth precedent, as it the Duke of Wellington’s “The only thing I am afraid of is fear” and Henry David Thoreau’s “nothing is so much to be feared as fear.”


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