Abraham Lincoln’s false quote used to endorse political meme

A common social media propaganda technique uses quotes from well known historical figures or celebrities to strengthen one’s argument. Not surprisingly, many of the quotes are fiction, some are attributed to the wrong person, and many are taken wildly out of context.

11012965_890061614420227_8299142713552254152_nTL;DR Summary

  • This quote suggests  Abraham Lincoln had a prescient warning about corporations in America’s future.
  • But he never said this. This is a made up quote.
  • The goal, as propaganda, is to rely on the “Appeal to Authority”, approach, but also using a Celebrity Endorsement and Transference.

The idea is to “transfer” one’s feelings for something (a person, an event, an experience) on to another function. The item below “transfers” our respect for Lincoln to the alleged quote concerning the evil of corporations and the concentration of wealth.

Occupy Democrats posted this (shared from their page) to convey the message that President Lincoln warned us about future corruption we would see due to the power of corporations, and which would result in wealth being concentrated in a few hands.

This quote has been around for a very long time (perhaps 100 years) and is widely quoted by many people, including famous people. It is not surprising that Occupy Democrats would think it is a real quote.

But According to the 107 year old Abraham Lincoln Association, the quote is false. See “Lincoln Never Said That” in http://www.abrahamlincolnassociation.org/Newsletters/1-1.pdf

100+ years ago, many organizations created fake Lincoln quotes for the purpose of promoting their own causes. Many of those fake quotes have been widely quoted, so often that they are now viewed as “facts” and circulated online as social media propaganda posters!

In an 1837 speech to the Illinois legislature, Lincoln did make comments about bankers seeking bailouts from the taxpayers, and he did not think this was right. “The Panic of 1837” was one of the worst recessions in the U.S. and it was in the context of failing banks, that this came up. However, as the Association points out, there is no evidence that Lincoln ever said the words used in the propaganda poster shown below.

The quote and the poster are a fabrication. However, Lincoln did make other quotes on related topics that suggest potential concerns with wealth. I will be posting another example of such a quote on a social media poster – which is even quoted accurately!

Text for Search Indexing

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that causes me to tremble for the safety of my country …. 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”.

‪#‎Lincoln‬ ‪#‎Abraham‬ ‪#‎corporations‬ ‪#‎wealth‬ #occupy #democrats #occupydemocrats