- This poster uses the method of Celebrity endorsement and appeal to authority to deliver its message.
- This quote is – surprisingly – accurate and not taken out of context.
- There are numerous fake Lincoln quotes appearing in propaganda posters, however.
The quote is true. It was contained in Lincoln’s first State of the Union speech, both in terms of concern over the potential concentration of wealth (Lincoln had been a lawyer that defended the rapidly growing railroad industry), but also in terms of capital being used to own labor (as in slaves), as well as to hire workers.
His point was that labor comes first to create wealth, which then begets capital. From a government/regulatory perspective, some wanted to give capital a priority over labor, a choice which Lincoln said was not right.
The poster comes from the Daily Kos website with encouragement to share it with one’s Republican contacts as a form of social media propaganda messaging. Their intended interpretation of this quote is that labor (Democrats) are higher priority than capital (Republicans). Because Lincoln said it, therefore it is the final word – an appeal to authority, even though Lincoln’s voicing this does not make it either true or false – remember, a fact is true or false regardless of who says it. The intent, here, is to quote Lincoln as an appeal to authority proclaiming that Republicans are wrong.
Be cautious when you see “Quotes from Abraham Lincoln”. While some are genuine, many are fake, and many are taken out of context, and are frequently used in propaganda messaging as a “celebrity endorsement” or possibly “Appeal to Authority” type of propaganda.
In the late 19th century, numerous quotes, falsely attributed to Lincoln, were widely used by many organizations to promote their agendas. Many of these fake quotes were so widely used and distributed that they remain in circulation today – and appear in modern propaganda posters! A number of famous people today even use these fake quotes – they’ve been around for so long that many now assume they are true 🙂