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What Lincoln Foresaw:

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bartermania   Monday, 07/24/06 10:55:00 PM
Re: bartermania post# 1495
Post # of 10217 
What Lincoln Foresaw:
Corporations Being "Enthroned" After the Civil War
and Re-Writing the Laws Defining Their Existence

by Rick Crawford, crawford@cs.ucdavis.edu



Here is a sobering quote by Abe Lincoln:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that
unnerves me and 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."

-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
(letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw
(Macmillan, 1950, NY)

Some people expressed doubts about its authenticity, given
Lincoln's work as an attorney for railroad corporations! It was an
interesting job tracking it down and verifying its authenticity.

The first ref I heard for this quote was Jack London's 1908 Iron
Heel. And although the quote indeed appears there (near p. 100),
Jack London offered neither context nor source.

More recently, David Korten's book, When Corporations Rule the
World (1995, Kumarian Press), sources the quote to Harvey
Wasserman (America Born and Reborn, Macmillan, 1983, p. 89-90,
313), who in turn sources it to Paha Sapa Reports, the newspaper
of the Black Hills Alliance, Rapid City, South Dakota, 4 March
1982. But given Wasserman's ties to Howard Zinn, and his status as
co-founder (?) of the Liberation News Service, citing that kind of
trail is like waving a red flag for the skeptics wink

Fortunately, after some burrowing in the univ. library, I was able
to confirm its authenticity. Here it is, with more surrounding
context:

"We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end.
It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood. . . .
It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but
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.
I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety
of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.

God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."

The passage appears in a letter from Lincoln to (Col.) William F.
Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864.

For a reliable pedigree, cite p. 40 of The Lincoln Encyclopedia,
by Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY). That traces the quote's
lineage to p. 954 of Abraham Lincoln: A New Portrait, (Vol. 2) by
Emanuel Hertz (Horace Liveright Inc, 1931, NY).

Based on about 3 hrs of research, it appears Lincoln has been
extensively SANITIZED FOR OUR PROTECTION. The Hidden Lincoln; from
the Letters and Papers of William H. Herndon, by Emanuel Hertz
(Viking Press, 1938, NY), details how Herndon (Lincoln's lifelong
law partner) collected an extensive oral history and aggregated
much of Lincoln's writings into a collection that served as the
basis for many "authoritative" books on Lincoln.

By all accounts, Herndon was scrupulously honest and plainspoken.
Hertz quotes Herndon's characterization of the various "big-name"
authors who relied on his collection for primary source materials:

"They are aiming, first, to do a superb piece of
literary work; second, to make the story WITH THE
CLASSES AS AGAINST THE MASSES. [my emphasis added] It
will result in delineating the real Lincoln about as
well as does a wax figure in the museum."

In several books, I found numerous places where Lincoln spoke
about Capital and Labor ("Workingmen"). Lincoln re-used his own
material frequently, and virtually identical passages appear in
several places. Lincoln praises the moral rightness of both
Capital and Labor, but this is invariably in the context of a
nation where NO MORE THAN ONE MAN IN EIGHTis a Capitalist or a
Laborer, ie, where 7/8 of the population are "self-employed" on
their own farms and homesteads.

This social context of general self-sufficiency would explain how
Lincoln could serve for years as a railroad corporation lawyer
with (apparently) no qualms, yet pen the "corporations enthroned"
passage to Elkins.

A final Lincoln tidbit, although it pertains to one very specific
case:

"These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in
concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got
into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to
appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel."

speech to Illinois legislature, Jan. 1837.
See Vol. 1, p. 24 of Lincoln's Complete Works,
ed. by Nicolay and Hay, 1905)

-rick crawford@cs.ucdavis.edu

Link: http://www.ratical.org/corporations/Lincoln.txt


- I will not be a slave to or of death cults - n/b/k - NO QUARTER FOR CORRUPTION http://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/board.asp?board_id=3319
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