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Things Lincoln never said
09-25-2012, 09:23 PM
Post: #31
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Fehrenbacher gives it a "D."

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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09-25-2012, 09:57 PM
Post: #32
RE: Things Lincoln never said
For a person whose religion we have a hard time placing our fingers on, this certainly speaks to a Lincoln who believed in a supreme being - and one who was still active in the matters of men; not a deistic view of a god who created and then left man to his own devices.

I vote NO. Sounds like some post-assassination public relations spin on Mr. Lincoln's character to me.
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09-25-2012, 10:09 PM
Post: #33
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Rob: I'm going to have to purchase that book!

Laurie: I agree. It doesn't sound like Lincoln-and doesn't reflect what he thought.

Bill Nash
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09-26-2012, 05:08 AM (This post was last modified: 09-26-2012 06:53 AM by RJNorton.)
Post: #34
RE: Things Lincoln never said
I've learned the hard way on a few Lincoln quotes. Years ago people wrote and asked if Lincoln, when asked about his religion, actually said, "When I do good I feel good; when I do bad I feel bad; and that's my religion."

I used to reply that it was a quote attributed to Lincoln but without a source. Then, one day just by chance, I came upon it in the Fehrenbachers' book! I was so surprised. Herndon is the source, and the quote itself is given a "C." Lincoln said he learned the quote from an old man named Glenn in Indiana whom he had heard speak at a church meeting. So it pays to check even when your mind seems to tell you that you don't need to.

Bill, I think you will be pleasantly surprised and happy with the Fehrenbachers' book. According to my old student, Dr. Thomas Schwartz, it is the second place to check after the Collected Works.
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09-26-2012, 07:37 AM
Post: #35
RE: Things Lincoln never said
I just ordered it on Amazon!

Bill Nash
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11-16-2012, 09:38 AM
Post: #36
RE: Things Lincoln never said
I am not saying Lincoln never said this, but I am curious if there is more than one source other than this one from 21 years after the fact.

The quote is from Goodwin's book and also in the the movie. Lincoln tells two of his "vote managers:"

“I am president of the United States, clothed with great power. The abolition of slavery by constitutional provision settles the fate, for all coming time, not only of the millions now in bondage, but of unborn millions to come—a measure of such importance that those two votes must be procured. I leave it to you to determine how it shall be done; but remember that I am president of the United States, clothed with immense power, and I expect you to procure those votes.”

The only source I see for this are the reminisces of Congressman John B. Alley published in Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln by Distinguished Men of His Time collected and edited by Allen Thorndike Rice. Goodwin used an 1886 edition.

The two House members who are supposed to have heard this remark are not named either in Goodwin's book or Rice's. Goodwin writes, "He (Lincoln) assigned two of his allies in the House to deliver the votes of two wavering members. When asked how to proceed he said (see above quote)." Unless I am missing it, Alley doesn't even say if he is one of the two Congressmen present for the remark.

Has anyone ever seen this quote with another source?
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11-16-2012, 10:12 AM
Post: #37
RE: Things Lincoln never said
And Roger, I don't know what you think, but the part of the quote that says: " I am President of the United States, clothed with great power..."- doesn't sound like Lincoln. However, its very dramatic for the movie!

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11-23-2012, 06:18 PM (This post was last modified: 11-23-2012 06:37 PM by DanielC.)
Post: #38
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Hi Roger, I heard an interview with Ronald C White Jr. that aired on NPR "Morning Addition" yesterday morning. It was a good interview in which Mr. White mentions some things that may not have been quite accurate in the movie, including the "Millions unborn statement" here is the link: http://www.npr.org/2012/11/22/165671751/...is-lincoln

http://ronaldcwhitejr.com/ (is Mr. White's website)

Best,

Dan
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11-24-2012, 07:03 AM
Post: #39
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Dan, many thanks for the link. My suspicion is confirmed. In my mind, I think I will consider the quote apocryphal unless another source is found. I checked the Fehrenbachers' book, and unless I missed it, it's not even in there. I agree the quote makes the scene in the movie much more powerful for the audience, but did Lincoln really say those words? I think the jury is out and leaning toward "no."
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11-24-2012, 07:17 AM
Post: #40
RE: Things Lincoln never said
I don't think it was intention of the movie to always use exact Lincoln dialogue. I think the quote that were discussing is meant to convey that Lincoln was thinking. It helps the viewer understand the movie better.

Bill Nash
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11-24-2012, 01:35 PM
Post: #41
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Has anyone seen who the screenwriter(s) for the film was/were? I would not have wanted that job! I know that Harold Holzer and Dr. Terry Alford have been listed as advisers, and of course, Ms. Goodwin. Who were some of the others?
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11-24-2012, 03:19 PM
Post: #42
RE: Things Lincoln never said
(11-24-2012 01:35 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Has anyone seen who the screenwriter(s) for the film was/were? I would not have wanted that job! I know that Harold Holzer and Dr. Terry Alford have been listed as advisers, and of course, Ms. Goodwin. Who were some of the others?


The screenwriter is Tony Kushner. He won the Pulitzer for his play Angels in America.
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12-06-2012, 02:31 PM
Post: #43
RE: Things Lincoln never said
[Image: photo01335b1875c0557f67.jpg]

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This quote is all over the Internet. For about four bucks you could purchase it as a bumper sticker. Oh joy.

Bill Nash
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12-11-2012, 09:50 AM
Post: #44
RE: Things Lincoln never said
[align=center][Image: 57622837582828304092971.jpg]

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This was sent to me today by a reader of my Lincoln Blog.

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12-12-2012, 06:49 PM
Post: #45
RE: Things Lincoln never said
(09-25-2012 08:47 PM)LincolnMan Wrote:  Not sure if the following quote should go under the thread "Things Lincoln never said" or not. I'm reading from the book my wife bought for me in Northern Michigan-Abraham Lincoln's Stories And Speeches by J.B. McClure, dated 1896. It gives no sources at all. On page 108 of the book, Lincoln is talking to a Mr. Newton Bateman. See what you think. Here is what Lincoln is supposed to have said:

"I know there is a God,and that he hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me, and I think He has, I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but truth is everything: I know I am right, because I know that liberty is right, for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself can not stand; and Christ and Reason say the same; and they will find it so."


That doesn't sound like Lincoln to me. It also doesn't express his ideas as I've come to understand he held. But what do you think?

Bill,
I write about that quote in my own book on Lincoln's religion. The source of it was Josiah Holland's biography on Abraham Lincoln published shortly after Lincoln's death. It is the first major biography and an important one.

Here is some background on that.
Josiah Holland was a very religious man. He taught Sunday School and asked Herndon about Lincoln's religion. Herndon replied, "The less said about that the better," and Holland replied with a wink, "O never mind, I'll fix that."

Herndon asked Bateman exactly what he remembered Lincoln saying and Bateman was somewhat evasive. Isaac Arnold, a Lincoln friend of Lincoln who was writing his own biography wrote Herndon after writing to Bateman, "In regard to Mr Bateman he does not stand up very squarely."

So is the story then made up?
No. The context of the quote is Lincoln talking to Bateman about how disgusted he was with pro-slavery theology, and talked about how many ministers in Springfield didn't support him.

We know Lincoln had a particular dislike for people who made religious arguments about slavery being a good thing. Later as President he wrote the following and referred to himself in the third person to be published in a newspaper:

"THE PRESIDENT'S LAST, SHORTEST, AND BEST SPEECH.

On thursday of last week two ladies from Tennessee came before the President asking the release of their husbands held as prisoners
of war at Johnson's Island. They were put off till friday, when they came again; and were again put off to saturday. At each of the interviews one of the ladies urged that her husband was a religious man. On saturday the President ordered the release of the prisoners, and then said to this lady ``You say your husband is a religious man; tell him when you meet him, that I say I am not much of a judge of religion, but that, in my opinion, the religion that sets men to rebel and fight against their government, because, as they think, that government does not sufficiently help some men to eat their bread on the sweat of other men's faces, is not the sort of religion upon which people can get to heaven!''

So I think Lincoln did talk to Bateman about this and mentioned God's help he felt he would need which he was to do on the train platform as he left Springfield shortly afterwards publically. The "Christ is God" seems to be a gloss that either Bateman or Holland added to the story to make Lincoln a more orthodox Christian.
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