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Title: Abraham Lincoln quarterly. [Vol. 5, no. 8]
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NEWS AND COMMENT 477 From "Reply to a Committee from the Workingmen's Association of New York," March 21, 1864 (Complete Works, X, 53-54)-"The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." In this same "Reply" Lincoln quoted from his "Annual Message to Congress," December 3, 1861 (Ibid., VII, 57-58) as follows: "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of the community exists within that relation." And in this same "Annual Message" Lincoln used words he had used earlier in his "Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society," September 3o, 1859 (Ibid., V, 249-250) as follows: "The prudent, penniless beginner in the world labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This, say its advocates, is free labor-the just, and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all, gives hope to all, and energy, progress, and improvement of condition to all." One cannot but be struck by the contrast, both in sentiment and in style, between what Lincoln said and what he is purported to have said. Who will teach both Capital and Labor that Lincoln's way is the American way, and that misrepresentation by one-sided misquoting and garbling of Lincoln's philosophy of democracy discourages acceptance, not of one side merely but of both? There may be in sources unknown to the editor passages
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