"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, 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 the 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"
Abraham Lincoln
(1809-1865) 16th US President
Questionable. Supposedly written in reference to the passage of the National Banking Act of 1863 less than five months before he was assassinated in a letter to one Col. William F. Elkins, referenced in Emanuel Hertz's 1931 book, Abraham Lincoln: A New Portrait. Found on p. 40 of The Lincoln Encyclopedia, by Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY), and Jack London's, book Iron Heel (1908). see http://www.snopes.com/quotes/lincoln.asp
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Reader comments about this quote:
Such a wise and insightful man, and such a far cry from that creature in the oval office today, December 20, 2007.
 -- A.Woods, Gloucester
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US 
"Shortly before his assination" is not exact enough!
 -- Larry, North Bergen
yep, starting with the Fed.
 -- Mike, Norwalk
This bastard started the process of decay that destroyed the nation. Lincoln was a bloody tyrant. He "saved the Union" by crippling the Constitution. May he rot in Hell.
 -- Rocky Frisco, Tulsa
It's been over 140 years and the Republic is not destroyed. If you took all the "wealth" from those who have "it" and gave it those who don't, the people you took it from would have it all back in 5 years. [credit Neal Boortz] Spare me the Doom and Gloom Cycle here.
 -- Dougmcr8, Springfield, VA
we see it today as our countries leaders listen to corporations, take their money and do what they want. Jobs have gone overseas, trade is given to other countries, and now we want a new president that promises anything that the people want so they can get into office to do the same as the last president
 -- dornth, Phoenix, az
Dougmcr8, Springfield, VA is right about wealth. Lincoln lived in a time before there were many controls over corporations. Monopolies were not illegal for instance.
 -- warren, olathe
Lincoln had his flaws, Centralized Power and Federalization to name two. But the statement stands on its own.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary
American federalization loyalty and admiration started before Lincoln. It was significantly enhanced by the Mexican War. Americans have been well organized and in that war the Mexicans were not, they gave lip service to their central government and thus were easily defeated. Republican party populism dejavue.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
Lincoln railed against the Mexican war. He thought it was purely a politically motivated action that had nothing to do with right and wrong. We would however have a much different set of borders today had the war not happened. The Republican Party had nothing to do with the Mexican war. In fact they were yet to have any power when it happened. Populism is a liberal/fascist tactic of the left (and now McCain) atypical of the Republican Party.
 -- warren, olathe
The statement deserves five regardless who said it. We can find wrong-doings in all politicians and its pointless casting the first stone. Big corporations and their wealth are dominating our political process, communications, and our daily lives. Unless we have total campaign reform, forbid lobbyists to donate one penny, allow all political parties to present their platform only two months before the general election, and free of charge via all forms of media; write into all media contracts the availability of free advertising space for all political candidates based the number of candidates representing their party – perhaps we should start by taking away the civil rights of the majority and let them experience what this country is truly all about. Yes, we have a long way to go especially when we allow the civil rights of any minority group to be on the ballet. Yes, the law of the majority works fine when you are in the majority. Get over it and grow up America.
 -- RobertSRQ
Lincoln was a damned fool, what's the "Republic" nonsense, eh Waffler? Man, should we have lost our "Republic" we would be ruled by kings right now! Lincoln had no idea what he was talking about-- we wouldn't have lost our Republic, because we're a democracy! ..shakes head..
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN
I read on the internet somewhere that this is not a quote of Lincoln, but is often cited. Let's not bash someone unless he really said it. Does anyone know the truth about this quote! I really like it because it points out the biggest threat to us-corporations.
 -- Anonymous
Anon, it was said tongue-in-cheek, I actually agree with Lincoln -- or whomever this quote is attributed to.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN
I juist finished touring the Palo Alto Battlefield Warren and Logan. The Americans (Texans) who had fought to the death at the Alamo 10 years earlier showed up at Palo Alto near Brownsville with much superior canon. The approx 3000 Mexicans left hurriedly after losing about 100 men. If you add up revolutionary battles, the Alamo, Palo Alto, Bellau Woods I think you will find American fighting men have alwasy believed whether or not anyone on thsi site still believes or not. The latest battle in this list I think is Fallujah. There have been incidences of Republican populism and now we have Huckabee. Huckabee emphasis the common man. Sorry you think that is socialism Warren.
 -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas
I think that a few control the masses and always have since 1913 when the Rothchilds took over the Federal Reserve Bank. Until we say enough and stop all the Rothchilds and the Rockefellers and the Buffets of this planet who kill whoever opposes their will and created events like 9-11 and would control us all even though they have hundreds of billions and even trillions of dollars. These are the really Evil people of this world and should all be put to naught. But verily The Lord of Hosts says to them all "Do not vaunt thyself over the poor for I have guided him on his way and observe thee in thy Evil plight forevermore."
 -- Herman Williams, Oklahoma City
Lincoln was referring to the international banksters (e.g. Rothschilds et al) who were the real instigators of the Civil War. Dig a little deeper than elementary school history books.
 -- E Archer, NYC
Populism is a socialist/fascist propaganda tool. Always has been and always will be regardless whether a Democrat or Republican or an Adolph Hitler is using it. The Mexican war happened before the Republican Party got to power Waffler. Still always one card short of a full deck. What in the world was all that crap about Palo Alto Battlefield has to do with anything? I wish I could just get myself to quit trying to make sense out of any thing that you put on this site. I keep thinking I missed something but after several attempts at rereading it I still am baffled because of the lack of cognitive thought in these statements...
 -- warren, olathe
According to snopes www . snopes .com / quotes / lincoln . asp (remove the spaces) this was never said by Lincoln. It was attributed to him fraudulently. I believe it to be a wise sentiment, but many of us here in this "choir" would agree with the idea itself. It is the people who don't agree with that corporations are a real risk that aren't going to be easily swayed. They may be potentially swayed if the words are put in someone else's mouth, though . . . So, let's "fix" the discussion beforehand with a fake quote? The quote is simply not worth repeating. Go to a different forum if you want to talk about banking law, corporate personhood, corporate subsidies, and corporate conspiracies to control society . . . Seriously, please do. But don't anyone try to defend this "quotation" by saying "it doesn't matter who said it..."
 -- Greg Conquest, Zushi
Boy, was he ever right. Was it Jefferson that said that he'd never seen a country go 150 yrs without revolt and blood shed? I wonder if we are not getting close, after a fashion.
 -- Nancy, Marion, OH
This quote is GENIUS, especially since it is COMPLETELY RELEVANT FOR RIGHT NOW! WAKE UP PEOPLE, the freeking TYRANTS who are running the show are DISMANTLING the U.S. right before your FAT SLEEPY HEADS! Get your head out of CNN, FOX, your BUTT and REALIZE what is going on, our liberties have dwindled away in the name of 'security' because everyone is such a big wussy that they can't protect themselves. The GOVERNMENT IS'NT YOUR FRIEND. WAKE THE HELL UP! Notice the source of this quote as they killed Lincoln 5 months after this letter is dated.....I wonder why.... Let's see, wasn't JFK about to get RID OF THE FED TOO?....must be a coincidence...
Very insightful man we should all pay attention to his words!
 -- Anonymous, Tulsa, OK
This quote is not by Lincoln.
 -- Marie, Virginia Beach, VA
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/lincoln.asp "Pedigree for this quote is often asserted by pointing to the 1950 Lincoln Encyclopedia, compiled by...Shaw which 'authenticates' the quote by citing a purported letter from Lincoln to...found in Emanuel Hertz's 1931 book, Abraham Lincoln: A New Portrait. However, this source is fraudelent: Hertz was taken in by a forgery, and Shaw, a sloppy compiler, added the bogus letter."
 -- jim see, Titusville, FL
Thank you, jim see. The quote has been tagged as questionable, and the source information has been updated.
 -- Editor, Liberty Quotes
 -- Anonymous, upland 
I agree with "WAKE UP PEOPLE, NJ", right on the mark Broseph. The Bansksters and Tyrants have picked the pockets of every tax paying American, (Timothy Geitner excluded) through stealth taxation aka inflation, yet the Obama/McCain crowd is still unable to connect the dots. Check out Peter Schiff, Max Keiser, Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, Gerald Celente, on Youtube.
 -- Wake Up People, Missouri
A scholar (Rick Crawford at UC Davis) wrote this: "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. " (end snip) see: http://www.ratical.org/corporations/Lincoln.html
 -- Aunty Ism, Brisbane
Lincoln rocked. Stand firm patriots, the worst is yet to come. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7886780711843120756
 -- yoma, kalifornia
this quote sounds very present time
 -- lucas, long beach
What a dead on prediction of what has happened to our country. Why have we become a republic of sheep?
 -- tom cassidy, arcadia
Does it matter who said it? We started in 1776 by being run by the wealthy and we've only nudged ourselves into giving a voice and a modicum of fairness to the less-than-wealthy every few decades. Me? Joe Average. Ethically liberal but financially conservative. That is to say, help as much as you can but not to point of bankruptcy.
 -- Anonymous, Placerville, ca
Lincoln had it right....the corporations work in concert with the Federal Reserve and a sycophantic government to continually support wealth accumulation for a few and marginalization for the masses. "It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." Henry Ford(?)
 -- Obummer summer, Tampa, FL
Corporations have clearly been enthroned and it's arguable the republic and its doctrines have been disassembled. Our economy is privately owned by the Federal Reserve.
 -- Nick, Newark
Interesting and perhaps discouraging that there is so much discussion of whether the quote is correctly attributed. Let us consider the ideas! Have corporations elevated to the status of patiotic citizens served to move us toward freedom?
 -- Keith Noren, Simi Valley
 -- Anonymous 
Whether or not this quote is actually Lincoln's or not, it is startlingly revelant, especially in these times, with the financial crisis looming over all our heads. 'Too big to fail', right? I affiliate myself with the left, and I agree completely with the quote. When the wealth is monopolized by only a few...they say that America doesn't need a revolution, but sometimes it's hard to be sure.
 -- ksf wolfe, Boston
We are living in this era that President Lincoln is talking about. An era is defined as a historical chronological period of time often made up of several periods of change which can extend over hundreds of years. He did not start the period of decay because it was inevitable but this spoiled way of life could only last so long before it began to become obviously unsustainable. This life of synthetic s and bright lights is so incredibly wasteful it will eventually be thought of as a utopian era of time in which mankind was enabled to learn almost everything mankind has been wondering for hundreds of thousands of years. Where we had the power and knowledge to expand into the universe and inhabit and teriform other planets expanding into infinity inhabiting the lifeless universe. Unfortunately we've wasted this knowledge, resources, and money on entertainment, fast cars, private jets, shortsighted fun and corporate greed.
 -- Anonymous, California
Imagine the world as a seed. It has energy inside it energy needed to grow and expand into the world. Imagine if the cells inside the seed decided to use all that energy so that they could talk on cell phones all day and walk around ten acre car lots with their lights on all night and so on. The seed would never grow and reach its potential, it would eventually use all of the energy up and die before it ever reached the surface of the earth and saw the sun. The earth is a seed in this universe where life can expand and create a universe of life that can live, die, evolve, and expand until the end of time.
 -- Anonymous, California
it is so true, over the years my family has watched america lose to capitalism, the wealthy attacking on the poor, abraham lincoln was the first and last real president of the united states. and now with harper and obama shaking hands canada is already falling the same fate
 -- Anonymous, nova scotia, canada
This quote should be removed as it is fraudulent. If it is not then it should be no problem to present and authenticate Lincoln's letter to Col. Elkins. Where is this letter that a book written 60 years after the fact cites? The fact of the matter is Lincoln was a very well paid attorney who represented the biggest business of his time, the railroads. He dedicated his political career to a central bank and the "internal improvements" aka taxpayer subsidies to politically connected big business. This quote would have been completely out of character for him and everything he stood for.
 -- Josh, Atlanta
 -- Katie, Oregon City 
I've verified that this quote goes back at least to Jack London's 1908 "Iron Heel", where it's attributed to Lincoln on page 105. Can anyone get it back earlier than that?
 -- kevin, berkeley, ca
If .. as some righties say .. and credit Neal Boortz .."" if you took all the wealth from those who have it and gave it to those who don't, the people you took it from would have it all back in five years ....."" why are they so resentful of taxation and why do they resist any poorer person gaining anything by any means ??? Why? because their daddies .. their source, in most cases, is gone ... capice?
 -- John Machado, North Versailles, PA
To those who call this quote fabrication, I offer another Lincoln quote; " How many legs does a dog have if you count the tail as a leg?... (Answer) " 4... Calling the tail a leg does not make it a leg"
 -- Brian, Mt. Shasta, CA
Everyone quotes "snopes".... Just who is "snopes" anyway? I know who they say they are, but who are they really?
 -- John, Raleigh, NC
If anyone is interested in what Lincoln proposed as an alternative to debt-based (bank-issued) currency and the history therein, there is a powerful and well-researched documentary you should see: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-515319560256183936# Lincoln was the only president to pay off the debt. He was well on his way to doing it again before he was murdered. No president since him has had the balls to do what he did, and there are well-documented rumors that Booth was protected by monied interests (read: bankers) in Europe.
 -- PHM, USA
Abraham Lincoln is my role model, and I can relate to this quote in so many different ways. I think the U.S, with all its debt, can relate as well.
 -- Jillian, Salt Lake City
 -- mathew123, alparetta G,A 
What's the point of spouting revolutionary ideas when there is no will to turn from talk into action? What has anyone here done to make this situation different? Posting anonymously on a website under a quote will not instigate anything. TAKE ACTION!! When there is a news report about democratically minded revolts happening here, as in Egypt, Libya or any if the other north African nations rising up against those in power I will recoil my disdain for those who have the will to speak but not to act. Such things tend to happen when the youth vastly outnumbers the old though, were not quite there yet.
 -- Steven Jacobs, Napa, CA
This could have been said today by anyone who sees what is happening. This county was established to leave the cultures of Lords and serfs and yet it is happing again. Turning the majority against one another and picking our pockets while we look to each other to blame for our loss of livelyhood and honor is the tournament of the day. They no longer wear purple, they don designer suits while we go to the celebration of the Mad Hatter. There we convince ourselves to turn away our own cures and care because we are not deserving of them. Not because they have removed our employment to the labor of children of distant lands but because we have lazily failed to achieve success. We have all have seen plays and films of lost ages when thugs of the privledged beat the last ounce of grain out of the pesant because more is needed in the castle by the inheritors who have squandered their weath and men were hung for harvesting the deer and dove of the lord. Looked like those folks were dumb didn't it? Well . . . never mind.
 -- Jane, Lapeer MI
This letter is a forgery made by a man named Joseph Cosy. The Lincoln biographer Emanuel Hertz was taken by this con-man. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1956/02/25/1956_02_25_038_TNY_CARDS_000248517?currentPage=all Further insult was made when Archer H. Shaw included it in his, "The Lincoln Encyclopedia" circa 1950
 -- Jake, Altamonte Springs
The quote is by Lincoln. I researched and found it.
 -- Dawn Dunbar, Olympia
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