"Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step over the
ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! -- All the armies of Europe, Asia
and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own
excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander,
could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the
Blue Ridge, in a trial of a Thousand years. At what point, then, is the
approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it
must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction
be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation
of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."
by:
Abraham Lincoln
(1809-1865) 16th US President
Source:
January 27, 1838, address before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, IL
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Reader comments about this quote:
Still just as true today as it was in 1838
 -- Mark, Sleepy Eye Minnesota
 
Lincoln has been accurate in his foresight. And surely enough, we are self-destroying through the suicide of keeping the Bush mob in power. Our freedoms, our environment, our standard of living, our integrity, our schools, our health are being stolen under our noses. Yes, we are dying by suicide.
 -- Dick, Fort Worth
 
Good old Abe had it right! That's exactly what's going on today - The country and all it stands for is being destroyed from within by a cabal of neo-cons. And the tragic part is that this destruction is being justified by claiming it necessary to protect us against the foreign enemy. The very enemy that, according to Lincoln here, would never be able to destroy us in the first place.
 -- Andy, Portland, OR
 
Dick and Andy right on - tell them as it IS. How is it we are so blind to our own self-destruction? We MUST stop thinking nationally and think globally; we must stop thinking of our own comfort and start doing what is right - the war in Iraq was totally fabricated – while the outcome may be successful, for which I have my doubts, the reason was a lie. It amazes me that we can think of impeaching an adult for some private sexually act between consent adults and yet allow no such discussion when an adult commits a blatant lie which kills over two thousand Americans and over thirty thousand innocent women and children - what the hell are WE??? while despots in other countries are still getting away with genocide, children daily being killed and abused in Uganda, children dying of cold in Pakistan, children dying of hunger in draught torn Africa and the list goes on – but no, we invade another county because it has a resource we need. While we are on this road it will certainly end in our own self destruction – a change must occur in our way of life, we must rethink our values, rethink our very existence before it is to late.
 -- Robert, Sarasota
 
America won't be destroyed either from within or from afar despite the Bush/Cheney plans to 'fix' the world...we will, however, be 'at war' for the forseeable future because of oil.
 -- A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL
 
In a recent multi-state drive I could not help but notice how the basic infrastructures of this country are falling apart... certainly we see that by looking at what the Bush administration is doing (and just as importantly not doing).
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US
 
 -- Anonymous 
 -- Anonymous 
Our 16th President was both wise and prescient. He described our country as it is today when he said, "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.''
 -- A.Woods, Gloucester
 
America's loss of her moral compass is exactly what will allow her destruction. Lincoln nailed it.
 -- Keith, Marysville, OH
 
It is with sad resignation that I admit Lincoln's words are as relevant today as it was in 1838. It seems my America is headed for another great turmoil... by its own design.
 -- Anonymous, San Antonio
 
 -- Anonymous 
Awesome quote, but you are all wrong. It is Obama that is destroying our country from within. Raising taxes, destroying the motivation to succeed, lowering the bar across the board, increasing government power....what he's trying to do is worse than anything Bush did.
 -- Jason, Milwaukee
 
Abe was right. We committed suicide on November 4th, 2008
 -- Ken, Williams Bay, WI
 
Military budget cut, Social security will not receive cost of living raise, Wall street robs millions from the public, corruption with elected officials, Congress and Seneate receive raises , while all others must sacrifice, Health care for Senators and Congress has no limits while citizens lose life savings due to health care !!! Mr. Lincoln had it correct, if destruction be our lot it will come from within !
 -- Jim, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
 
Have to agree with Dick in Fort Worth... "Lincoln has been accurate in his foresight. And surely enough, we are self-destroying through the suicide of keeping the Bush mob in power. Our freedoms, our environment, our standard of living, our integrity, our schools, our health are being stolen under our noses. Yes, we are dying by suicide." Same can be said today, just change Bush to Obama. The change we voted for is happening, except it is for the worse. sigh. They are all cut out of the same cloth, and America's destruction will be the final result.
 -- Mary, San Diego,CA
 
In the same way that the Israelites went into captivity when they departed from God, the US will succumb to the same fate for the same reason. Lincoln's insight will have its fulfillment within this generation...no matter who is at the helm, unless we as a nation turn around. Our ways are like a cancer destroying from the inside while our eyes view the outside perceiving nothing to be wrong. Of course this will be dismissed as radical, that is until it happens.... PS-This applies also (and maybe more so) to 99+% of so-called "Christians"
 -- Zeke, Fort Collins, CO
 
We are killing ourselves from within. It begins with left wing socialist idealism. It fails wherever tried, yet our so-called intellects believe it just hasn't been tried by the right leaders. How dare someone take what I've earned and give it to someone else. If I want to give I'll donate it MYSELF. I do it in church all the time. Read your history...they even tried it in Plymouth and it FAILED. There are always those who leach off everyone else. Heck our current President and First Lady are loving their new lifestyle. It's we the people not me the president.
 -- Joe, Deary
 
It was reported by a fellow student of our esteemed President who, upon being made familiar with Lincoln's passage, said "I will one day be the author and finisher"! The report concluded with, "And everyone laughed!" Well, upon being made aware of the feelings of my fellow citizens, I'm compelled to say that I have seldom been made aware of a succession parade of ignorance. I feel I should say I'm only a little shy of my first (and I'm truly grateful that this is my only ...) century. I've always had a taste for the study of my fellow Americans, and most certainly enjoyed the broth! I suppose the late '50's and early 60's registered on a timeline, one may perceive the tipping point whereby our citizens, in total, lost the ability to properly and safely maintain a democracy. Again, in total they seemed to have lost the understanding that they as voters were (to make it simple) the directors, as in "board of directors" and ultimately responsible for the safe keeping of the most glorious nation the world has ever known. I confess I did not learn early that national and world history was being either dropped from our schools, or in some cases completely rewritten for the sake of an alien ideology. It is a grievous error for a citizen to closely identify with either the Republican or Democrat party. We should all be Americans, proudly recite the pledge of allegiance, sing the National Anthem and make dang sure our children were all deeply schools in all aspects of our beginnings. It wouldn't hurt any of us to learn the techniques for communication and propaganda of our alien enemies. V.I. Lenin once was called on to define what was true and what was false. He responded that it was simple; anything, anything said or done which supported the revolution was true, and, anything that opposed the revolution was false. This was to be so even if in one day something was determined to be true, and the next (or next breath, for that matter)FALSE only according to the effect on the revolution. Well, I fear most of this is way too long.
 -- Klous Kravchenko, Stanford, Kentucky
 
Good God, if one more person COMPLETELY MISSES THE POINT and complains about whatever administration is currently in power in relation to this quote, I might just explode. Lincoln's greatest task was holding together a nation torn by partisan strife. He failed, tragically, and we endured a bloody civil war as a result, but the most redoubled efforts could not have brought the country back from the brink by the time he took power. On a military level, the greatest threat, as Lincoln knew and said here, was not from one of the great transatlantic military giants but from the deep internal divisions in America becoming violent and failing to be worked out by intelligent men. Regardless of how you feel about "the Bush gang" or the "Obama socialists," the greatest favor you can do this country is to work together with your fellow Americans to maintain and to nourish this greatest nation on earth.
 -- Anthony, Miami, Florida
 
Good point Anthony, funny, not a peep out of the koolaid drinking socialist liberals now that the big O really is destroying a nation and its values.
 -- Chris, Cincinnati
 
Why do you think that? I am not being argumentative, but I really want to know what Obama (who I did not vote for) is doing so wrong? PS-Anthony, I could not agree more, we do have to take something back that we gave away a long time ago. That is the power to change what is not wanted. We are unable with the corrupt government and big banks/money system/fed the way it is running it all now. It seems so entrenched, and so wrong, I stood with the 99% and will continue to do so as they were the only ones I know that brought the injustices to light, or rather, exposed the elephant in the living room.
 -- Annie, Mahtomedi, MN
 
Hi Klause. Have you read the complete speech? This speech is given by a 28 year old Lincoln attempting to qwell the mobs who were hanging, burning, raping and generally killing blacks in the worst way. For being black.They were also killing people that had anything to do with blacks.And then killing any one that had anything to do with those people and so on. Lincoln was a waverer. He wanted to have a political future, but I believe he knew and believed slavery was not right. He "hooded" these convictions within many of his speeches and, I believe, to a great degree, is why he appeared to change his mind often. He was a guy that had depression and also felt he had to keep quiet about a deep seated belief so he could personally benefit. It's tough to be king.Hey- Instead of observing, try marching with the 99 percent or get involved else where-before all our rights are stripped away and we are not what so many men and women DIED to protect.
 -- Annie, Mahtomedi, MN
 
What the hell does Lincoln have to do with George Bush? Lincoln's comments were derived from historically frequent use by others of the "house divided" consequence as a warning to gather support for in this case to stop the horrific killing and violence perpetrated on the Negroes, mixed races and others of the time. The nation was divided on this. He was a Republican who won election and acted to end discrimination. He made the tough calls against those who would enslave others. Of course he waivered: who wouldn't when facing those crushing responsibilities? At a huge cost of human life and his own, he could did no more than place the nation at the beginning of the path to end discrimination. It obviously did not end it. It's not complicated. But you angry whiners out there will always over-analyze, minimize and degrade any degree of success and more often than not, lack appreciation for sacrifice and those who make the tough call: get off your ass, open your ears, get informed and vote. You're an American: "Carry That Weight" . Lincoln did.
 -- Wendell, San Jose
 
Lincoln's motives were hardly so grand. He was as manipulated by the central bankers as any president has ever been. Andrew Jackson was diametrically opposed to central banking and this was the beginning of the rift between north and south. The south legally seceded in order to negate the growing power of self interested bankers and industrialists in the north. The leaders of the Confederacy themselves discussed abolition when writing their own Constitution and decided it was too much change for the south all at once and that it would have to be revisited. Oddly, Robert E Lee owned no slaves when the war of aggression broke out, Ulysses S Grant did. Why in his Emancipation Proclamation did Lincoln not address the slaves of the north? And why was one year's service in the Union Army the price of actual freedom for escaped slaves...and why were they used as front line cannon fodder...if Lincoln was so compassionate towards them? It was about money, it was about control, it was about everything that motivates ALL Governments.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary
 
I have no bone fides to defend such a great man as Abraham Lincoln. And, those with rigid minds will not change them even in the face of the facts. That said, I'd like to point out a couple of facts: 1) Abraham Lincoln WAS anti-slave. You can read about it in his writings and his debates. His opinion was that everyone who believes in the right of slavery should try it on for himself. He did back away from this stance when he ran for president, in order to win. Yet, he did win. Others, who were more anti-slave, never achieved the presidential-level power to correct the evil of slavery. He did. 2) The Emancipation Proclamation was an amazing accomplishment. Lincoln's advisors warned him that a) it wouldn't free any slaves; b) it would irratate southern supporters; c) it would be repealed by the Supreme Court as soon as the war ended. The reason it affected just Confederate states is because he ONLY had power as commander-in-chief to impose martial law on the rebels. The Northern states (with the exception of the border states) had already freed their slaves. In fact, after the signing of the proclamation, only four border states were legally allowed to own slaves. Lincoln then pushed for the thirteenth amendment that freed all slaves. The bottom line is that the Civil War was about States' Rights until President Lincoln made it about Slavery with the proclamation. 3) Gen Robert E. Lee never owned slaves because he had plenty of enlisted troops to act as his slaves. Yet, there was never an indication he was pro-slave. In fact, President Lincoln once asked Lee to lead Union forces. Lee refused because he was a Virginian first and an American second. Lee was one of America's greatest generals and he was beaten by Abraham Lincoln. On which side was God?
 -- Ric Esrey, Sterling
 
12/18/2012. I'm dating this because I find the comments on Bush43 so astronomically urbane.

Look at Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland and NYC - all crumbling cities run for 50 years by Democrats. You politically-blind subjects of the nanny-state never cease to disgust me.

Older/wiser
 -- Older/Wiser, Cleveland
 
 -- Lungani, Mtubatuba 
"this greatest nation on earth" - oh please! are you sure Anthony?
I hate this kind of chauvinistic slogans...
 -- Martha, Vancouver
 
Can we all stick to the point of the quote? Or are we so divided that we can't even agree that Abraham Lincoln said something really profound that it applies now, like laws that have unintended consequences, in ways that were unintended at the time he said it?
 -- Anonymous, East Lansing, Michigan
 
 -- Me, East Lansing, Michigan 
 
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