I know the incompetent currently putting his feet on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office likes to compare himself favorably to Lincoln, but he also is guilty of lamenting that the Constitution was a flawed document because it the “negative liberties” it contains. Said liberties are “negative” because they prevent government from doing certain things for [to] you, rather than empowering government, guided by people who know what is better for you than you yourself do…like Barack Hussein Obama, Eziekiel Emanuel, Steven Chu, John Holdren, etc….to make those decisions for you.
I recently was given a book called Little Masterpieces: Lincoln, which was published in 1907. (Yes, I handle it carefully.) It contains some of Lincoln’s speeches, some in their entirety, some excerpts, some of his correspondence, like the very moving letter to Mrs. Bixby, and a reconstruction of his so-called “lost speech”, given at the first Republican convention in spring of 1856. It is a “reconstruction”, because the reporters sent to cover it were reportedly so mesmerized that they didn’t make their own notes of the speech, and one of his fellow Illinois bar members took notes of the speech, from which the account is written.
Lincoln was against the ruling handed down in the Dred Scot case, and spent considerable time speaking about how it was wrong. One of the speeches included in this book is from a speech given at Springfield June 26, 1857 on the decision, describing how Chief Justice Taney’s ruling and justification based on the Declaration of Independence was wrong. One of the parts that I been dwelling on is this:
I think that the authors of this notable instrument intended to include all men, but that they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness in what respects they did consider all men equal with “certain inalienable rights, among which are life liberty, and the pursuit of hapiness.” This they said and this they meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth that were then enjoying that equality, nor yet that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact, they had no power to confer such a boon. They simply meant to declare the right, so that enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit.
I’m not sure that Lincoln and Obama would be on the same page with regard to this analysis.
I’m sure that Lincoln got it wrong.