Fake Lincoln Quotes
In his new book Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the Rich, Kevin Phillips fell for one of the numerous bogus Lincoln quotes that fill the literature on The Great Emancipator. The historian Paul Kennedy fell for it, too, in his review of the Phillips book in the New York Times.
The bogus quotation is: “The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace, and it conspires against it in times of adversity. It’s more despotic than monarchy. It’s more insolent than autocracy. It’s more selfish than bureaucracy…. Corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow….”
Phillips thought he could attach the moral authority of Lincoln to the theme of his book, but as historian Matthew Pinkser wrote on the website, History News Network, on June 3, the quote is nowhere in Lincoln’s collected works, and his official biographer called it “a bold, unblushing forgery.”
That same statement is true of a great many other supposed Lincoln quotations in the literature. In his 1989 book, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (Oxford University Press), Paul F. Boller, Jr., devotes the better part of a chapter to fake Lincoln quotes…..
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