Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Monday, March 02, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On March 2, 1839

On this day in 1839, Illinois State Legislator Abraham Lincoln wrote the following letter to one William Wait, a prominent (and likely wealthy) Democrat in Bond County, Illinois. The letter concerns the raising of taxes (on the land of the wealthy -- not the poor) to address the needs of the state treasury.

You have to admit... this is pretty amazingly relevant (and would choke most modern day Republicans!)

Lincoln's words "I believe it can be sustained, because it does not increase the tax upon the "many poor" but upon the "wealthy few" -- isn't this what Mr. Obama wants to do on a federal level?

What would Lincoln do? I suggest the answer lies in this letter. Read on:

Mr. William S. Wait: Vandalia, March 2. 1839

To William S. Wait

Sir: Your favour of yesterday was handed me by Mr. Dale. In relation to the Revenue law, I think there is something to be feared from the argument you suggest, though I hope the danger is not as you apprehend. The passage of a Revenue law at this session, is right within itself; and I never despair of sustaining myself before the people upon any measure that will stand a full investigation. I presume I hardly need enter into an argument to prove to you, that our old revenue system, raising, as it did, all the state revenue from non-resident lands, and those lands rapidly decreasing, by passing into the hands of resident owners, whiles the wants of the Treasury were increasing with the increase of population, could not longer continue to answer the purpose of it's creation. That proposition is little less than self-evident. The only question is as to sustaining the change before the people. I believe it can be sustained, because it does not increase the tax upon the "many poor'' but upon the "wealthy few'' by taxing the land that is worth $50 or $100 per acre, in proportion to its value, insted of, as heretofore, no more than that which was worth but $5 per acre. This valuable land, as is well known, belongs, not to the poor, but to the wealthy citizen.

On the other hand, the wealthy can not justly complain, because the change is equitable within itself, and also a sine qua non to a compliance with the Constitution. If, however, the wealthy should, regardless of the justness of the complaint, as men often are, when interest is involved in the question, complain of the change, it is still to be remembered, that they are not sufficiently numerous to carry the elections.

Very Respectfully A. LINCOLN

(The last sentence is priceless.)

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