May 12, 2007

The Quote Shelf

Medieval text with Latin script A frequent feature on this site; feel free to comment on the quote or to supply a competing quote.

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose—and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, to-day, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, “I see no probability of the British invading us” but he will say to you “be silent; I see it, if you dont. --Abraham Lincoln


Kevin Barbieux said...

Where did you get this quote from?

historymike said...

Hi Kevin:

It was quoted in an article by David Mervin in the Journal of American Studies.

microdot said...

Interestingly, some of the most prescient comments about the dangers of the abuses of power in government have come from our greatest presidents. Remember Eisenhowers parting address in which he warns of the rise of the Military Industrial Complex and it's threat to Democracy.

Geoff Elliott said...

I believe the Lincoln quote is from his single term as a U.S. Congressman in 1846. His first speech in Congress was made in opposition to President James Polk's drumbeat for war with Mexico.

Unfortunately, of course, Lincoln's opposition had no effect on the unjustified war with Mexico.

History repeats itself.

Geoff Elliott

The Abraham Lincoln Blog