10 Tenets of Conservatism

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by: the Common Constitutionalist

There is a list of ten statements beginning with “You cannot …” that are popularly attributed to Honest Abe Lincoln.

The 10 “Cannots” are simple in their brilliance.

They sound like statements Lincoln would have penned and are frequently quoted and attributed to him.

However, Lincoln didn’t write them. They were authored in 1916 by the Rev. William J. H. Boetcker, a Presbyterian clergyman and pamphlet writer.

In 1942 the Committee for Constitutional Government, a lobby backed by the newspaper publisher Frank Gannett, distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of a leaflet with an authentic Lincoln quote on one side entitled, “Lincoln on Limitations.” On the reverse was a list of Boetcker’s maxims, properly attributed in a footnote.

Somehow, Boetker’s words came to be ascribed to Lincoln. In 1949 an Ohio congresswoman, Frances P. Bolton, read them as Lincoln’s into the Congressional Record. Look magazine reprinted them with the suggestion that “Its about time for the country to remember.”

Attempting to correct the record, Rep. Stephen M. Young inserted into the Congressional Record, in 1950, an article from Harper’s magazine, written by a Lincoln scholar, Albert A. Wolman, listing most of the ”Ten Cannots” and other material falsely attributed to Lincoln.

The 10 Cannots:

1)You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

2)You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

3)You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

4)You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

5)You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.

6)You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

7)You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

8)You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

9)You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence.

10)You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

Maybe this should be the new “Contract with America”?

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

One comment on “10 Tenets of Conservatism

  1. Pingback: For the 2016 Election - Time to Revisit the 10 Cannots - Perot Report

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