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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Timely Quote of the Day

A good, even important read from Abraham Lincoln and our nation's history. Very timely, I think, what with our new President's actions of these last 2 weeks of his very new Presidency.

Abraham Lincoln's Lyceum Address

lyceum address
Abraham Lincoln's Lyceum Address was delivered to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838, titled "The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions."  Here's the quote.

"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 character 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."


Sevesteen said...


One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

Mo Rage said...

An example?

Sevesteen said...

we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."

That's a link to Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail, where my first comment came from.

Mo Rage said...

That you are or would take up the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mantle in this argument stuns me.

You're white, right? And you don't feel you have some nerve quoting and using him for your defense here?

Just wondering.

What laws are unjust that effect you that are unfair or grossly so, as a white man?

Sevesteen said...

What laws are unjust that effect you that are unfair or grossly so, as a white man?

Wow. I should only be concerned with injustice to white men?

The laws that King and his followers resisted were unjust. White men should have resisted them as well, and obviously some did. I'm glad King was successful enough that I never had to resist these laws, but that doesn't change the obligation to resist when necessary. I think it is likely that Trump will make regulations that I will be morally obligated to resist.

But Lincoln's address here is talking to citizens, not the President. I would agree that the President has a much higher obligation to follow the law, and a much higher bar before disobeying an unjust law.

Mo Rage said...

No, my point was that, as a white man, you're in no way concerned, suddenly, with the plight of the black man---or any other minority, for that matter--in the US.

"White men should have resisted them as well..." referring to the laws set up at the time---but of course, those laws were set by the white men and they were set for the benefit of the white men. Naturally they had to resist them. Heck, they're still having to fight them. There's no better example than the "stop and frisk" laws we've talked about at times and that some people are still trying to have implemented now.

And you're absolutely correct about the President, at any given time, let alone now, having a much higher obligation to follow the law. Very unlike Richard Nixon's claim that "if the President does it, naturally it's already legal", paraphrased.