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Mon Mar 28, 2016, 12:18 PM

Propaganda Debunking Group: Lincoln did not write the "10 Cannots"

Link to debunking at SNOPES

(The leaflet in question is usually claimed to be a 1942 publication by the Committee for Constitutional Government entitled "Lincoln on Limitation[s]," with the confusion in attribution coming about either because one version of the leaflet omitted Boetcker's name, because the printed credits mistakenly switched Boetcker's name with Lincoln's, or because readers glossed over Boetcker's unfamiliar name and mistakenly assumed all the material in the leaflet originated with the much more familiar figure of Abraham Lincoln.)

Once the runaway train of misattribution got rolling, there was no stopping it. As William Boetcker faded from public memory and Abraham Lincoln grew ever larger in American historical legend, few people had an interest or desire in setting the matter right ó in accordance with another principle set forth by Keyes: "If words we like can't be credited to someone we've heard of, they might as well not have been said at all."

From Wikipedia

An outspoken political conservative, Rev. Boetcker is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots that emphasizes freedom and responsibility of the individual on himself. Originally published in 1916, it is often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln. The error apparently stems from a leaflet printed in 1942 by a conservative political organization called the Committee for Constitutional Government. The leaflet bore the title "Lincoln on Limitations" and contained some genuine Lincoln quotations on one side and the "Ten Cannots" on the other, with the attributions switched. The genuine Lincoln quotations may have been from an address on March 21, 1864 in which Lincoln said "Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." [1] The mistake of crediting Lincoln for "The Ten Cannots" has been repeated many times since, notably by Ronald Reagan in his address to the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston.[2][3]

There are several minor variants of the pamphlet in circulation, but the most commonly accepted version appears below:
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

Boetcker also spoke of the "Seven National Crimes":[4]
I donít think.
I donít know.
I donít care.
I am too busy.
I leave well enough alone.
I have no time to read and find out.
I am not interested.

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