Saturday, March 20, 2010

Calling All Anti-Revisionists

He Never Said It. Quick---somebody write a book or make a video.


Brad Hart said...

Funny stuff! I'm posting this on my Facebook.

BTW, on a side note, aren't you the guy who claims to hate this kind of stuff? You know, the guy who "soars" above politics?

Tom Van Dyke said...

It was the gander to the goose of so many comments of late, Brad, I couldn't resist. [Plus, as a matter of coincidence, Boller was the contradicting source.]

I intentionally left the partisan details off the mainpage, as he wasn't my target. If I have a point---and I do---it's that the unwitting use of apocryphal quotes is quite common, and doesn't make a person dishonest.

However, for those who seem to get upset about such things, I fully expect them to roll into action on this one, post haste.

jimmiraybob said...

“I am not bound to win, but I’m bound to be true. I’m not bound to succeed, but I’m bound to live up to what light I have.” – Obama, 2010

The quote may have originated in the Congressional Record (1907, v. 41, p. 4176) which is the earliest that I found it:

“He was always true to his political faith, true to •the fundamental teachings of the fathers of the Republic, true to the men who were striving to do right. In one of his speeches he said :

"'I am not bound to win, but I am hound to be true. I am not: bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have. I must stand with everybody that stands right; stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.'

"What a noble sentiment!"

- although this appears to be an entry into the record that may have an earlier source.

There are a number of other appearances starting shortly afterword, including, The Catholic World (March 1922, v. 114, p. 140) and it even appears in The Scoutmaster Minute (2005, p. 12).

The second part of the Congressional Record “quote” appears to come from Lincoln's Speech at Peoria Oct. 16, 1854"

"Some men, mostly Whigs, who condemn the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, nevertheless, hesitate to go for its restoration, lest they be thrown in company with the abolitionist. Will they allow me as an old Whig to tell them good humoredly, that I think this is very silly? Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong. Stand with the abolitionist in restoring the Missouri Compromise; and stand against him when he attempts to repeal the fugitive slave law. In the latter case you stand with the southern disunionist. What of that? You are still right. In both cases you are right. In both cases you oppose the dangerous extremes. In both you stand on middle ground and hold the ship level and steady. In both you are national and nothing less than national. This is good old Whig ground. To desert such ground, because of any company, is to be less than a Whig – less than a man – less than and American."

- The Living Lincoln: The Man and His Times, in His Own Words by Paul M. Angle (Editor), Earl Schenck Miers (Editor). August 1992. 673pp.

Ultimately, the quote in question may have started in the Congressional Record and it may be accurate although I couldn't find it with the little bit of Googling that I did before coffee this morning.

So, is this a condemnation of someone using a questionable quote? No. It's a confirmation that people should care that the historical record remains as true to objective facts as possible.

And yes, you can find it at brainy quotes too.