Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What did President Lincoln say?

Over at The Strata-Sphere, AJStrata claims that the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, lambasts today's Democrats from his grave:
Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.
I guess this is only fair since just yesterday I, too, was quoting from Mr. Lincoln... only, in this case, not so fast AJ. Turns out your quote is an urban legend, albeit one that seems to have legs in this age of the Internet.

From FactCheck.org we learn that Lincoln didn't actually make this utterance. Turns out it was J. Michael Waller in an article he wrote back in 2003. Wrote Dr. Waller to the folks at FactCheck.org:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct this important issue. The supposed quote in question is not a quote at all, and I never intended it to be construed as one. It was my lead sentence in the article that a copy editor mistakenly turned into a quote by incorrectly inserting quotation marks.

Additionally, I filed my story with the lead sentence ending in the words "Civil War," which my southern editor switched to "War Between the States."

Oddly, you are the first to question me about this . I'm surprised it has been repeated as often as you say. My editors at the time didn't think it was necessary to run a correction in the following issue of the magazine, and to my knowledge we received no public comment. The magazine is no longer being published.

Again, thank you for asking about this and for providing the opportunity to correct it.
So, AJ, while you're in the company of more than 18,000 other folks on the big, wide Internet, you missed the boat on this one.

Better luck next time, eh? In the mean time, try some vetted quotes from President Lincoln.

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