Lincoln’s advanced views of the rights of labor

According to Merrill Peterson via

It was easy to understand Lincoln’s appeal to social radicals, said [socialist William J.] Ghent, for he held very advanced views of the rights of labor. As early as 1847 he had written, “To secure to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government,” which was remarkable for a prairie lawyer of that time. Speaking in New England in 1860, he praised the right to strike, as then being exercised by the shoemakers of Lynn. His clear assertion of the labor theory of value in the 1861 message — “Labor is prior to, and . . . superior to capital” — and his answers to the addresses of workingmen abroad and at home gave a color of Marxism to his thinking. He was, surely, the best friend labor ever had in the White House.


1 Comment

  1. According to Abraham Lincoln in the seventh Lincoln Douglas debate (Alton, Illinois, USA) on October 15, 1858

    It is the eternal struggle between these two principles—right and wrong—throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, ‘You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.’ No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.


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