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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fake Lincoln Quotes on Twitter

Previous posts have looked at fake quotations.  As noted, the Lincoln movie is giving rise to a new burst.  Twitter is full of bogus Lincoln, and here are a couple of examples:

A member of the Dutch parliament enlists the American President in the cause of animal rights:

There is no evidence that Lincoln said anything like that -- or even that he ever thought such a thing.  From The Center for Consumer Freedom:
Beginning with the 1985 publication of The Extended Circle: A Dictionary of Humane Thought (below, the same book that first flubbed the Da Vinci quote), animal activists have been using and abusing this supposed utterance of Honest Abe — proudly plastering it on shirts and coffee mugs, and citing it in letters to newspaper editors:
from page 179, "The Extended Circle: A Dictionary of Humane Thought"It would make a compelling story if the Great Emancipator had actually advocated extending his landmark freedom ethos to other species. But he never did. This week we called the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to see if their research staff could authenticate the "quote." Searching Lincoln’s near-comprehensive Collected Works, they found exactlyzero mentions of “animal rights.”
We’re not the only ones who suspected post-mortem ventriloquism. The eminent Lincoln scholars Don and Virginia Fehrenbacher have written about it in their Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln. They cite this quote as one of the “undocumented quotations … attaching themselves to Lincoln and gaining currency through repetition.” But they found “no credible evidence”that he ever uttered or wrote these words., an official government portal, has this line:

It's a folksy line, but it's not Lincoln's The Quote Investigator finds that it was a 20th century invention.

This tweet links to this quotation:

The words "of the people..." are from the Gettysburg Address.  But the rest of the quotation is fake.  Lincoln could not possibly have said it because the word "hijack" did not appear in the English language until 1923 -- 58 years after his death.