Lincoln on Liberty and the Declaration of Independence

Today is the 207th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president. With the challenges our nation faces today, it is worthwhile to read what Lincoln had to say about the relationship between American freedom and our nation’s birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence. On August 17, 1858, Lincoln said:

"[T]he Fathers of the Republic ... said to the whole world of men: 'We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'

"This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures.

"Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.

"They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children's children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages ... so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built...." - Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

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