Did Abraham Lincoln really fool all of the people?

Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Well, can we prove that he really said that? Haha, any fool knows that the true sources of famous quotes are often difficult to track.

Although the legendary quote may make a wise point about lies in politics, it is unwise to assume it came from the sage mouth of our 16th president. Historians have been unable to confirm that Lincoln ever spoke those words. The first written reference that attributes the quote to Lincoln is in 1901 Abe Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories by Alexander K McClure. The author claims the president made the remark in casual conversation. The quote pops up again in a 1905 compilation book called Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln.

According to the most common story, Lincoln spoke these words on September 2, 1858, in a speech made in Clinton, Illinois. This was during the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, when the two contenders for an Illinois seat in the US Senate took part in eloquent political wrangling. A complete record of the speech does not exist, so no one can prove or disprove whether the future president ever said anything about the relative ease of foolery. The quote definitely does not appear in any of Lincoln’s writings.

Lincoln scholars generally deny that he is the true source of the quote, but others believe he may have said something like it in one of his speeches, and the words then became a sound bite. Whether Lincoln said it or not, the confusion over this quote does prove that unless you have it in writing nowadays, it’s difficult to fool anyone about anything.


Abraham Lincoln,Education,Fool all of the people,Quotes,Trivia