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Obama: Lincoln Launched the Era of Big Government

Abraham Lincoln saved the Union and freed the slaves, but President Obama Thursday night claimed an achievement for the great man almost as dear to the hearts of liberals: That he began the modern era of big government.

Here’s what Obama said:

We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party. But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future — a Republican President who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad — (applause) — launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land grant colleges.  (Applause.) And leaders of both Parties have followed the example he set.

Well, if only it were true that leaders of both Parties – including Obama – had actually followed the example Lincoln set!

Unlike the programs of the New Deal, the Great Society, and the trillions in new debt Obama himself has racked up, the Transcontinental Railroad did not cost the government a cent, because it was financed by bonds that the railroads paid back, with interest. It may even have saved the government substantial amounts of money by reducing the cost of postal service.

The establishment of the National Academy of Sciences hardly represents an epiphany on the part of Lincoln that government should be “mobilized” on any kind of grand scale. And Lincoln agreed to it at least in part to spur the development of inventions to be used in the Civil War effort.

Sounds more like something Dick Cheney would do.

Similarly, the land grant colleges were to be established in part to teach military tactics. Though this was not their primary purpose, it surely offered some inducement for Lincoln to sign the bill creating them. And the legislation provided for a grant of federal land to the states, empowering the states to sell land to fund their own universities. It was hardly an expansion of federal power.

To suggest from these examples that Lincoln envisioned anything like the role of the federal government we have today is, at best, misleading.

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43 Responses to Obama: Lincoln Launched the Era of Big Government

  1. All the Republican candidates like to quote Reagan at the debates. If Reagan was still alive, I think he would say this:
    “President Obama, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the United States and the free world, if you seek liberalization, come here to this business. Mr. Obama, open this business. Mr. Obama, tear down these regulations!”

  2. I just have to say this. As much as I can not stand this poser, it really bothers me that he goes all over the place, exposing himself. He has pissed off a lot of Americans, and some of them are crazier than he is. Sometimes, when he references Abe Lincoln, I cannot help thinking that he actually hopes that someone takes a shot at him. If there were an attempt on his life, it would prove just how right Wright is, and how wrong America is. White guilt got him in office: imagine what he could do if there was an attempt at his life? I pray to the Good Lord that he is voted out of office with narry a scratch, and relegated to the pages of history as the worst president that we have ever had. In this way he will not get his way. Because I swear it seems like he is daring somebody to really try to turn him into a Lincoln. And it makes me sick: I believe that that’s how much he hates this country, and every American in it.

  3. Don’t forget that the Transcontinental Railroad could also have been used to bring troops from the western states to the east if the war had lasted even longer. So it was also important to the war effort.

  4. It’s hard keeping all of those senior memory cells in order because I remember he thought he was MLK or was it JFK or PrezReagan, and his wife was the “new” JackieO, too. What other people say is that he is the new PrezCarter and his wife is the new French aristocrat.

    MrO forgot the plan that A.Lincoln had for the end of the Civil War; it was his hope to return all of the freed slaves back to Africa.

  5. The way things are going and the use of President Lincoln’s achievements last night by Obama reminded of a President Lincoln quote:

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

    Abraham Lincoln

  6. So, it’s a good thing, then, to have big government?

    And President Lincoln also, along with a declaring martial law, ordered the suspension of the constitutionally protected right to writs of habeas corpus in 1861.

    Is that something else we have to look forward to?

    • dont give Obama any ideas! :-(

      …sounds the Obama admin. might? have pulled a “fake” terrorist threat just after his pathetic speech last night to quickly distract everyone from how worthless the speech was.

  7. I think what Obama meant was “we all remember Lincoln as the man who and waged an unnecessary war against the states that refused to accept that the federal government reins supreme, suspended habeus corpus and other constitutional protections, banned the ownership of firearms to southerners, sent troops in to burn down every city that opposed him and imposed an occupying military in those states. Remember that, cuz that’s what I have coming for you.”

  8. the Transcontinental Railroad did not cost the government a cent, because it was financed by bonds that the railroads paid back, with interest.

    You’re kidding, of course. The eastern leg of the TCR went through bankruptcy.

    • The important point is that this was not set up as a government spending program or one that would cost the government money. But in any case, the government was indeed repaid in full with interest after the bankruptcy.

  9. Re: Railroad
    As I interpret it Obama is trying to link himself to Lincoln who was a man of vision Therefore Obama is a man of vision too. The history of Lincoln’s time was at that time there was a big push to extent the railroad from the East Coast to California. The push came about in 1857 with the sinking of the SS. Central America. At that time Californian gold was shipped to Panama, shipped overland and then reloaded on the SS Central America which took it to New York. The ship was caught in a Category 2 hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas. .Over 400 passengers and crew were lost. 30,000 pound of gold went down.. This event brought about the Panic of 1857. People knew a railroad was needed. .

  10. What President Obama forgot to mention was that before his presidency, Lincoln was a very well paid lobbyist and attorney for the thriving and very profitable railroads, and ramming the railroad bill through Congress was payback for support. He forgot to mention that there were four trans-continentals, and only three of them were given grants and heavy subsidies. The fourth, James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railroad was built without using the army to massacre Indian populations or being granted millions of acres of free land and subsidies in the form of low-interest loans. While the other three were mired in corruption and extreme inefficiency, Hill’s railroad was the only one that didn’t go bankrupt in the economic downturn of the 1890s. So much for needing government to create human progress.”

  11. Did Obama ever read or study “US History” as an undergrad at “Columbia Univ.”??? I understand Obama and his arrogant, smart ass liberal elitists hate US History & Traditions… but come on! Obama is now dragging Lincoln’s name thru his political b.s… what a shame.
    I would sure like to see Barack Hussein Obama’s “college transcripts” and see what Obama studied to claim Lincoln supported big govt.
    Why is NO ONE (hey you in the MEDIA) allowed to ask about Obama’s “college years”?
    I apply for a US Govt. job and I have to send in multiple, offical copies of my college transcripts… soooo where are Obama’s? If he is such a genius! & messiah! I figure everyone would be sooo proud of his college records…

  12. Interesting link on Drudge this morning. Obama made a error in history, by saying that Lincoln founded the Republican party. Not a peep from the Politburo about it and PBS went so far as to edit the mistake out of the official transcript. Can you imagine him getting the same treatment Sarah Palin got about Paul Revere? Not from this country’s sycophant, lying MSM for sure…

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/09/pbs_alters_transcript_to_hide_obama_gaffe.html

  13. The Transcontinental Railroads (yes there were more than one) was the first big financial bubble, an example of hot house capitalism to rival the recent housing crash.

    The owners of the road never put up a dime of their own money. The roads were financed with an array of financial instruments. Government bonds, government secured railroad bonds, and convertible bonds. There were 1st and 2nd mortgage bonds, as well as branch and trunk line mortgage bonds. There were land grant bonds and income bonds.

    Most of these bonds, when not gifted to congressmen and other influential individuals, were purchased by small investors who had no idea if what they were buy. It is estimated the promoters at the the financial house of Credit Mobiler turned as much as a 640% profit between 1864 and 1869. By 1873 they were bankrupted and under investigation.

    Historically there is a Abraham Lincoln connection. During the Civil War Lincoln proposed a continental railroad to tie California to the Union. It was military objective. By the time it was being built the war was over and it was a road to nowhere. Most of the transcontinentals went broke, the real money had been in bond speculation all along.

    Suggested reading: Railroaded, by Richard White.