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Non-Lincoln "You Cannot" QuotationThese sentiments were created by the Rev. William J. H. Boetcker, who lectured around the United States about industrial relations at the turn of the twentieth century. There is no evidence linking them to Lincoln as the author.
At one time President Ronald Reagan used them in a speech, wrongly attributing them to Lincoln. Those who are familiar with Lincoln's writings recognize that these statements do not reflect Lincoln's "voice," nor can they be found in any authentic Lincoln literature.
You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
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