In Edwin Markham’s paean to Lincoln, he is called a “Man of the People” formed from the “tried clay of the common road.”

Qualifications of Office

In Edwin Markham’s paean to Lincoln, he is called a “Man of the People” formed from the “tried clay of the common road.”

His family was impoverished, his step-mother signed her name with an “X,” and he had to educate himself.

The clay from which he came was common folk who knew him intimately and, like the soldiers who chose him to be their captain, lined up behind him in numerous elections that brought him to power.

Increasingly after WWII, about the only way people in the suburbs could learn about candidates was by television, which ended the power of big city political bosses and “ward heelers” picking presidential candidates in “smoked-filled back rooms” at national conventions.

Richard Nixon picked veteran LA ad executive H.R. Haldeman to handle his campaigns.

Before, the 1960 election, parties picked candidates: after, candidates picked party leaders and platforms.

Parties lost their ability to control sitting presidents like Nixon who wandered into illegal activities.

Voters no longer knew candidates — forced instead to vote for the mythical characters created by the media. [1]

Who knew that JFK, the hero of the “Camelot” myth largely created by Jackie, received injections of painkiller mixed with an unknown substance that gave him a noticeable “boost” and spent most noon hours in the White House pool with “Fiddle” and “Faddle,” young female aides? [2]

Today, Lincoln could probably not be elected.

Less than 3 percent of Americans are millionaires but constitute a super-majority in the Senate, a majority in the House, a majority on the Supreme Court, and have a man in the White House.

A majority of us are working-class, but since the start of the 20th century, have never held more than 2 percent of the seats in Congress.

Everywhere we look in government, almost no one with personal experience in working-class jobs has a seat at the table. [3]

Lincoln was eminently qualified for the presidency.

He had actually DONE something in life relevant to the presidency.

He had held a succession of jobs including entrepreneur, small businessman, attorney, and legislator at all levels of government, and as such advocated policies he continued to support as president.

Today, we elect people put forward by contributors and handlers and voted for by citizens primarily because of their name recognition, appearance, speaking ability and mythical qualities.

Laissez-Faire Myth

During WWII, Frank Bourgin worked on his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, the quintessential conservative university.

As for the “intent” of the Founding Fathers, some think is the only guide to current court cases, they had vastly differing intentions which they resolved by compromises that were baked into the Constitution.

As for pledges taken before attending the Constitutional Convention, they came assigned to amend the Articles and began the proceedings by junking them and creating a new Constitution.

They did not subscribe to the John Locke’s idea that the “government that governs least governs best” or they would simply not have come to Philadelphia and left the Articles in place.

They didn’t come to create a weak central government or president because the Revolution had almost failed because the Articles of Confederation had no Executive or power to tax.

Washington’s troops were perpetually short of food, clothes and ammunition, which Congress couldn’t fix without the power to tax.

They couldn’t stop the slave trade without the power to control interstate commerce, which they solved with Article III, Sec.8.

“Bourgin’s research uncovered and documented a positive government policy in the first forty years of the republic using national power and resources for national purposes with long-term goals. He debunked the cherished national myth of revisionist historians that our nation began without significant federal government support. The nation’s growth occurred not by a ‘hands off’ policy but because of a strong and active partnership between the public and private sectors. The American founders believed in affirmative government.” [4]

We should govern our affairs by the TRUE original intent of the Founding Fathers.


Historians agree that Lincoln is the greatest president in U.S. history followed by Washington and Franklin Roosevelt.


It is not because of a PR myth or revisionist history but because of their many good laws.

Washington was instrumental in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, FDR in the “100 days” of new acts that fixed many of the weaknesses in government revealed by the Great Depression.

Lincoln fashioned the astounding blueprint of modern America of continental breadth, rapid communication, networked transportation, widespread education, industrial might, and high finance.

He passed landmark laws that spurred America’s transition from an agrarian to an industrial society.

The Homestead Act opened the West to settlement. Creating the USDA helped them farm.

The Morrill Act created public higher education for those settlers, and the Transcontinental Railroad Acts provided the fast and economical movement of people and products need to create the national markets required for mass production.

The National Banking Act provided the credit and currency required for the Industrial Revolution here.

The National Science Academy supported research underlying improved productivity and.

A great friend of business, he gave God the credit in our money [,“In God We Trust”] and established a national day of Thanksgiving, which we celebrated this week.

[1] White, Theodore, “Breach of Faith,” 1975.

[2] Hersch, Seymour M., “The Dark Side of Camelot,” NY: Little Brown, 1997, pp234cf.

[3] Carnes, Nicholas, “Which Millionaire Are You voting For?,” NYT, Oct.14, 2012.

[4] Bourgin, Frank, “the Great Challenge: The Myth of Laissez-Faire in the Early Republic, NY: Harper and Row, 1989.

[5] Von Drehle , David, “Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year,” NY: Henry Holt, 2012, pp6-7

[6] Friedman, Thomas L., Michael Mandelbaum, “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind In the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back,” NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011.