Lessons From Lincoln
Editor of National Review Magazine
Lincoln was a proponent of markets, individual achievement and personal responsibility. He embraced economic dynamism and development. He rejected populist demagoguery directed at corporations and banks and, in fact, worked as a lawyer for the biggest corporation in the state, the Illinois Central Railroad. He warned against class warfare and made working for your own living — and not off the work of others — one of his bedrock principles. He considered property rights sacrosanct and called patent law one of the greatest inventions of all time. He revered the Founders and their principles. All of these elements of his politics were at play in his struggle to end the rural backwardness in which he had grown up and — more importantly — to end slavery, which as “unrequited toil” offended his sense of basic justice and natural rights. Without understanding these fundamental commitments of Lincoln, you can’t understand him as a figure or the DNA of the Republicans party.