These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.
—Abraham Lincoln, from his first speech as an Illinois state legislator, 1837
Everyone now is more or less a Socialist.
—Charles Dana, managing editor of the New York Tribune, and Lincoln’s assistant secretary of war, 1848
The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world.
—Karl Marx and the First International Workingmen’s Association to Lincoln, 1864
ON DECEMBER 3, 1861, a former one-term congressman, who had spent most of the past dozen years studying dissident economic theories, mounting challenges to the existing political order and proposing ever more radical responses to the American crisis, delivered his first State of the Union address as the sixteenth president of the United State.