A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 06, 2012
“I am a firm believer in the people; if given the truth, they can meet any national crisis”

The following quotation, attributed to Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), has appeared on many websites:

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”

Lincoln never said those exact words. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) said in April 1944:

“Like Abraham Lincoln, I am a firm believer in the people, and, if given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring before them the real facts.”

MacArthur was possibly referencing Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, ending in the famous “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Lincoln did say a similar quotation—“I have faith in the people. They will not consent to disunion. The danger is, that they are misled. Let them know the truth and the country is safe.”

The “and beer” ending was added from about 2005.


Wikipedia: Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (26 January 1880 – 5 April 1964) was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army who was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign, which made him and his father Arthur MacArthur, Jr., the first father and son to be awarded the medal. He was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the U.S. Army, and the only man ever to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.

Google News Archive
14 April 1944, Tuscaloosa (AL) News, pg. 4, col. 2:
Getting Facts To The People
GEN. DOUGLAS MacARTHUR, while neatly side-stepping the issue of accepting or rejecting a presidential candidacy, did issue some first-class philosophy in replying to a letter from Nebraska’s Rep. A. L. Miller.

The Pacific commander replied to a letter from the congressman in which the legislator scored the New Deal’s centralization of power. MacArthur wrote:

“I appreciate very much your scholarly letter of Jan 27. Your description of conditions in the United States is a sobering one indeed and is calculated to arouse the thoughtful consideration of every true patriot.

“We must not inadvertently slip into the same condition internally as the one which we fight externally. Like Abraham Lincoln, I am a firm believer in the people, and, if given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring before them the real facts.”

24 April 1944, Time magazine, “The MacArthur Candidacy”:
General MacArthur again replied eloquently in an appreciative manner:

“I appreciate very much your scholarly letter. Your description of conditions in the United States is a sobering one indeed and is calculated to arouse the thoughtful consideration of every true patriot.

“We must not inadvertently slip into the same condition internally as the one which we fight externally. Like Abraham Lincoln, I am a firm believer in the people, and, if given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring before them the real facts.

“Out here we are doing what we can with what we have. I will be glad, however, when more substantial forces are placed at my disposition....”

7 February 2005, Great Falls (MT) Tribune, “On the Newsstand” by Stacy Haslem, pg. L1:
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts...and beer.” - Abraham Lincoln, as quoted in All About Beer magazine

DylanRatigan.com
“I am a firm believer in the people…”
December 7, 2010
“I am a firm believer in the people.  If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.  The great point is to bring them the real facts.” -Abraham Lincoln

Google Books
Crazy Sh*t Presidents Said:
The most surprising, shocking, and stupid statements ever made by U.S. presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama

By Robert Schnakenberg
Philadelphia, PA: Running Press
2012
Pg. 26:
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
-- ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Wikiquote: Talk:Abraham Lincoln
A firm believer
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
Certainly a great quote, but is it Lincoln’s?
Nahum Reduta (talk) 06:23, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Friday, July 06, 2012 • Permalink