“If we except the light and the air of heaven, no good thing has been or can be enjoyed by us without having first cost labor. And inasmuch as most good things are produced by labor, it follows that all such things of right belong to those whose labor has produced them. But it has so happened, in all the ages of the world, that some have labored, and others have without labor enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible, is a worthy object of any good government.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Reader Bill Chase wrote me that “The National Archives official also included a parenthetical note at the end of the document, in [Robert Todd] Lincoln’s hand: “the foregoing scraps…were written by Lincoln between his election to Congress in 1846, and taking his seat in Dec. 1847.” He says it was printed in a manual he was given when working as a civil servant in the 1940s, but later was excised.