One of Abraham Lincoln’s first major speeches, the Lyceum Address, was a warning to America that rings truer yet today.
Americans are blessed to have inherited so much from the Founders including guarantees of liberty more “than any of which the history of former times tells us,” Lincoln said in 1838.
Americans’ obligation, he said, was to show, “gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general.” That would be the formula for a young nation to thrive.
In 2020, we find ourselves asking: What are the greatest dangers we face? How do we recognize them? How do we overcome them?
Our 16th president, a visionary, saw the threat not from external forces but from within.
“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher,” he said.
The greatest threat to United States is lawlessness and mob rule, he said. “I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice.”