Monday, February 15, 2021

Quote of the Day (Abraham Lincoln, on Influencing People Through ‘Kind Unassuming Persuasion’)

“When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and true maxim that 'a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.' So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing him of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause is really a good one. On the contrary, assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart; and though your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and though you throw it with more than herculean force and precision, you shall be no more able to pierce him than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw. Such is man, and so must he be understood by those who would lead him, even to his own best interests.”—Future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), “Address Before the Springfield Washingtonian Temperance Society,” Feb. 22, 1842, in The Papers and Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume One: Constitutional Edition, edited by Arthur Brooks Lapsley (1905)

Unfortunately, this sound advice was ignored by too many of Lincoln’s countrymen in his own time—and, I’m afraid, events are proving, in our own.

Happy Presidents Day!

No comments: