Abraham Lincoln Quote?
December 22, 2013 8:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a quote from Lincoln that essentially says, "If you want to see the leaders of the next generation, look to the children's schoolyard." Does anybody know that quote exactly and it's source?
posted by CollectiveMind to Education (4 answers total)
The quote you're thinking of is "The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next"

Though attributed to Lincoln, there's no proof he actually said it.
posted by BadgerDoctor at 9:15 PM on December 22, 2013

Are you sure that's what CollectiveMind is thinking of? Because those two quotes mean very different things, to my mind.
posted by jayder at 10:14 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Could you be thinking of "The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton"? It's similar too your quote, but doesn't have exactly the same meaning. Apparently, the Duke of Wellington did not really say it.
posted by Xalf at 6:01 AM on December 23, 2013

The version suggested by BadgerDoctor seems to have no citations to Lincoln prior to 1992 (when it got taken up by conservative evangelicals and repeated in a number of books) and none whatsoever before 1988, per Google Books, anyway.

There are also "Everything I needed to know in life I learned in kindergarten", and the alleged Jesuit maxim, "Give me a child until he is seven, and...."
* "...we care not who has him after."
* "...he is mine for life."
* "...I will give you the man." -- version popularized by the Up series

Anyway, you may well find a more exact quote, but not much of this sounds much like Lincoln to me -- especially since he grew up without formal education himself, not even the iconic one-room school.

There is, apparently, a spurious document attributed to Lincoln entitled "What is a boy?" that was popularized around 1940, possibly by Masons:

"A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. He is going to sit where you are sitting, and when you are gone; attend to those things, which you think are important. You may adopt all policies you please, but how they are carried out depends on him. He will assume control of your cities, states and nations. All your books are going to be judged, praised or condemned by him. The fate of humanity is in his hands. So it might be well to pay him some attention."
posted by dhartung at 10:00 PM on December 25, 2013

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