Last night, Lara Trump carried on a venerable American tradition: misquoting the sixteenth president.
“Abraham Lincoln once famously said, ‘America will never be destroyed from the outside,’” she told viewers. “‘If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.’”
Well, no. He didn’t say that—at least not in those words. But he did express the same basic idea in 1838:
At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
More history flubs popped up in congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn’s remarks. “James Madison was just twenty-five years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence,” Cawthorn said. Madison didn’t sign the declaration at twenty-five or any other age.
Cawthorn also noted that George Washington received his first commission at a young age, although I’m not sure accidentally starting a world war is something one should aspire to.