Lincoln’s Understanding of the Hired Laborer

“My understanding of the hired laborer is this: A young man finds himself of an age to be dismissed from parental control; he has for his capital nothing, save two strong hands that God has given him, a heart willing to labor, and a freedom to choose the mode of his work and the manner of his employer; he has got no soil nor shop, and he avails himself of the opportunity of hiring himself to some man who has capital to pay him a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work. He is benefited by availing himself of that privilege. He works industriously, he behaves soberly, and the result of a year or two’s labor is a surplus of capital. Now he buys land on his own hook; he settles, marries, begets sons and daughters, and in the course of time he too has enough capital to hire some new beginners.”

-Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

Quote Number: 564

Source: Lincoln, Abraham. “Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio.” Speech, Cincinnati, September 17, 1859. in The Gettysburg Address and Other Writings. Fall River Press: New York. 2010, Pg 118. Full speech online here

Source Notes:

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