Wednesday, June 17, 2009

House Divided Speech (1858)

We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places, and by different workmen- Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance-and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly matte the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different l pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece. too many or too few,-not omitting even scaffolding-or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in-in such a case we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was struck.

Lincoln's "framed timbers" analogy


  1. I am not familiar with this speech. But this excerpt makes it seem convoluted and/or wordy. Is the entire speech like this?

  2. Speeches in those days tended to run for 3 hours, so yes it is quite wordy. I wouldn't say it is convoluted though, and I thought the analogy was apt, given he was addressing a frontier audience.