Abraham Lincoln 's Lyceum Speech

822 WordsJul 2, 20154 Pages
In Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum speech given in 1838, he instructs the audience how perpetuate our political institutions. How do we keep our country united? “The answer is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty…swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.” But what about bad or unjust laws? “[I]f they exist, [they]should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force, for the sake of example, they should be religiously observed.” Herbert Croly criticized the "righteous expression" of law in 1914, that aligned the rule of law with religious duty. That disobeying or criticizing the legal system was akin to sinning against God. This religious attitude towards law limits reform and slows down reform. These two examples show some of the differing opinions about the Rule of Law between the Founders view and the Progressives. Included with the goals of Progressive reform, were relaxing the strict adherence to the Federal Constitution 's emphasis on rule of law and the traditional jurisprudence practiced by the courts. Many Progressives, thought that the law no longer kept up with the changing culture. Croly compared the constitution to a tyrannical monarch, imposed upon the people by a select few who drew up the Constitution. "The Constitution was really king. [U]nquestioning obedience was erected into the highest political virtues" (Croly,
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