the everyday read

The last paragraph of Lincoln’s great speech at Gettysburg, because that’s the core, the direct and unambiguous “of, by, and for the people“:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

J. Brooks Spector:

So we’ve made you read how Abraham Lincoln grasped both the moment and eternity, simultaneously, when he spoke of a generation lost in battle.

Government officials… could do a great deal worse than read – every day – Lincoln’s lesson on the ultimate purposes of government, any government.