This is also a phrase that Abraham Lincoln used in an address against slavery. A Speech which was recently given again by an actor to a live audience in some large city in the Northeast (Boston?). Check the Associated Press archives, as it was recently run in the newspapers.
Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion For God and Country we associate ourselves together for the following purposes:
to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community,state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.
Posts: 4 | Location: rochester mn usa | Registered: 09-18-03
As a follow-up, I guess it was actually 'right makes might' that Lincoln said, rather than the other way around. Even so, here's more detail: The speech, against the expansion of slavery, was given by Abe Lincoln on 27 February 1860, at Cooper Union's Great Hall, in New York. They say it is the speech that made Lincoln president.
The quote comes from the following passage: "Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."
The actor that recently re-enacted the speech was Sam Waterson, and I believe it was done at Cooper Union on Wednesday, 5 May 2004.
Ironically, it was Lincoln who did more to seriously undermine, if not destroy, the founders' ideas of and constitutional provisions of states rights during the course of his presidency than most previous to, or since (until, perhaps the last few administrations) -- which would prove the concept that might makes right.