Lincoln, Mob Rule, and Steady Leadership

I spent a few hours last night tweeting excerpts from Lincoln’s 1838 speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum entitled, “The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions.” Lincoln recounted episodes of mob rule and the damage it causes to what he called the people’s “attachment” to their government.

I heard Lt. Governor Peter Kinder on the Sean Hannity Radio Show today (segment is at 16:49 of the 2nd hour), and he made a statement that put Lincoln’s views about trust and attachment to government into perspective. Regarding Missouri Governor Nixon’s statement that federal and state prosecutors should pursue a “vigorous prosecution,” he Lt. Governor Kinder said,

Missourians and Americans are looking to executive leaders like Governor Nixon to build confidence, not to tear that confidence down.

Hannity and the Lt. Governor went on to speculate that perhaps the Governor was attempting to quell the chaos by offering his statement. But rioters, who have determined they will not be restrained by the rule of law, will not be soothed by joining in their sentiments. Staying the course, when the course follows the rule of law and justice for all, even if doing so isn’t popular, is the only way to truly reduce tensions. A steady hand is always best in times of crisis.


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