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Faker! Republican Allen West’s New Book Uses False Quotes from Founding Fathers

Former GOP member of the House of Representatives Allen West claims to know a lot about America’s founding fathers. His new book “Guardian of the Republic,” in fact, is filled with the sayings of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

The trouble is many of them are fake.

According to George Bennett, a staff writer for the Palm Beach Post, while several of the quotes in Henry’s new book are often attributed to great leaders, historians and researchers agree that the quotes are mis-attributed.

For example, West writes, “Thomas Jefferson said it first: ‘A government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it away.”

Jefferson, however, never said that, although a quick Google search shows that West is not alone in the mistake. Like many false quotables, it has been attributed to Jefferson before.

West also cites Lincoln, writing that the president said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

This line has also entered the popular culture as a Lincoln quote and even made it into the movie trailer for “White House Down.” But like West, the producers should have done their homework first. Lincoln never said that.

One quote West used in his book to prop up his claims even turns out to be an internet rumor of sorts.

In the book, West claims Patrick Henry said, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government,” but according to Henry biographer Thomas Kidd, not only did Henry not say that, but no one said it until quite recently, when it starting popping up on the internet attributed to Henry.

While it is likely West did not set out to put words in the founding fathers’ mouths  when West and co-author co-author Michele Hickford used them to support his book on West’s political philosophy, warrior code and experiences as a black conservative, there is a certain intellectually laziness implied when one claims to be a proponent and expert on the founding fathers and then fails to get the facts straight.

“If we admire these people,” Patrick Henry expert Kidd said, “then I think we should represent what they actually said.”

Photo Credit: Official Congressional Photo

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.