Abraham Lincoln on public relations

Abraham Lincoln: "Public sentiment is everything."
Abraham Lincoln: “Public sentiment is everything.”

Abraham Lincoln may have died half a century before the birth of the public relations industry, but a quote of his I came across today could have been written as a defence of it.

Debating with the Democrat politician Stephen Douglas in 1858, Lincoln said:

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.

It is a quote I wasn’t previously aware of but, for those of us who work in public relations, I think it is worth remembering.

Public relations often has a bad reputation. But this gets across, perhaps better than any other quote I can think of, why virtually every successful organisation understands that they cannot do without it.

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