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10 Cannot’s

Posted by Sandra on November 7, 2008

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

  • You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.

  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

  • You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.

  • You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

  • You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

  • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.


In case you were wondering, these pearls of wisdom were written by a man who saw them in action before our time. William J. H. Boetcker was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1873. He is well-known as one of the first motivational speakers, regarded as a forerunner for Tony Robbins. He was also a Presbyterian minister, and regularly used his morals and values as solid frameworks for his political ideas. He gained a reputation as a conservative speaker when he published the above “10 Cannot’s” in 1916. You may recognize them from Reagan’s 1992 Republican Convention speech.


One Response to “10 Cannot’s”

  1. Kathy said

    These are often frequently mis-attributed to Abe Lincoln. Financial counselor Dave Ramsey just read these off the other day and attributed them to Lincoln and was quickly corrected by several thousands of his listeners. 🙂

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