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Book Chapter

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Department 1

Civil War Era Studies

Department 2



“Justice and fairness” has become something of a mantra ever since presidential candidate Barack Obama told Joe the plumber that his hope was to “spread the wealth around” so that the economy is “good for everybody.” The plumber, Samuel Wurzelbacher, was less than thrilled by the implications of spreading the wealth, since his fear was that much of the wealth the president-to-be proposed to spread around was the plumber’s. But that has done nothing to give pause to President Obama’s determination to answer the “call to justice and fairness.” In his 2009 Lincoln’s Birthday speech in Abraham Lincoln’s hometown of Springfield, Illinois, the president described justice and fairness—the “sense of shared sacrifice and responsibility for ourselves and one another”—as “the very definition of being American.” [excerpt]

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