From remarks made Nov. 19 by housing secretary Jack Kemp before the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania in commemoration of the Gettysburg Address:
Lincoln's Homestead Act of 1862 gave 160 acres to any poor family who wanted to carve their share of the American dream out of the wilderness.
It was one of the most popular measures in American history -- and today it is the source of inspiration for a new homesteading program in urban America. We in the Bush administration will provide any resident of public housing the same kind of opportunity to control, manage, and ultimately own his or her very own home.
Yet the Homestead Act did not enhance and empower government. It enhanced and empowered people. It not only emancipated the economy, it helped emancipate the poor from poverty and government dependency. Today, turning low-income people into property owners is the next vital step in combating the conditions of poverty and making democracy work.
Mr. Lincoln would not offer government as the first alternative for dealing with problems. He would focus government action where it could be used best: to break down barriers to freedom and opportunity... .
One hundred and twenty-seven years after Gettysburg, Lincoln's belief that all human beings are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights ... is beginning to prevail around the world... .
As Americans, we cannot rest until the blessings we enjoy are shared by all. Let us fulfill our nation's destiny by making Mr. Lincoln's great proposition of democracy -- set forth on this battlefield -- into a self-evident truth for every man, woman and child on this Earth.