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Answered 2012-11-29 20:17:40

This is commonly mis-attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but there's no evidence that he ever said it.

See here: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/07/14/life-years-count/

In conclusion, QI would tentatively credit Edward J. Stieglitz with the saying. However, it is possible that the statement was crafted by an advertising copywriter instead of Stieglitz himself. It is also possible that earlier instances exist that QI has not yet located.

Adlai Stevenson did use the saying on more than one occasion while giving speeches. The attachment to Lincoln is currently unsupported. The wording in the advertisement for the book by Stieglitz does differ somewhat from the version used by Stevenson, but the semantics and word-order reversal match.

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