On March 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln remarked , "When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life." Later that year, he was elected to the presidency.
President Lincoln’s words in that speech showcased the American value of upward mobility. In sharp contrast to other western nations of the time, the United States was not married to a traditional caste system. Because of this shared ethos, the United States was — and […]