— Theodore Parker
Context: There is what I call the American idea. I so name it, because it seems to me to lie at the basis of all our truly original, distinctive, and American institutions. It is itself a complex idea, composed of three subordinate and more simple ideas, namely: The idea that all men have unalienable rights; that in respect thereof, all men are created equal; and that government is to be established and sustained for the purpose of giving every man an opportunity for the enjoyment and development of all these unalienable rights. This idea demands, as the proximate organization thereof, a democracy, that is, a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people; of course, a government after the principles of eternal justice, the unchanging law of God; for shortness' sake, I will call it the idea of Freedom.
The American Idea https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Discourses_of_Slavery/Speech_in_Boston,_May_29,_1850,_on_Slave_Power_in_America, a speech at New England Anti-Slavery Convention, Boston (29 May 1850)
Variant : This is what I call the American idea of freedom — a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people; of course, a government of the principles of eternal justice — the unchanging law of God.
As quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern (1891) by Tryon Edwards, p. 17; an earlier statement of such sentiments was made by Benjamin Disraeli in Vivian Grey (1826), Book VI, Ch. 7: "all power is a trust; that we are accountable for its exercise; that from the people and for the people all springs, and all must exist." Parker was also very likely familiar with Daniel Webster's statements referring to "The people's government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people" in a speech on Foot's Resolution (26 January 1830); the most famous use of such phrasing came in Abraham Lincoln's, Gettysburg Address (19 November 1863) when using words probably inspired by Parker's he declared: "we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Fifty eight years later, in 1921, Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), Founder of Modern China, credited Lincoln's immortal words as the inspiration of his Three Principles of the People (三民主义) articulated in a speech delivered on March 6, 1921, at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National People’s Party in Guangzhou. The Three Principles of the People are still enshrined in the Constitution of Taiwan. According to Lyon Sharman, "Sun Yat-sen: His Life and Its Meaning, a Critical Biography" (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1934), Dr. Sun wrote that his own three principles “correspond with the principles stated by President Lincoln—‘government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ I translated them into … the people (are) to have . . . the people (are) to govern and . . . the people (are) to enjoy.”