Did Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the U.S., advise the public on how to predict the future by suggesting that they should create it, instead? No, that's not true: The quote is not authentic, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library confirmed to Lead Stories.
The claim reappeared in a post published on Facebook on March 9, 2023. Its caption said:
Lincoln really did say it best!
The post showed an image of Lincoln and a quote:
"The best way to predict your future is to create it"
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of the writing of this fact check:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Mar 10 16:30:34 2023 UTC)
The claim that these are Lincoln's words has circulated on Facebook before -- for example, in the summer of 2019. But the claim's history goes back stil further.
In 2018, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his State of the State address, suggesting that the sentence in question was an authentic quote. At the time, Illinois Public Media reported that no historic records support the governor's statement. The outlet pointed out that Rauner was not the only politician to misquote Lincoln: Ronald Reagan did it, too.
Australian Associated Press pointed out that the quote had also been attributed to three other people: chemist and Nobel Prize laureate Ilya Prigogine, physicist and another Nobel Prize winner Dennis Gabor and U.S.-based consultant Peter Drucker. Yet a closer look shows none of them used the exact same wording.
Daniel Worthington, the director of Papers of Abraham Lincoln at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, told Lead Stories via email on March 10, 2023:
This quote does not appear in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953-55), nor does it appear in any of our documents at the Papers of Abraham Lincoln.
Other Lead Stories fact checks mentioning Abraham Lincoln can be found here.