Abraham Lincoln

Memorial Day Pledge

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When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today

Inscription on the memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Infantry Division at Kohima.

 

 

On this Memorial Day I thought that we might want to look at Eisenhower’s Gettysburg Address.  On the 100th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1963, President Kennedy had to beg off appearing due to his trip to Texas, a trip that would end in tragedy on November 22, 1963 in Dallas.  Former President Eisenhower, a resident of Gettysburg, agreed to speak in his place.  Eisenhower in his brief address viewed Lincoln’s speech not as of merely historical interest, but rather an ongoing challenge to the nation.  Here is what he said:

 

We mark today the centennial of an immortal address. We stand where Abraham Lincoln stood as, a century ago, he gave to the world words as moving in their solemn cadence as they are timeless in their meaning. Little wonder it is that, as here we sense his deep dedication to freedom, our own dedication takes added strength. 

Lincoln had faith that the ancient drums of Gettysburg, throbbing mutual defiance from the battle lines of the blue and the gray, would one day beat in unison, to summon a people, happily united in peace, to fulfill, generation by generation, a noble destiny. His faith has been justified – but the unfinished work of which he spoke in 1863 is still unfinished; because of human frailty, it always will be. 

Where we see the serenity with which time has invested this hallowed ground, Lincoln saw the scarred earth and felt the press of personal grief. Yet he lifted his eyes to the future, the future that is our present. He foresaw a new birth of freedom, a freedom and equality for all which, under God, would restore the purpose and meaning of America, defining a goal that challenges each of us to attain his full stature of citizenship. 

We read Lincoln’s sentiments, we ponder his words – the beauty of the sentiments he expressed enthralls us; the majesty of his words holds us spellbound – but we have not paid to his message its just tribute until we – ourselves – live it. For well he knew that to live for country is a duty, as demanding as is the readiness to die for it. So long as this truth remains our guiding light, self-government in this nation will never die. 

True to democracy’s basic principle that all are created equal and endowed by the Creator with priceless human rights, the good citizen now, as always before, is called upon to defend the rights of others as he does his own; to subordinate self to the country’s good; to refuse to take the easy way today that may invite national disaster tomorrow; to accept the truth that the work still to be done awaits his doing. 

On this day of commemoration, Lincoln still asks of each of us, as clearly as he did of those who heard his words a century ago, to give that increased devotion to the cause for which soldiers in all our wars have given the last full measure of devotion. Our answer, the only worthy one we can render to the memory of the great emancipator, is ever to defend, protect and pass on unblemished, to coming generations the heritage – the trust – that Abraham Lincoln, and all the ghostly legions of patriots of the past, with unflinching faith in their God, have bequeathed to us – a nation free, with liberty, dignity, and justice for all.

Soon we will remember D-Day on June 6, this year being the 70th anniversary of that longest day.  Here is what Eisenhower wrote to the troops who were embarking on, as he termed it, the Great Crusade:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!


You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle.
We will accept nothing less than full Victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Sacrificing for freedom for Eisenhower was not just an empty political phrase.  As he wrote these words he knew that many of the men who read it would be paying the ultimate price so that people long after they were dead, generations unknown to them, would enjoy the freedom they were about to die for. Continue reading

What Would Jesus Do On the Death Penalty?

 

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I always find questions that begin “What Would Jesus Do?” rather obnoxious for two reasons.  First, because they are usually posed by people absolutely certain that Jesus follows their views in lockstep, and second, because Christ of course is God and the mind of the All-Mighty is unknowable to us.  As Lincoln put it so well in his Second Inaugural:

Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.

So questions that begin “What Would Jesus Do”?, strike me as presumptuous at best and blasphemous at worst.

Johnathan Merritt at The Atlantic seems very confident as to the position of Jesus on the death penalty.  He would be against it:

 

Many forget that Jesus once served as a one-man jury on a death-penalty case. In a famous New Testament story, an adulterous woman was dragged to Jesus’ feet. The woman was guilty of a capital offense and had been caught in the act by at least one witness. The law mandated her death but Jesus prescribed a different response: “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.” He was teaching that only a perfect being—only God—should have power over death and life. Continue reading

April 4, 1864: Lincoln’s Letter to A.G. Hodges

 

One hundred and fifty years ago Lincoln knew that 1864 was likely to be the decisive year of the War, as the people of the North had an opportunity to pass judgment on him at the polls.  With the Democrat party adopting an anti-war position, Lincoln was likely to be defeated unless radical progress in the War could be demonstrated by November.  Additionally he had to justify his policy of abolishing slavery and enlisting black troops, as many pro- Unionists in the North looked with considerable misgivings on both policies.  So on April 4, 1864 Lincoln took up a pen to defend his decision to enlist black troops to a Kentucky Unionist who with the Governor of Kentucky and a former Senator from Kentucky, also Unionists, had protested to Lincoln the enlistment of  such troops in Kentucky.  The end of the letter foreshadows language Lincoln would use in his Second Inaugural regarding the ending of slavery: Continue reading

John Wilkes Booth and the Outcome of the War Between the States

 

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During this sesquicentennial of the War Between the States a very old question arises:  What was the impact of John Wilkes Booth on the outcome of the War Between the States?  My response is none.

The assassination of Lincoln by Booth certainly shocked the nation.  A President had never been assassinated before, and to have it happen while the President was at ease, enjoying a play at Ford’s Theater, added an element of the grotesque that magnified the horror.  Booth, unknown to all but his closest intimates, had been a Confederate sympathizer throughout the War.  Whether his murder of Lincoln was an act of impulse or a carefully planned conspiracy remains a subject of heated debate.  Nevertheless, whether he decided that evening or after days or weeks of deliberation, Booth, using two pistols, ended the life of Lincoln, Mr. Lincoln and his entourage occupying a theater box on stage, and presenting a target that Booth could not, and did not, miss.  Booth himself being shot to death immediately thereafter ensured that he took whatever planning he engaged in with him to the grave, and made this assassination an endless source of conspiracy theorists ever thereafter. The aptly named play The Marble Heart, starring Booth, will remain forever etched in American memory, along with the date of November 9, 1863 when the first president of the United States to be assassinated died.

Hannibal Hamlin, forgotten Vice-President, thus became President.  On his narrow shoulders many have heaped blame for the defeat of the Union.  Rubbish!  A careful examination of the historical record reveals that he acted in a way almost certainly no different than Lincoln likely would have. Continue reading

Hannibal Hamlin: Forgotten Man of the Lincoln Administration

Thomas E. Marshall, Vice-President under Wilson, summed up the historical fate of most Vice-Presidents in this joke he used to tell:  There were two brothers.  One was lost at sea and one became Vice-President.  Neither were heard from again.  That was certainly the case with Hannibal Hamlin, Lincoln’s first Vice-President.  In an administration where almost everything has been examined endlessly by tens of thousands of historians with magnifying glasses, Hamlin is a complete void.  At the time Hamlin knew that he simply did not count in the Administration, although Lincoln was cordial on the rare occasions they met.  I am the fifth wheel of a coach is how Hamlin described his non-role in shaping the affairs of the nation during his term as Vice-President.

The most prominent politician from Maine, both before and after his term as Vice-President, perhaps Hamlin regretted his four years in political oblivion as Lincoln’s Veep.

Hamlin began his political career in 1836 when he won election to Maine’s house of representatives as a Democrat.  Serving in the Federal House of Representatives in 1843-47.  Appointed to serve out a term in the US Senate in 1848, Hamlin elected to a full term in his own right in 1851.  In 1856 he became a national celebrity when he broke with the Democrat party over slavery, and joined the Republicans.  Elected as a Republican as Governor of Maine in 1856 and  serving briefly, he resigned to take up a seat next year as a Republican, being one of the few members of the Senate to serve in that body as both a Democrat and a Republican.

He was placed on the Presidential ticket for regional balance and for the fame he had won as a former Democrat who left the party over slavery, a natural vote getter among anti-slavery Democrats.  Hamlin and Lincoln did not meet for the first time until after the election.  During the campaign Democrats spread the rumor that Hamlin was a mulatto.  Hamlin did have a swarthy complexion, but there was no truth in the allegation.  The same charge was made against Lincoln, racism being a weapon wielded freely by Democrats in both 1861 and 1864.

Hamlin as Veep advocated Emancipation and the use of black troops.  Less presciently, he also supported placing Fighting Joe Hooker in command of the Army of the Potomac.  Hamlin was left off the ticket in 1864 in order to broaden the ticket.  Hamlin was firmly associated now with the radical wing of the Republican Party, and Lincoln believed that a War Democrat would be a better choice in what was likely to be a close contest.  Andrew Johnson thus ultimately became President and Hamlin missed his opportunity to be something other than an historical footnote. Continue reading

Lincoln’s Lost Speech

Lost Speech

Most orations of historical figures are lost to us if they lived prior to the Nineteenth Century.  Usually we have summaries or reports of speeches, but the exact words are often lost.  Even in the Nineteenth Century, with the advent of mass papers and stenographic reports, many speeches of even major figures are lost to us.  So was the case with Abraham Lincoln, with his most famous lost speech being a stem winder of an attack on slavery that he made on May 29, 1856 at an anti-Nebraska convention that ended with the founding of the Republican party in Illinois.  Lincoln spoke for ninety minutes denouncing slavery, and calling on the creation of a Republican party in Illinois to do battle against the advocates of slavery.  His speech was frequently interrupted with cheers and standing ovations as Lincoln deeply moved his audience.

Other than very brief summaries in the press, the speech is completely lost, which is rather odd.  The convention was attended by representatives of the press, and Lincoln usually prepared his speeches in writing beforehand, although he was a master of revising them on the fly as he spoke.

In 1896 Chicago attorney Henry Clay Whitney wrote an article that he claimed contained the text of the speech from his notes that he took at the time.  Lincoln’s former secretary John Nicolay immediately denounced the text as a fraud, devoid completely of Lincoln’s style, and almost all historians have shared his conviction that Whitney made his text up.

Why the speech was not reported is a matter of conjecture.  It has been claimed that the reporters present were so stunned by Lincoln’s eloquence, and so swept up in the moment, that their pencils fell from their fingers.  Perhaps, although considering the hard bitten nature of most members of the Fourth Estate in Lincoln’s day, rather unlikely.  Lincoln’s law partner William Herndon who was present thought that the speech was such a radical attack on slavery that Lincoln agreed to its suppression so as not to hurt attempts to preserve the Union.  I personally find both explanations wanting.  A more likely explanation is that Lincoln did speak completely extemporaneously on this occasion, he was perhaps the finest stump orator of his time, and that the reporters present did not take down his words, assuming that he was using a text based upon his usual practice, and that he would give them a copy at the conclusion of his speech.  It is also possible that Lincoln’s enthusiastic audience was making so much noise that the reporters gave up attempts to take down Lincoln’s words because they could not clearly make out what he was saying.

In any event, the speech is truly lost to history and the most complete account of it is this brief summary in the Alton-Courier which appeared on June 5, 1856: Continue reading

Pro-aborts and the Race Card

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The above video is from the Alabama Right to Life website.

In a vain attempt to stop the passage of pro-life legislation in Alabama, Democrat Representative Alvin Holmes, a truly charming individual who earlier this year referred to Justice Clarence Thomas as an Uncle Tom, drew the race card, the first resort of pro-aborts and the Democrat party:

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“If you asked the people in here now to raise their hands, of those who are against abortion, 99% of all of the white people in here gonna raise their hand that they are against abortion,” Holmes said Tuesday according to a recording of some of the debate on al.com. “On the other hand, 99% of the whites that are sitting in here now, if they daughter got pregnant by a black man, they gonna make their daughter have an abortion. They ain’t gonna let her have the baby. You know, the truth sometimes hurts … They’re not gonna let that happen. You know that and I know that. You will never admit it.”

During his speech, Holmes asks one white woman, it’s unclear who, if she’d allow her daughter to have a mixed-race baby.

 

“Yes, I would,” the woman replies.

“Well, I need to commend you then,” Holmes says. “There’s not one in 100,000 that would do that.”

Go here to read the rest.  Of course abortion is the dream come true for the Klan, the traditional terrorist wing of the Democrat party in the South.  In adjacent Mississippi, for example, we have these statistics:

Although whites outnumber blacks in Mississippi by nearly 2-to-1, 71.67% of the babies aborted in Mississippi are black, while 26.6% are white.

Based on data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 39,052 black babies were killed by abortions in Mississippi between 1995 and 2010.  During that same time period, 14,529 white babies were aborted in the Magnolia State.

The total number of abortions between 1995 and 2010 in Mississippi was 54,484. In addition to blacks and whites, that number also includes abortions among Hispanics, “Other” (meaning Asian and Native American), and “Unknown,” as published by the CDC.

Whites in Mississippi outnumber blacks by a ratio of 1.6-to-1. Despite that difference, the data show that black abortions comprised, on average, 72% of the total over the last 16 years. Continue reading

February 12, 1914: The Memory of Abraham Lincoln is Enshrined Forever

IN THIS TEMPLE

AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE

FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION

THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

IS ENSHRINED FOREVER

Inscription over the statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial

Well, it took long enough.  Lincoln had been dead for almost half a century before work finally began on his memorial in Washington, with a dedication ceremony occurring on his birthday in Washington DC a hundred years ago.  Plans to memorialize Lincoln in Washington had been mooted about since the time of his death, but in Washington, then and now, nothing moves swiftly.  Controversies about cost and just what form the memorial should take had delayed the project for decades.  The final plan to erect a Greek styled temple to house a Lincoln statue appalled some Lincoln admirers who thought a log cabin memorial would better suit a man as humble as Lincoln.

The building of the memorial would take eight years, with it being completed and opened to the public on Memorial Day, May 30, 1922. Continue reading

February 9, 1864: Mr. Lincoln Has His Picture Taken

Lincoln-Berger-Tad1864

Mr. Lincoln took advantage of the winter lull in the War on February 9, 1864 to go, along with his son Tad, to Mathew Brady’s National Photographic Art Gallery in Washington DC to have his picture taken.  The manager of the Gallery was Anthony Berger who took the photographs that day.

The above picture was immensely popular after Lincoln’s death, showing the closeness between Lincoln and Tad.  Sadly, Tad would only outlive his father by six years, dying suddenly at 18, his death being variously ascribed to tuberculosis, pleurisy and congestive heart failure.

Lincoln Penny

The above profile shot was taken by Lincoln that day and served as the basis for the image on the Lincoln penny. Continue reading

Ronald Reagan, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation

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There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.

Ronald Reagan

Today is my 57th birthday.  I am pleased that I share my natal day with the man I consider the greatest president of my lifetime:  Ronald Wilson Reagan, who was born one hundred and three years ago today in Tampico, Illinois.  I greatly admire Reagan for many reasons:  his wit, eloquence and good humor;  his prime role in bringing about the destruction of Communism as a ruling ideology in the former, how good it is to write that adjective!, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe;  his restoration of American prosperity by wringing inflation from the American economy;  his rebuilding of the nation’s defenses;  his restoration of American pride and optimism.  However, there is one stand of his that, above all others, ensures that he will always have a special place in my heart, his defense of the weakest and the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.

In 1983 Reagan submitted an essay on abortion to the Human Life Review, then and now, the scholarly heart of the pro-life movement.  He entitled it, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation.  Go here to the Human Life Review’s website to read it.

Reagan in the article attacked Roe on its tenth anniversary and stated that Roe had not settled the abortion fight:

Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court’s result, has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right. Shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision, Professor John Hart Ely, now Dean of Stanford Law School, wrote that the opinion “is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Nowhere do the plain words of the Constitution even hint at a “right” so sweeping as to permit abortion up to the time the child is ready to be born. Yet that is what the Court ruled.

As an act of “raw judicial power” (to use Justice White’s biting phrase), the decision by the seven-man majority in Roe v. Wade has so far been made to stick. But the Court’s decision has by no means settled the debate. Instead, Roe v. Wade has become a continuing prod to the conscience of the nation.

Reagan saw that abortion diminished respect for all human life and quoted Mother Teresa as to the simple truth that abortion is the “greatest misery of our time”:

We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life—the unborn—without diminishing the value of all human life. We saw tragic proof of this truism last year when the Indiana courts allowed the starvation death of “Baby Doe” in Bloomington because the child had Down’s Syndrome.

Many of our fellow citizens grieve over the loss of life that has followed Roe v. Wade. Margaret Heckler, soon after being nominated to head the largest department of our government, Health and Human Services, told an audience that she believed abortion to be the greatest moral crisis facing our country today. And the revered Mother Teresa, who works in the streets of Calcutta ministering to dying people in her world-famous mission of mercy, has said that “the greatest misery of our time is the generalized abortion of children.”

Reagan, ever a student of American history, tied the fight against Roe with the fight against the Dred Scott decision:

Despite the formidable obstacles before us, we must not lose heart. This is not the first time our country has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of certain human lives. The Dred Scottdecision of 1857 was not overturned in a day, or a year, or even a decade. At first, only a minority of Americans recognized and deplored the moral crisis brought about by denying the full humanity of our black brothers and sisters; but that minority persisted in their vision and finally prevailed. They did it by appealing to the hearts and minds of their countrymen, to the truth of human dignity under God. From their example, we know that respect for the sacred value of human life is too deeply engrained in the hearts of our people to remain forever suppressed. But the great majority of the American people have not yet made their voices heard, and we cannot expect them to—any more than the public voice arose against slavery—until the issue is clearly framed and presented. Continue reading

Stamped With the Divine Image

March for Life

 

 

These communities, by their representatives in old  Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We  hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are  created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with  certain unalienable rights; that among these are life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic  interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their  lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of  the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to  all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their  enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and  likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded,  and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole  race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized  upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide  their children and their children’s children, and the countless  myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise  statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity  to breed tyrants, and so they established these great  self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man,  some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that  none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life,  liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look  up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to  renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth,  and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues  might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would  hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles  on which the temple of liberty was being built.

Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858

State of the Union 1863

Abraham Lincoln

On December 8, 1863 Lincoln sent his annual message to Congress in which he reviewed the state of the country during the year that was coming to an end.  The message to Congress would have been read by a clerk.  We would call this today a state of the union address.  Washington had delivered his annual messages to Congress personally to joint sessions.  This custom was ended by Thomas Jefferson, who thought the President delivering a speech to Congress smacked of monarchy, too closely resembling the speech from the throne delivered by English monarchs at the opening of Parliament.  Thereafter president’s sent their annual messages to Congress in written form, until Wilson revived the custom of delivering the speech in person.

One aspect of Lincoln’s speech that surprised me when I first read it is the amount of it devoted to foreign affairs, almost half, if the portion dealing with foreign nationals in the United States is included.  Lincoln devotes less than a quarter of the speech to the War which is unsurprising.  The War news was a constant feature of life in the United States during the Civil War, and Lincoln probably looked upon the annual message as an opportunity to remind Congress and the people that the War was not the only thing occurring in the United States.  Lincoln ends his message with a general overview of his policy regarding Reconstruction.  Lincoln could hope now that ultimate victory might be on the horizon, and he realized that a substantial portion of the Republican members of Congress opposed any leniency to the South.  Lincoln was beginning his tight rope walk to both satisfy the demands of the Radical Republicans for civil rights for freedmen, and to deny them their desire to punish the South.  He would continue to walk that tightrope until the bullet of Booth brought his life to an end with consequences the nation is still living with.  Here is the annual address of President Abraham Lincoln for 1863: Continue reading

Lincoln and the Creation of Thanksgiving

In the midst of this, however, He, from Whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated.

Abraham Lincoln, from his last public address, April 11, 1865

Abraham Lincoln frequently throughout the Civil War called for Thanksgiving for Union victories and for prayers and repentance for national sins.  The idea however of an annual Thanksgiving did not spring from him but from Sarah Josepha Hale, a noted literary figure who, among other accomplishments wrote the child’s poem Mary Had a Little Lamb.  Born in 1788, for years she had led a movement for a national day of Thanksgiving to be observed annually.

Sir.–

Permit me, as Editress of the “Lady’s Book”, to request a few minutes of your precious time, while laying before you a subject of deep interest to myself and — as I trust — even to the President of our Republic, of some importance. This subject is to have the day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.

You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.

Enclosed are three papers (being printed these are easily read) which will make the idea and its progress clear and show also the popularity of the plan.

For the last fifteen years I have set forth this idea in the “Lady’s Book”, and placed the papers before the Governors of all the States and Territories — also I have sent these to our Ministers abroad, and our Missionaries to the heathen — and commanders in the Navy. From the recipients I have received, uniformly the most kind approval. Two of these letters, one from Governor (now General) Banks and one from Governor Morgan are enclosed; both gentlemen as you will see, have nobly aided to bring about the desired Thanksgiving Union.

But I find there are obstacles not possible to be overcome without legislative aid — that each State should, by statute, make it obligatory on the Governor to appoint the last Thursday of November, annually, as Thanksgiving Day; — or, as this way would require years to be realized, it has ocurred to me that a proclamation from the President of the United States would be the best, surest and most fitting method of National appointment.

I have written to my friend, Hon. Wm. H. Seward, and requested him to confer with President Lincoln on this subject As the President of the United States has the power of appointments for the District of Columbia and the Territories; also for the Army and Navy and all American citizens abroad who claim protection from the U. S. Flag — could he not, with right as well as duty, issue his proclamation for a Day of National Thanksgiving for all the above classes of persons? And would it not be fitting and

patriotic for him to appeal to the Governors of all the States, inviting and commending these to unite in issuing proclamations for the last Thursday in November as the Day of Thanksgiving for the people of each State? Thus the great Union Festival of America would be established.

Now the purpose of this letter is to entreat President Lincoln to put forth his Proclamation, appointing the last Thursday in November (which falls this year on the 26th) as the National Thanksgiving for all those classes of people who are under the National Government particularly, and commending this Union Thanksgiving to each State Executive: thus, by the noble example and action of the President of the United States, the permanency and unity of our Great American Festival of Thanksgiving would be forever secured.

An immediate proclamation would be necessary, so as to reach all the States in season for State appointments, also to anticipate the early appointments by Governors.

Excuse the liberty I have taken

With profound respect

Yrs truly

Sarah Josepha Hale,

Editress of the “Ladys Book”

There is no evidence that Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued in response to this letter, but it is probable.  Here is the proclamation on October 3, 1863 by President Lincoln that established Thanksgiving as an annual event: Continue reading

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