The Lasting Impact of Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, May 9, AD 2015

 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 above the Lincoln Memorial

Something for the weekend.  Lincoln and Liberty, Too.  The mortal remains of Abraham Lincoln were laid to rest in Springfield, Illinois a century and a half ago this week.  This is a good time to look at the impact of his life, a life more consequential for his country and the world than that of any other American except for George Washington.

1.  Lincoln ended slavery.  That is a simple three word sentence but what an accomplishment it was.  Slavery, a world wide institution, had existed in the American colonies since their foundation.  By the time of the Civil War the institution was two hundred and fifty years old and had tainted American history from its inception.  It tainted everything it touched, and, in the ringing words of Lincoln:

I hate [indifference to slavery] because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world-enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites-causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty-criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

Slavery was such an entrenched institution in the South that only a mammoth Civil War, with atrocious blood-letting, brought about the conditions that ended it.  In four short years Lincoln lanced the boil of slavery, and if that were his only accomplishment that alone should ensure that his name will be honored by endless generations of Americans.  Critics of Lincoln often pretend that the South would have abolished slavery.  There is no evidence to support that belief, and much evidence to support the contention that slavery was an immensely strong institution and getting a new lease on life by having slaves work in factories.  Vast slave empires arose in the twentieth century, and the Confederacy, if it had won the Civil War, might now be regarded as a harbinger of the future on the issue of slavery, rather than as a rear guard defense of the past.  There is nothing inevitable about history, which is a human creation, and Lincoln ending slavery had global ramifications, and if he had failed opposite global ramifications might likely have occurred, which would have reverberated to this day.

2.  Lincoln preserved the Union.  There would be no United States today but for Lincoln.  There would be two or more nations where the United States of America now is.  Daniel Webster, in his immortal reply to Hayne in 1830 stated:  “Union and liberty, now and forever, one and inseparable.”  For this country and this world I believe his comment was prophetic.  Without a united America I suspect that this nation would not have successfully led the fight against Nazi Germany and then prevailed in the Cold War over the Soviet Union.  I think it all too likely that in addition to the United States and the Confederate States, there would have been other successor states to the original United States.  Allow secession once, and in times of national stress it would have been a “remedy” trumpeted by ambitious demagogues.  The founders of the Confederacy feared this, the drafters of the Confederate Constitution voting down South Carolina’s proposal that a right of secession be set forth in the Confederate Constitution and instead included in the preamble of the Constitution that they were forming a permanent federal government.

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11 Responses to The Lasting Impact of Abraham Lincoln

  • one word….Machiavelli

  • What Lincoln could not foresee was the advent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR pitted Americans against each other (wealthy versus poor), exponentially grew the Federal Government in both power and scope, interred Americans in, well, let’s be honest – concentration camps (the Japanese Americans who were forced to sell or abandon their property and live in these camps) and his blindness to the evils of both Hitler (until it was almost too late) and Stalin, whose secret service completely infiltrated the US Government.
    The Democrat Party has been following the same playbook ever since and if some parts of this country want out from a truly despotic and inept Federal Government, I don’t blame them.

    We needed someone with the wisdom of Lincoln during the Great Depression but did not get it. We could have used Lincoln’s wisdom in 2008 but we got the worst president in the history of this nation – and reelected him.

    Lincoln saw the South as people who were, are and will be countrymen. Who thinks anything similar of King Putt?

  • The principle of separation of church and state does not give the state power to separate the human body from his soul. The principle of separation of church and state does not give the state the power to disenfranchise the human soul, because the sovereign person dwells in his body and his soul, from his Constitutional freedom and his civil rights under the First Amendment.
    When a teacher, coach, or other personnel in charge of minor children and leaders of a peaceable assembly who choose to exercise their First Amendment freedom to express their Faith, they are guaranteed their freedom to express their Faith as sovereign persons, individuals as private persons, and not in the office of any state position. The time of their lives spent acknowledging “their Creator” is their private, personal time because these citizens are exercising their First Amendment Civil Rights and as such are giving witness to freedom.
    The atheist, the secular humanist, in being offended by the citizens’ free exercise of his freedom to acknowledge “their Creator” has charged that a state religion is being established by exercising our freedom. In exercising our First Amendment rights, we, the people, as citizens are giving witness to freedom and the power of the state to protect freedom and civil rights, and “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity” from The Declaration of Independence.
    Private persons given charge of minor children act “in loco parentis”, and are prohibited by reason of parental authority to teach or witness to anything other than that which the parents authorize the state official to teach or disseminate as truth, principle, or freedom. This would preclude any state official in charge of minor children from imposing his personal, private opinion on the captive audience of minors, who are un-emancipated children, not yet able to discern for themselves the truth of freedom.
    Acknowledging “their Creator” and Natural human rights endowed by Nature and Nature’s God acknowledges too, that the state is not supreme. The state does not own the person. Rather, the sovereign person constitutes the state. Therefore, the state must protect the sovereign person’s sovereignty. If the sovereign person indeed, wishes to exercise his First Amendment civil right to acknowledge “their Creator”, the state is not empowered or authentically authorized to prohibit his exercise. “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” The First Amendment.
    Every state official in charge of minor children who does not pray as a private, sovereign person is enforcing atheism, precluding the free exercise thereof, and indoctrinating minor children in the prohibition of civil rights.
    It is argued that prayer, acknowledging “their Creator”, has no place on state owned property such as public school, town hall meetings or the public square. This concept of the state gives rise to totalitarianism, the total control of the people by government, the government which the people have constituted.
    All public lands, waterways and public squares, town meeting halls and municipal buildings (meaning the peoples’ building), and public schools are owned in joint and common tenancy by each and every sovereign person, the taxpayer who bought and paid for and built it. The administration administers the tax dollars which belong to the individual tax payer even as his tax dollars are administered by the administration. Possession is nine-tenths of the law.
    In terms of children, however, parental authority, and the choice of the child to survive, his natural will to survive is his civil Right to Life, and with his chosen parents is paramount.
    The florist, Baronnelle Stutzman and Melissa’s Sweet Cakes, who both and all chose to practice their free exercise of their civil rights are being temporarily prosecuted for the crime of “hatred and discrimination” for loving their neighbor as themselves. Being heterosexual and believing that being heterosexual and acknowledging our constitutional posterity as defended in The Preamble to our Constitution, the unchangeable purpose of our Constitution, is the correct path to loving their neighbor as themselves, since they are heterosexual, and exercising their freedom of religion thereof, “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” The First Amendment.

  • 1) Abolished slavery even though he himself knew he had no constitutional authority to do so and did not initiate the war to do it, but only grasped it as a war aim when the “glorious union” meme was not going well in the North (but since slavery was an evil, he gets a pass on this);

    2) Preserved a “union” by invading states who were simply resuming the limited authority they gave to the federal government when voluntarily joining the union after the war against England. What a “glorious union”– enforced at the point of a bayonet, at the cost of 600,000 lives. If it were a marriage, maintaining a union by such means would land someone in jail.

    3) It’s an absurd mockery to put Lincoln in the company of the founders, not one of whom would have remotely envisaged a federal army invading states in order to force their membership in what was a voluntary union of “free and independent states” after the Revolution. Nor would any of them entertained for a moment forcing a state to change a practice lawful under the federal constitution by forcing them at gunpoint to agree to the 13th amendment. Lincoln was the “anti-founder” unravelling the limited, modest role of the federal government envisioned by the founders. Pile on his repeated violation of the constitution during the war, shuttering newspapers he didn’t like; imprisoning political opponents, defying the Supreme Court about his abuse of habeas corpus… no, Lincoln introduced a new form of aggressive centralism that led in a straight line to late 19th, early 20th century progressivism and our modern unconstitutional government.

    Hey, I understand having a hero, but unreflective deification belies a lack of judgment. I love Lee and Davis, but do not hesitate to point out their many flaws, and I would never have the gall to compare them to the founders, even though they have much more in common with Jefferson, Madison, Mason, and others than Lincoln.

  • “1) Abolished slavery even though he himself knew he had no constitutional authority to do so and did not initiate the war to do it, but only grasped it as a war aim when the “glorious union” meme was not going well in the North (but since slavery was an evil, he gets a pass on this);”

    Lincoln always said that he had no power to interfere with slavery in the states except as a war measure. Once it was clear that the Confederates were in earnest in their attempt to split the country, Lincoln seized the opportunity to emancipate the slaves as an act of War, striking a blow against the Confederacy and liberating millions of people in the bargain. He then sponsored a Constitutional amendment banning slavery to ratify what he had done.

    2. “Preserved a “union” by invading states”
    As Robert E. Lee noted, secession was simply rebellion rather than a right under the Constitution. There was no mechanism for it under the Constitution and several provisions in the Constitution indicate that the Union was meant to be perpetual. In any case, no minority faction had the right to rend the Union without the consent of a majority of the people of the United States, which the Confederates clearly never had. The United States of America was created in a war in which up to one-third of the American people opposed the creation of the country and supported the British. That it took bloodshed against a minority faction of the American people to preserve that Union bothers me no more than the fact that the original establishment of the country occurred against the wishes of the Tories.

    3. “It’s an absurd mockery to put Lincoln in the company of the founders, not one of whom would have remotely envisaged a federal army invading states in order to force their membership in what was a voluntary union of “free and independent states” after the Revolution.”

    Not at all. Various acts of early Congresses while almost all of the Founding Fathers still lived, and the Constitution provided for federal intervention against either rebellion or insurrection. The Founding Fathers were quite familiar with using military force in times of dire necessity against fellow Americans who differed from them, which is precisely the way they suppressed the Tories during the Revolution. Lincoln deserves Founding Father status because of his carrying forward the proposition that all men are created equal and restoring to millions of Americans their God-given rights. As Jefferson stated, in regard to slavery, the Justice of God would not sleep forever, and it did not.

  • I wish we could get past the cult of Lincoln. He is simply not the saint we all want him to have been.

    Some reasons to discount his sainthood.

    1. Slavery – I tend to believe the man came around to the idea of ending slavery at some point just prior to or right after the start of the Civil War. I think he used it as part of his weaponry against the south. But let’s not pretend he started the whole thing to free the slaves. We know that’s dishonest.

    No question though that the Civil War did end slavery in the south.

    2. Sheer cost – Lincoln has some things to answer for in terms of morality of the war – before, during and after – the loss of 630,000 souls, the slaughter of civilians – the “mainstreaming” of total war, the utter destruction of the social structure in the south – flawed and horrific as it was, the destruction of the awful reconstruction of the south. Who could answer yes to these things being ok to start a war? Wouldn’t it have been better to find another option? Lincoln could have bought every slave their freedom for the price of the war and saved all those lives. Furthermore, what about all the other countries who ended slavery peacefully?

    3. Economic incentives – please be honest about the economic policies and incentives the Lincoln administration had regarding the south and the American System. It’s simply not fair to act like Lincoln was holding the south just to preserve the union. Part of the issue was that he didn’t want to lose the South’s tariff revenue.

    4. Constitutional interpretation – It’s open to debate whether what he did was constitutional or not. Do we want to praise constitutional innovators just because they “found” some new penumbras? Seccession had been openly understood as an option for the states and considered by many others than just the south prior to the Civil War. Lincoln won this debate because he outlasted the south. But the arguments are not still not overwhelmingly conclusive.

    These are just a few of the things we need to highlight about Lincoln’s run. I will leave aside the discussion of Lincoln’s personal ambition and even his faith as those are probably much lower on the list of things to worry about. I’m just trying to point out that he is not the saint we all hoped. And by doing so I hope to avoid putting our trust or our hope in any princes. Lincoln was a man with moral flaws just like the rest of us. It was a tremendously ugly time and Lincoln’s hands are stained with blood less than righteously shed at least as much as many others of the time. I do not know if the Civil War could pass Just War criteria prior to the war. And it definitely did not pass Just War criteria for prosecution of the war.

  • “But let’s not pretend he started the whole thing to free the slaves.”

    No one said that he did, least of all Lincoln. As he stated in his First Inaugural, the question of Civil War was in the hands of the Confederates and not his. Once the War started he seized upon ending slavery as a War measure to preserve the Union. That it ended slavery benefited the country greatly and was in line with Lincoln’s own belief that all men, everywhere, should be free. A lesser leader would have lost the War and seen slavery a fixture upon the continent for the foreseeable future.

    “Lincoln has some things to answer for in terms of morality of the war –”

    Those who fired on Fort Sumter and seceded in order to protect slavery bear the guilt of starting the War. In a larger sense Lincoln of course thought that both North and South were guilty for the War because of tolerating slavery for so long.

    “the slaughter of civilians”
    Lincoln never slaughtered civilians and the War was mercifully largely free of such atrocities.
    As for total war, both sides used stern measures by the end of the War, as Chambersburg, Pennsylvania could attest.

    “Part of the issue was that he didn’t want to lose the South’s tariff revenue.”

    Tariffs were at a low point prior to the War and simply were not an issue North or South. The War cost the North far more than any revenue that could be raised from the South in tariffs in a century.

    “Seccession had been openly understood as an option for the states and considered by many others than just the south prior to the Civil War.”

    More accurate to call it a highly debatable option on which there was no agreement in the country. Both Jackson and Taylor, two Southern presidents, viewed secession as treason to be met with military force.

    “Lincoln could have bought every slave their freedom for the price of the war and saved all those lives.”

    Lincoln proposed compensated emancipation throughout the War. The border states were not interested, let alone the Confederates.
    “I’m just trying to point out that he is not the saint we all hoped.”
    Someone who is both an attorney and a politician would find it hard to claim a halo! I do claim that Lincoln was a great man a very great president. He lived in controversial times, and what he did will remain controversial for centuries to come.

  • “That it took bloodshed against a minority faction of the American people to preserve that Union bothers me no more than . . . .”

    Mr. McClarey, please say that the deaths of 280,000 Southerners makes you sad. For the sake of your Southern readers, just say so.

  • The deaths of all Americans in war makes me sad MR. However, if the Tories had prevailed in the American Revolution there would be no United States. If the Confederates had prevailed in the Civil War, their descendants would not be my countrymen and might well be my adversaries. History took the right course in 1783 and 1865 and the blood price on all sides was not too high to pay.

The Last Stand of the Black Horse Troop

Saturday, April 11, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  I Am a Rebel Soldier sung by Waylon Jennings.  Stephen Vincent Benet in his epic poem on the Civil War, John Brown’s Body, follows, in part of his poem, a Confederate Georia cavalry unit in the Army of Northern Virginia, the Black Horse Troop.  On the way to Appomattox they met their destiny guarding the rear of their expiring Army.  I have always thought this was a fitting tribute to the men of that Army who endured to the end.

Wingate wearily tried to goad
A bag of bones on a muddy road
Under the grey and April sky
While Bristol hummed in his irony
“If you want a good time, jine the cavalry!
Well, we jined it, and here we go,
The last event in the circus-show,
The bareback boys in the burnin’ hoop
Mounted on cases of chicken-croup,
The rovin’ remains of the Black Horse Troop!
Though the only horse you could call real black
Is the horsefly sittin’ on Shepley’s back,
But, women and children, do not fear,
They’ll feed the lions and us, next year.
And, women and children, dry your eyes,
The Southern gentleman never dies.
He just lives on by his strength of will
Like a damn ole rooster too tough to kill
Or a brand-new government dollar-bill
That you can use for a trousers-patch
Or lightin’ a fire, if you’ve got a match,
Or makin’ a bunny a paper collar,
Or anythin’ else–except a dollar.

Old folks, young folks, never you care,
The Yanks are here and the Yanks are there,
But no Southern gentleman knows despair.
He just goes on in his usual way,
Eatin’ a meal every fifteenth day
And showin’ such skill in his change of base
That he never gets time to wash his face
While he fights with a fury you’d seldom find
Except in a Home for the Crippled Blind,
And can whip five Yanks with a palmleaf hat,
Only the Yanks won’t fight like that.

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3 Responses to The Last Stand of the Black Horse Troop

  • And with these things, bury the purple dream
    Of the America we have not been,
    The tropic empire, seeking the warm sea,
    The last foray of aristocracy
    Based not on dollars or initiative
    Or any blood for what that blood was worth
    But on a certain code, a manner of birth,
    A certain manner of knowing how to live,
    The pastoral rebellion of the earth
    Against machines, against the Age of Steam,
    The Hamiltonian extremes against the Franklin mean,
    The genius of the land
    Against the metal hand,
    The great, slave-driven bark,
    Full-oared upon the dark,
    With gilded figurehead,
    With fetters for the crew
    And spices for the few,
    The passion that is dead,
    The pomp we never knew,
    Bury this, too.

  • It is a crime Tom that a great poet like Stephen Vincent Benet is almost completely forgotten today.

  • Don, I am greatly indebted to you.

    I had no idea of who Stephen Vincent Benet was until you posted this here. I found the entire poem online here (http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks07/0700461.txt) and read about half of it – I will read it in its entirety later. I did some more research on him and found he had written By the Waters of Babylon. I was stunned! I had read that short story when I was nine or ten, and while it made an immense impression on me I did not recall the title or the author. I now have it on my kindle – thanks to you.

O Sacred Head

Saturday, April 4, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Now Wounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other.

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3 Responses to O Sacred Head

  • I don’t want to go off on an “I hate new hymns” rant, but…yeah. Today we sang Jesus Christ is Risen Today: But the pains which he endured / Our salvation have procured. Do kids growing up listening to contemporary hymns get exposed to theology like that? It’s unequivocal. A friend of mine who grew up secular once told me that with his conversion to Catholicism, all the Christmas songs he knew now made sense. There’s a richness of teaching that people my age have absorbed without realizing it.

    Digression time: you’re a science fiction fan, right, Don? I remember a ST Next Generation episode where Worf found himself in a prison colony of Klingons who had forgotten their beliefs. He taught them their legends, explained to them the meaning of the songs they’d handed down and the trinkets they played with. I’m convinced the episode must have been written by a traditional (or traditionalist) Catholic. Do you know the one? It’s fascinating to watch and think about as a VII / ecumenism analogy.

  • We’re forgetting the things that made us different, the things worth defending. Peace is a valuable goal, but at what price? We’re a shrinking population, content to fade away. But there’s something else out there: the Borg. They can use our technology against us, and they don’t recognize the value of freedom and love. They’ll overrun us if we don’t remember who we are. All that we’ve worked to create will be lost, our inner rot leaving us unable to stand against the wind. If we did somehow manage to withstand the onslaught, do we still have the thing about us that’s worth protecting?

The Crossroads of Our Being

Saturday, March 21, AD 2015

 

Something for the weekend.  The opening of the Civil War documentary, to the tune Ashokan Farewell, that premiered twenty-five years ago this September.  As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War draws to a close, what strikes me most is the immensity of the conflict and the huge changes it wrought in American life.  One can spend a lifetime studying this conflict as I have, and still find, almost daily, new pieces of information.  Shelby Foote, and it took a gifted novelist I think to write an epic history worthy of this huge, sprawling event in American history, put it best:

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21 Responses to The Crossroads of Our Being

  • Foote’s comment about “the United States are” vs “is” is very incisive.

    The federal Republic instituted by the Founders dramatically and fundamentally changed by the War. What had been a federal system of very limited central government and very powerful states had been transformed over four years of conflict to the nascent form of what we struggle with today: a central government with great power and an ever-growing lust for power, and weaker states growing progressively weaker. The 14th Amendment (which sought to guarantee that newly freed blacks would be afforded every civil liberty a state afforded to its white citizens) very soon became a judicial foot in the door for federal notions of “due process” to be imposed on all the states. Ultimately this 14th Amendment would soon be used to assert federal primacy in small ways (to federalize police practices (“Miranda” warnings, exclusionary rule, etc)) and in large– to strike down abortion and sodomy laws; and likely soon to impose “gay marriage” on unwilling states.

    The sad lesson of the War is, in my view, that for the horrible sin of slavery that our Protestant Republic, north and south, imported to this continent and perpetuated, atonement came at a great price in the blood of 400,000 soldiers, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, property, and even lives, and not least, the deformation of our Constitutional framework of limited central authority.

  • “What had been a federal system of very limited central government and very powerful states had been transformed over four years of conflict to the nascent form of what we struggle with today”

    Untrue. The Federal government shrunk in size rapidly to a size similar to what it was in 1860.

    “The 14th Amendment (which sought to guarantee that newly freed blacks would be afforded every civil liberty a state afforded to its white citizens) very soon became a judicial foot in the door”

    The first of the incorporation decisions was not until 1925.

    “that our Protestant Republic”

    Slavery was equally a Catholic sin. Priests and bishops were notable by their absence among the ranks of the abolitionists.

  • he federal Republic instituted by the Founders dramatically and fundamentally changed by the War

    Donald already beat me to the punch, but this is an oft-made claim that doesn’t withstand a second of scrutiny. As Donald mentioned, the federal government quickly shrunk in size in the post-war era. It wasn’t until first the ascendancy of Woodrow Wilson and the Progressives, and then the Depression and FDR that the federal government became a true leviathan.

    As for the 14th Amendment, the blatant misreading of it by later Supreme Court justices does not nullify its usefulness nor its need.

  • at least those who died for the abolition of slavery and the preservation of the Union in the Civil War had a purpose in life that was honorable and valid.

  • Any familiarity with the 14 th Amendment, especially with the ratification debates, will reveal that it was an instrument which was designed, and within a lifetime, used, to fundamentally alter the original federal arrangement of the Constitution by imposing federal notions of due process, “substantive” and procedural, on the states.

    No war, no coercing the southern states into ratifying the 14th Amendment, no 14th Amendment. No 14th Amendment, no Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas, or whatever case will be the death of state control of marriage.

    The War did fundamentally alter our federalist arrangement.

    The size of government always decreases in the aftermath of a war, as it did after the Civil War. Its claim to power in this case, however, did not cease, and only increased with continued Manifest Destiny and the suppression of the American Indians.

  • “No war, no coercing the southern states into ratifying the 14th Amendment, no 14th Amendment. No 14th Amendment, no Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas, or whatever case will be the death of state control of marriage.”

    Rubbish Tom. You might as well claim, with better justice, that Dred Scott was the ancestor of Roe:

    “The concluding paragraphs of Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey 505 U.S. 833, 1001-1002 (1992)
    There is a poignant aspect to today’s opinion. Its length, and what might be called its epic tone, suggest that its authors believe they are bringing to an end a troublesome era in the history of our Nation and of our Court. “It is the dimension” of authority, they say, to “cal[l] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” Ante, at 24.

    There comes vividly to mind a portrait by Emanuel Leutze that hangs in the Harvard Law School: Roger Brooke Taney, painted in 1859, the 82d year of his life, the 24th of his Chief Justiceship, the second after his opinion in Dred Scott. He is all in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer, and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep-set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment. Perhaps he always looked that way, even when dwelling upon the happiest of thoughts. But those of us who know how the lustre of his great Chief Justiceship came to be eclipsed by Dred Scott cannot help believing that he had that case–its already apparent consequences for the Court, and its soon-to-be-played-out consequences for the Nation–burning on his mind. I expect that two years earlier he, too, had thought himself “call[ing] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”

    It is no more realistic for us in this case, than it was for him in that, to think that an issue of the sort they both involved–an issue involving life and death, freedom and subjugation–can be “speedily and finally settled” by the Supreme Court, as President James Buchanan in his inaugural address said the issue of slavery in the territories would be. See Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States, S. Doc. No. 101-10, p. 126 (1989). Quite to the contrary, by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish.

    We should get out of this area, where we have no right to be, and where we do neither ourselves nor the country any good by remaining.”

    Of course there would have been no War except for the fact that the Southern slave holders were in a panic against a purely phantom threat to their precious right to own other people as property.

    “Its claim to power in this case, however, did not cease, and only increased with continued Manifest Destiny and the suppression of the American Indians.”

    Actually Tom it was the slaveholders who tended to be the most vociferous advocates of Manifest Destiny in order to provide more room for the expansion of slavery.

    http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/history/early-republic-and-antebellum-history/slavery-race-and-conquest-tropics-lincoln-douglas-and-future-latin-america

    The Civil War had nothing to do with the suppression of the Indians that had been underway since the founding of Jamestown.

  • Don, with all due respect, you’re really stretching if you seriously maintain that the 14th Am does not constitute a fundamental shift in the federal scheme as it was before the War, and if you cannot concede that the 14th has been the primary tool of used to nullify all kinds of state laws that would have been perfectly acceptable before the 14th.

    We could argue the genesis of the War ad infinitum, but the simple fact is, the War effectuated a fundamental transformation of the balance of power between the states and the federal government which the Founders originally instituted in 1789. The very fact that federalized state troops could be used to invade a state such as Virginia which had not fired a single shot would certainly have amazed Geo Washington and Tom Jefferson, and probably even Hamilton.

    Having won and forced through the 14th Amendment, the interference of the federal government into purely state affairs would be legalized and set in stone.

    If it was not the intent of the Republicans in passing the 14th Amendment to do that which they could not have done to the states before, what in the world was the point of passing the damned thing?

    That’s the only point I was making: that the War resulted in a change from federalism as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution.

  • Let’s remember that slavery and its close relative indentured servitude were established with the full knowledge and consent of the Crown of Great Britain. Only in the vastly agricultural Southern colonies, and then states, did slavery grow roots and become an institution.

    The Civil War was instigated, financed and run by slaveowners. While other Western Hemisphere nations phased out slavery, the American South would have none of it. The South was wrecked economically and in a depression for more than two generations for starting a war it could never win without outside help. Great Britain was the only nation that could and Lincoln told the Crown’s representatives that if they helped the Confederacy, his troops would march into Canada and take over the entire place.

    As a result of the loss in the War, the North, where industrialization was under way, experienced the economic growth than made the USA a world power. The great industrialists were all from the North. It was highlighted in the History Channel series The Men who built America. Vanderbilt, Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford, and Frick, Edison and Westinghouse as well as industrialists not mentioned in the series such as Henry Flagler and the Du Ponts all were from the North. The factories they built and the immigrants they drew on to work came to the North, not the impoverished agrarian South.

    This industrial base with its roots in the Northern victory provided the factories and the capital needed to win two World Wars and elevate the standard of living in much of the world.

    it was not until well after WWII, and the advent of air conditioning, that the South, free of the pathetic Democrat machine politics that infect Northern cities, has risen again, in large part due to business and industry relocating, military spending, and retirees and others who want to escape the miserable cold of the North.

    As for the Indians – I deny the political correct nonsense that they were all peaceful – they were not – and like it or not, stronger cultures inflict their will on weaker ones. It started with the Spanish Empire and men with small armies such as Cortez and Pizarro destroying the Aztecs (and their human sacrifices) and the Inca. Their way of life was finished forever when Queen Isabel assisted Columbus on his initial voyage.

  • Any familiarity with the 14 th Amendment, especially with the ratification debates, will reveal that it was an instrument which was designed, and within a lifetime, used, to fundamentally alter the original federal arrangement of the Constitution

    The War did fundamentally alter our federalist arrangement.

    We could argue the genesis of the War ad infinitum, but the simple fact is,

    Tom, with all due respect, your method of argumentation is to bang your fists on the table and more loudly argue your points. At no single point in any one of your comments have you been able to provide a substantive argument that backs up any one of claims you have made.

    Any familiarity with the 14 th Amendment, especially with the ratification debates

    Having written a dissertation that studied both I have more than a passing familiarity with the background of these items.

  • “Don, with all due respect, you’re really stretching if you seriously maintain that the 14th Am does not constitute a fundamental shift in the federal scheme as it was before the War, and if you cannot concede that the 14th has been the primary tool of used to nullify all kinds of state laws that would have been perfectly acceptable before the 14th.”

    The problem wasn’t the 14th amendment Tom but rather the Supreme Court. As we both know, in the Slaughterhouse cases of 1873 the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th amendment had no impact on the police power of the states. The incorporation of the bill of rights through the 14th amendment as binding on the states would await Gitlow v. New York in 1925. Your ire is misdirected at the 14th amendment and should be aimed at those who interpret it.

    “the War effectuated a fundamental transformation of the balance of power between the states and the federal government which the Founders originally instituted in 1789.”

    Not really. The Whiskey Rebellion put down by Washington was a broad based movement west of the Alleghenies and Washington had no ideological problem using federalized state militias to put it down. Washington in his Farewell Address made it clear what he thought of the concept of secession: “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, ’til changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.” Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address noted: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.” What the Civil War does mean is that unilateral attempts to dissolve the Union will lead to war. The Confederates of course should have brought their secessionist demands to Congress for action by all the people. I think they would have found a fair number of northerners, especially among Democrats, sympathetic to a call for a peaceful separation of the sections of the country. However that was not done because the wisest secessionist leaders knew that secession would not occur unless done in an atmosphere of panic. Once the Lincoln administration took office, a secession movement that sought the approval of Congress would quickly have lost steam due to Lincoln’s stated policy of not interfering with slavery in the states where it existed.

  • It wasn’t until first the ascendancy of Woodrow Wilson and the Progressives, and then the Depression and FDR that the federal government became a true leviathan.

    Federal expenditure in 1916 amounted to less than 2% of gross domestic product. The federal sector grew contextually quite large during the 1st world war (comprehending about 13% of gdp, IIRC), but it was all dismantled by 1922. The federal sector grew contextually larger during the early Depression years as nominal expenditure was maintained while production was imploding. The Roosevelt Administration embarked on a number of initiatives, but even in that circumstance, domestic expenditure by 1940 was no greater than about 7% of domestic product. The advance of the federal sector was stepwise, most occurred after 1940, and not really completed until about 1974.

  • The problem wasn’t the 14th amendment Tom but rather the Supreme Court.

    I think vague and perplexing constitutional language is something of a problem.

  • Henry Flagler and the Du Ponts all were from the North.

    IIRC, Flagler made a fortune in Florida real estate development. The duPonts made their home in Delaware, which was a slave state which refused to secede. As we speak, about half Delaware’s population constitutes a component of greater Philadelphia and the other half is Southern-lite.

  • Having relatives in Delaware (Dover) there is a bid difference between Wilmington (part of the Philly metro area in fact if not in statistics) and downstate. The du Ponts were centered around Wilmington.

    Flagler made a fortune in Florida real estate but he started with a fortune he made in Northeast Ohio. Flagler built the railroad that went all the way to Key West.

    In doing so, Flagler made South Florida, well, not South at all in terms of outlook and culture.

  • I still use the grammatically correct (and historically correct) “United States ARE”.

  • As much as I respect the opinions and knowledge of my friends, Don and Paul (two gentleman whose historical acumen far exceeds my own), I just don’t see how anyone can dispute the point that Tom (and Art, at least in pointing out the danger of “vague and perplexing constitutional language”) is making that the 14th Amendment — whatever noble aims it may have had in the context of slavery and the Civil War — has, indeed, transformed the very nature of this country into something wholly unrecognizable from the nation the founders established.
    ***
    It didn’t take a fairly conservative (at the time) Supreme Court long to recognize the danger posed by the 14th Amendment in this regard, which is why we have the Slaughterhouse Cases less than a decade after its passage. Unfortunately, they left unblemished a vague Equal Protection Clause for future, less conservative and less deferential (at least with regard to state prerogatives) Courts to make mischief with.

  • Lino Graglia has offered that the three troublesome clauses in the 14th Amendment were an address, respectively, to the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of state governments and that it is invalid to refer to the equal protection clause to test any statute. (For my own part, I’ve never figured out why the privileges and immunities clause was not held to incorporate the Bill of Rights and can think of at least one legal historian who insists that it does).

  • Just to point out, the really troublesome 14th Amendment case law was issued in the last 60 years. To the extent that the federal government’s dimension and function in 1925 differed from what it had been in 1860, it was about what you would expect given the changing character of commerce – larger volumes of cross-border trade and larger volumes of trade in merchandise whose contents were esoteric. You also had a more sophisticated financial system and the advent of policy problems derived from technology. So, you had more of a federal health-and-safety inspectorates, the advent of new sorts of property rights (e.g. broadcast licenses), the detritus of warfare (veterans’ hospitals), statistical collection services, and some efforts (ham handed) to prevent industries from devolving into monopolies). All of this was fairly benign (and, bar the VA, low-budget). About the only pre-Roosevelt example of federal authorities manipulating state governments in an appreciable was would be the Bureau of Public Roads and the financing of the U.S. Route System.

  • “… I’ve never figured out why the privileges and immunities clause was not held to incorporate the Bill of Rights and can think of at least one legal historian who insists that it does …”
    ***
    Yeah, I read that book in law school, too.

    😉

  • Do the United States need to pass an Amendment XXVIII that would make applicable Amendment XIV to the regime in Washington, DC?

  • Wilmington (part of the Philly metro area in fact if not in statistics) and downstate. The du Ponts were centered around Wilmington.

    In 1920, the portions of New Castle County, Delaware found outside of Newark and Wilmington had a population density of 88 persons per square mile, or less than 0.14 persons per acre. It was countryside, not Philadelphia suburb.

The Church’s One Foundation

Saturday, February 28, AD 2015

Something for the weekend, The Church’s One Foundation.  This is a repost from last year since it seems like a good hymn for Lent.  Written by Church of England minister Samuel J. Stone, it is sung to the tune Aurelia by Samuel S.Wesley.  I have always enjoyed this hymn and I have cherished the memory of Stone for it, and for this poem The Soliloquy of a Rationalistic Chicken:

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2 Responses to The Church’s One Foundation

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  • Jesus Christ is Head of the Church. The foundation is the twelve apostles, minus Judas and replaced by Mathias. Many theologians ignore and reject the twelve apostles in heaven as true witnesses of Jesus Christ. They reject the apostles and their gospels as evidence of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. These heretics reject Mary and her crown of twelve stars, the apostles. The star is a symbol for life as the cross is a symbol for death.

Faces of Lincoln

Saturday, February 7, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.   This video purports to have in it every known photograph of Mr.  Lincoln.  The songs in the video are Lincoln and Liberty Too, perhaps the most stirring campaign song in American history, Dixie, ironically a favorite song of the President of the Union, and the haunting Ashokan Farewell.  A fitting video in the weekend before we observe the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Lincoln’s last birthday in this Vale of Tears.

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January 31, 1865: Passage of the Thirteenth Amendment

Saturday, January 31, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  Battle Cry of Freedom.  After the fall elections in 1864 passage of the Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery was inevitable.  In 1864 the Thirteenth Amendment passed the Republican controlled Senate with an overwhelming majority of 38-6.  In the House the Amendment failed 93-65, thirteen votes shy of the two-thirds necessary for passage.  In November the Republicans in the House gained 46 seats and would have a majority of 134 when the new House was seated.  Nonetheless, the Lincoln administration was eager to undertake another vote in the House when the old Congress came into session after the election.  Lincoln made direct emotional appeals to several Democrats in favor of the Amendment.   Favors and appointments were offered to Democrats who switched their votes.  The Amendment passed 119-56.  Black spectators cheered after passage and several members of Congress openly wept.  Here is the text of the Amendment:

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Seven Cities of Gold

Saturday, January 17, AD 2015

Something for the Weekend.  After hearing this week that Pope Francis plans to canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the Apostle of California, while he is in this country later this year, the musical score to the heavily fictionalized account of the first missionary journey of Serra, Seven Cities of Gold (1955) seems appropriate.

In 1955 Hollywood told the story of the 1769 expedition to Alta California in the film Seven Cities of Gold.  Michael Rennie gave a very good performance as Father Serra and Anthony Quinn gave an equally fine performance as Governor Portolla.  Of course Hollywood could not remain completely faithful to history, and a fictional hunt for the Seven Cities of Cibola was given as the reason for the expedition.  A love story between an Indian girl and one of the Spanish officers was also grafted on to the story.  In spite of the usually Hollywood twisting of history, the film is accurate in its depiction of the goodness and charity of Father Serra and his zeal to spread the Gospel.  One scene from the movie has him denouncing the greed of the Spanish soldiers and their desire to exploit the Indians:

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2 Responses to Seven Cities of Gold

  • Mr. McClarey, As you can imagine the articles in the LA Times regarding Fr. Serra’s canoization are emphasizing the modern Indians’ negative reaction rather than the good the missionary did. Fr. Serra was a very accomplished man before he ever boarded a ship to the New World.
    Question: Why is the Pope waiving the second miracle in this cause and others?

  • “Question: Why is the Pope waiving the second miracle in this cause and others?”

    Eagerness to canonize people presumably.

    In regard to Father Serra he is above such criticisms. He was noted at the time for being mild and gentle to the Indians. By 18th Century standards he would have been regarded as perhaps overly indulgent to all he came in contact with. Modern controversies about him are just that, and have zero to do with the times in which he lived.

Battle of New Orleans-The Song

Saturday, January 10, AD 2015

 

Something for the weekend.  On January 8, 2015 we reached the 200th anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, so Jimmie Driftwood’s Battle of New Orleans seems appropriate.  Driftwood, when he was a teacher, wrote the song in 1936 to help his students differentiate between the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War.  After Driftwood became a full time singer and composer, he often sang the song.  Johnny Horton made it a mega hit in 1959 with his rendition.

After it became a hit, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, visited Newfoundland.  The song was banned for the term of her visit by the provincial government.  My sainted mother who loved the Queen, but also had to the full the Irish rebel spirit, used to regale me with tales of the lengths that Newfies went to make sure that the song was played continuously during the Queen’s visit as a result!

Newfies were hanging record players out of their windows, the volume cranked up full blast playing the song. Her comment on this fiasco is that if the idiots in government hadn’t attempted to ban it, no one would have been playing it. I think my attitude towards government began to be forged by this example of folly related to me at a very young age at my mother’s knee!

 

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One Response to Battle of New Orleans-The Song

  • Not too long after his, Johnny Horton came out with “Sink the Bismarck””–different tune, of course, but the same style. I wonder if the record company might have been reaching for some balance.

I Saw the Light

Saturday, December 27, AD 2014

 

Something for the weekend.  I Saw the Light by Hank Williams.  Written by him in 1948 at age 25, it coveys the hunger for salvation that was always a part of Williams’ brief and tragic life.  Dead before he reached 30, Williams was a great talent, and he threw it all away with alcoholism and addiction to drugs, which shattered both his personal and professional life.  His life typifies what Christ spoke of in this parable:

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

However, that is not all there is to say.  This song has brought comfort to millions as they call upon Christ in this Vale of Tears.  I hope it weighed heavily in the balance when Williams appeared before the God he clearly loved.

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3 Responses to I Saw the Light

Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming

Saturday, December 6, AD 2014

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.  Written by the ever prolific composer Anonymous in 16th century Germany, it quickly became a favorite hymn of both Catholics and Protestants in that time and land of religious strife, and that is a good message for Christmas.

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5 Responses to Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming

  • One of my favorites!

  • This is a great way to evangelize the LDS.

  • Several years ago I had joined a (Catholic) Church choir.Choir singing was much different to me than what I had been doing [folksinging] and part of the challenge was that I do not read music – I basically play/sing “by ear”, so I sat between 2 excellent singers and listened to them to learn my parts. It was a very good experience and one of my favorite memories was during our Christmas program one year, one of the singers that I sat next to had the solo on “Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming” – and it was beautifully sung by him & the choir.Love this hymn.

  • PC lyrics printed for the unisex world. Always disrupting.

  • The soul of the female, a woman, is different from the soul of the male, a man. The soul of a man starts and gives life. The soul of a woman nurtures and continues life.
    .
    Without the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary could not have brought forth the Son of God; Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
    .
    Jesus gave us His Mother to be our Mother. All mankind is the children of Mary, our Mother. We must behave as the children of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
    .
    Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, brings us Jesus Christ according to the design of God and the instruction of Jesus. Anyone who comes to the Church other than by our Blessed Mother is a marauder and an interloper.

God of Our Fathers

Saturday, November 29, AD 2014

Something for the weekend.  God of Our Fathers.  Written in 1876 to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it reminds each American how fortunate we are to live in this land.

 

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast;
Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never-ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

America is a wonderful place, even when we acknowledge her flaws.  I think one of the best tributes to America is contained in Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Webster, when he describes Daniel Webster addressing the Jury of the Damned:

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2 Responses to God of Our Fathers

Mini-Abe to the Rescue

Saturday, November 15, AD 2014

Something for the weekend.  Mini-Abe to the rescue, to the song Up Where We Belong, played at the conclusion of An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), a good ending to an otherwise forgettable flick.  This is one of a series of Mini-Abe commercials that highlights the delightful eccentric daffiness that often adds charm to an otherwise miserably misgoverned state.

Mr. Lincoln has long been a fixture in Illinois tourism commercials.  Here is one from the late eighties:

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For All the Saints

Saturday, November 1, AD 2014

 

“There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerers have been; how gloriously different are the saints.”

CS Lewis

Something for the weekend.  It being All Saint’s Day, For All the Saints seemed appropriate.  Written by Anglican Bishop William Walsham How in 1864.  Ralph Vaughn Williams in 1906 wrote the music, Sin Nomine, the tune of Sarum being used up to that time.

All Saints Day reminds us of all those holy men and women whom God, in His infinite mercy, sends us as torches to light our path in a dark world.  Filled with God’s love and grace, they make golden the pages of our histories with their lives and witness.  Feeling the lure of sin just as much as any of us, they turned to God and reflected His love to us.  They come in all sorts of humanity:  men and women, all nationalities, wise, simple, warriors, pacifists, miracle workers, saints whose only miracle was their life, humorous, humorless, clergy, laity, old, young, united only in their Faith and their love for the Highest Love.

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6 Responses to For All the Saints

Elections

Saturday, October 25, AD 2014

Something for the weekend.  The score to the movie Lincoln (2012).  Go here to read my review of this masterpiece.  One hundred and fifty years ago there was little doubt now that Lincoln was going to be re-elected and the Union was going to win the War.  The Civil War had just a little over six months to go, as did Lincoln’s life.

After he was re-elected, Lincoln on November 10, 1864 responded to a serenade outside the White House with this brief speech:

It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies.
 
On this point the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test; and a presidential election occurring in regular course during the rebellion added not a little to the strain. If the loyal people, united, were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail when divided, and partially paralized, by a political war among themselves?  But the election was a necessity.
 
We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human-nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in similar cases. Human-nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.
 
But the election, along with its incidental, and undesirable strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a people’s government can sustain a national election, in the midst of a great civil war. Until now it has not been known to the world that this was a possibility. It shows also how sound, and how strong we still are. It shows that, even among candidates of the same party, he who is most devoted to the Union, and most opposed to treason, can receive most of the people’s votes. It shows also, to the extent yet known, that we have more men now, than we had when the war began. Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, patriotic men, are better than gold.
 
But the rebellion continues; and now that the election is over, may not all, having a common interest, re-unite in a common effort, to save our common country? For my own part I have striven, and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom.
 
While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election; and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.
 
May I ask those who have not differed with me, to join with me, in this same spirit towards those who have?
 
And now, let me close by asking three hearty cheers for our brave soldiers and seamen and their gallant and skilful commanders.

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5 Responses to Elections

  • I hope the dumbed-down populace of the USA are in the minority in these mid term elections.
    10 years ago, who would have ever dreamed that the USA would be dragged down the path of a socialist utopia in emulation of the soviet union? Even your freedoms under the UN charter are being eroded. If this present incumbent president and his minions aren’t neutered at the mid terms, and booted out of office in 2016, you will no longer be the Land of the Free, and its doubtful you are now.
    If the socialsist stay in power, I foresee a mass exodus of good Americans to the “real” free world, Down under – Oz and NZ 😉

  • Well Don, after the 2012 fiasco when it came to my predictions I have been rather silent on that front this year. All I will say now is that the Republicans will pad their House majority, probably have no net loss when it comes to governors and stand an excellent chance to take the Senate.

  • Yes Don.
    Reading the reports from afar, it certainly seems that way, and I pray you’re right. There is a lot of commentary on our Kiwiblog that always comes up in elections, in NZ, Oz, USA an UK.
    Because I visit a few US blogs, I’m getting a lot of US conservative campaign e-mails for support – if they only knew – what could a poor retired builder and deacon from NZ offer, apart from prayers ? 🙂

  • Prayers are always welcome as I tell people when they offer to pray for an ink stained wretch of an attorney like me! 🙂

  • “We can not have free government without elections;” Abraham Lincoln’s speech here is so timely. The news on WBAL Sunday night told of two early voting machines “flipping” votes from one party to the other. “Hope and Change” Who knew that it would be your electoral Hope that would be Changed?

Picture on the Wall

Saturday, October 18, AD 2014

Something for the weekend.  Picture on the Wall.  Written in 1864 by Henry Clay Work, it captures the overwhelming tragedy of each of the 650-800,000 deaths in our Civil War.  One victory that can be claimed by each of the fallen, North and South, is that after the terrible trial of the Civil War our nation has never repeated that fratricidal struggle.  Perhaps the lessons that Rossiter Johnson hoped would be learned from the War were learned:

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One Response to Picture on the Wall

  • Thanks Donald. Darn pretty music, took out the guitar and went from song to song. I wonder if the songs of an era gives a deep, even if faint, sounding of the souls of the people who sang them.

Abraham’s Daughter

Saturday, October 4, AD 2014

 

Something for the weekend.  Abraham’s Daughter.  One hundred and fifty years ago the presidential election was in full swing.  I doubt if this song was popular with either the Republicans or the Democrats since it mentions both Lincoln and McClellan, the two opposing candidates.  The composer Septimus Winner, yep, that was really his name, was probably a partisan of McClellan.  After McClellan was removed from command by Lincoln after Antietam, Winner was arrested for treason after he published “Give Us Back Our Old Commander: Little Mac, the People’s Pride”, a song which sold an astounding, for those days, 80,000 copies in its first two days on sale.  He was held until he agreed to destroy the unsold copies.  Nonetheless the song featured in McClellan’s campaign for president in 1864, and Grant’s campaign used it when Grant ran for president with the lyrics changed to be praising him.  Here is that song:

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