President’s day is a day where we honor our Presidents. However, some people don’t like certain Presidents. Here is one of the greatest speeches given by what some say was the greatest president while other say he was the worst president.
The Gettysburg Address
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this."But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
I have heard good and bad things of this President and I want to explore this issue in this post.
I listened to lectures by Professor Allen C. Guelzo titled Mr. Lincoln: The Life of Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was a great set of lectures. Professor Guelzo definitely has a high esteem for Lincoln.
Lincoln has been called the “Great Emancipator” for his part in the freeing the slaves. Many people mistakenly think that was the reason for the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation was not given until later in the war. Critics say it was because he wanted to stop European countries from coming to the aid of the Confederacy and not out a sense of moral obligation. However, Lincoln had was against slavery from the onset and the Republican party at the time was divided into two with those opposed to slavery and those who did not want to upset the apple cart.
"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free... It will become all one thing, or all the other." Lincoln in his acceptance speech as 1858 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Illinois
At that time the question before the government was do they allow new territories to become slave states or do all new territories and states be prohibited from having slaves. Apparently, many of the founding fathers including George Washington felt that slavery was on a decline and that they did not need to address the issue at the onset and birth of the nation. It was assumed that slavery would die a natural death without intervention. The concern for many republicans at the time was that if they allowed it to expand into the new territories it would not die at all.
I think it is safe to say that when he was elected it was expected that he would be against slavery and would stop the south from furthering the progress of slavery. That triggered the succession on the south.
The question then became, do they have the right to succession from the Union. Lincoln block elected officials and the Supreme Court and started a war to bring them back into the Union. The question then arises was the war legal. The answer is that it was given the outcome, the winner writes the history. Lincoln however imprisoned citizens, members of the press, and even duly elected union legislators for nothing more than expressing concern over Lincoln’s “interpretation” of the Constitution. Does that not stand against everything us, as Americans believe in? Do we not have the right to disagree with our leaders and to speak out against them as a check and balance to their power?
Lincoln was determined that the American experiment in democracy must not fail. He argued that if a democracy allows the minority to leave anytime they don't like what the majority is doing we would be splintered into hundreds of smaller nations. The motto, united we stand divided we fall, was a motto he agreed with wholeheartedly. I have to admit it is a convincing argument, that if democracy is our goal we should fight to preserve it. However, is democracy our goal and supreme value?
Lincoln did offer to reunited the union and allow the Confederate states to determine for themselves when they would discontinue slavery. He also said that he did not have malice toward any; he just wanted the union restored above all.
"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan."—Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
The North won and the nation was reunited with slavery outlawed. No one can argue that the end of slavery is a good thing. The question is, were the lost lives worth the preservation of the union? If the Union is worth preserving then the question then is does the ends justify the means. We have been taught that it did. Were we taught that because the winner writes the history?
I have to look at it from a different point of view. Do we always have to view this in terms of the nation? Can we look at it from God's point of view? Does this further His kingdom and purpose? My freedom is something I hold dear, I would lay my life down for it, but God, and His purpose comes first.
Is President Lincoln a hero or villain? I don't know that he was either. What do you think?
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