Tag Archives: abraham lincoln

Happy 4th of July (Update)

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July.

Let me share this with you:

July 4, 1861 — exactly a hundred and fifty years ago — witnessed the reading aloud, on the floor of Congress, of Abraham Lincoln’s Message to Congress in Special Session.

The circumstantial appeal of Lincoln’s message turned on his defense of the Union against the threat posed by secession, and that is the part most people have in mind when they recall the most famous words of the address: “This is essentially a People’s contest.” Lincoln was speaking for democracy. He was also speaking for a Union, popular in character and progressive in direction, as the heart of all future hopes for democracy.

Another part of the Special Message matters more to us today. For Lincoln saw an unresolvable tension between the constitution of a democratic republic and the policies of aggrandizement and intemperate self-interest that lead from the manners of freedom to the slavish love of power. He spoke of the difference between the work of establishing a constitutional republic and the longer task of maintaining it. But maintaining it against what? Lincoln’s answer was always the same: against the internal pressure of greed, and the external pressure of war. The predicament of the country in 1861, he said, “forces us to ask: ‘Is there, in all republics, this inherent, and fatal weakness? Must a government,
of necessity, be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence?'”

We are now ten years into a policy shared by two successive administrations to plant a new understanding of the spirit of the laws in America. That policy has pretended there is a “trade-off” between liberty and security, and that in a time of crisis, security ought to have the upper hand. The Cheney-Bush and Obama administrations have accustomed us to laws and language concerned above all with the “protection” of citizens — as if there were something higher or more worth protecting than the liberty that is guaranteed by our laws and
the framework of laws, the Constitution. (more…)

Update: I really liked this photo. It captures the 4th at least it did for me. So, I posted it.
American Puppy

Another cause for the Civil War

I have read lots of explanations about the start of the Civil War. The census may be the most unique.

From the New York Times:

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing; a lot of it can be deadly. Such was the case on the eve of the Civil War. Among all the events that touched off the great conflict — John Brown’s raid in 1859, Abraham Lincoln’s presidential victory in 1860 — there is one that has been strangely ignored by most historians. True, it was less dramatic than the others. It occurred when enumerators traveled from door to door throughout America, counting up Easterners and Westerners; Northerners and Southerners; blacks and whites; freemen and slaves. The numbers that they came up with helped to split apart the Union.

Eighteen-sixty was a federal Census year, and the results had begun coming in early that autumn — with exquisitely poor timing, as far as Southern paranoia and Northern hubris were concerned. At the very moment that the slave states faced the imminent election of a Republican, antislavery president, a candidate who would win without a single vote in the Deep South, came other, equally shocking signs of change.

Preliminary figures that began appearing in the press as early as September 1860 confirmed what many Americans already suspected: immigration and westward expansion were shifting the country’s balance of population and power. Since the last count, in 1850, the North’s population had increased an astonishing 41 percent, while the South’s had grown only 27 percent. (Between 2000 and 2010, by comparison, the entire nation’s population grew just 9.7 percent.) Tellingly, the statistical center of national population had shifted for the first time not only west of the original 13 states, but also from slave territory into free: from Virginia to Ohio.

Some regions of the country — places that just a few years earlier had been sparsely populated forests and prairies, with unfamiliar Indian names — were now thriving states. In a number of cases, the growth had been astonishing. In 1836, one of these upstart territories had claimed fewer than 12,000 inhabitants. Now, in 1860, it boasted 778,000 — an increase of almost 6,400 percent in less than a quarter of a century. (more…)

What's going on – News Roundup

Tuesday Morning News Roundup
  • It appears that Karl Rove will be testifying on Capitol Hill about the nine fired US attorneys. Executive privilege will not cover Mr. Rove anymore. Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, has suggested that Karl Rove will not take the fifth when testifying before Congress, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
  • We may have just a little bit more insight into Timothy Geithner‘s thought processes. In spite of having spent weeks coming up with a plan to bail out the banks and dispose of toxic debt, he changed his mind at the last minute. He decided that his original plan was too expensive, too complex and too risky for taxpayers. Unfortunately, he changed his mind at the last minute and did not have enough time to work out the details. Postponing the announcement may have been worse. This is very important. The combination of private and public funding to buy up the toxic debt has got to work.  There will be no second chance.
  • General Motors and Chrysler are in the final stages of negotiation with labor unions and bondholders. They have to submit their plan for solvency to the Obama administration today, which is going to be extremely important for our economy’s recovery. This, in fact, may be the engine that drives the economic recovery for the next 18-36 months.
  • A new poll of presidential historians was made public yesterday. The good news is that George W. Bush is not the worst president of all time. That honor goes to James Buchanan. He really didn’t do enough to try to prevent the Civil War. The best presidents of all time are, in order, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman. George W. Bush is currently ranked as the seventh worst of all time. I think, if we give the historians time, we will watch as Bush works his way closer and closer to the bottom of the list.
  • California’s economic problems are serious. They have a $40 billion shortfall. California’s main problem, as I see it, is its diversity. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but in California there exist both hard-core conservatives and hard-core liberals and these two extremes don’t agree on anything. Ideology gets in the way of solving the state’s problems.
  • The founder of an Islamic television station in upstate New York has confessed to beheading his wife. I find it awfully sad that someone could be so deranged.