Tag Archives: Lincoln


President Abraham Lincoln made his public address at Cooper Union in New York City on April 27, 1860.  Six weeks later the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter starting the American Civil War.  It was Lincoln’s final speech prior to the war.

An eyewitness that evening said, “When Lincoln rose to speak, I was greatly disappointed. He was tall, tall, – oh, how tall! and so angular and awkward that I had, for an instant, a feeling of pity for so ungainly a man.” However, once Lincoln warmed up, “his face lighted up as with an inward fire; the whole man was transfigured. I forgot his clothes, his personal appearance, and his individual peculiarities. Presently, forgetting myself, I was on my feet like the rest, yelling like a wild Indian, cheering this wonderful man.”

Lincoln’s law partner. William Herndon, who was not present but knew the speech, said it was “devoid of all rhetorical imagery.  It was constructed with a view to accuracy of statement, simplicity of language, and unity of thought. In some respects like a lawyer’s brief, it was logical, temperate in tone, powerful – irresistibly driving conviction home to men’s reasons and their souls.”

Lincoln began:

The facts with which I shall deal this evening are mainly old and familiar; nor is there anything new in the general use I shall make of them.  If there shall be any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the facts, and the inferences and observations following that presentation.

In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in “The New-York Times,” Senator Douglas said: “Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better, than we do now.”

I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse. I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed starting point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of the Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the inquiry: “What was the understanding those fathers had of the question mentioned?”

What is the frame of government under which we live?  The answer must be: “The Constitution of the United States…”

About midway in the speech:

I would say to them [Democrats in opposition to ending slavery]: – You consider yourselves a reasonable and a just people; and I consider that in the general qualities of reason and justice you are not inferior to any other people. Still, when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us a reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to “Black Republicans.” In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of “Black Republicanism” as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite – license, so to speak – among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify.

Lincoln ends with this pledge:

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

Today’s post is courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Online.  Visit them for everything Lincoln.


With a sad face, Charles Krauthammer declared, “we are witnessing an historic moment” with the passage of this health care bill which “will not be repealed.” Charles realizes, as did many among the thousands that rallied in Washington, that this is less about health care than it is about power over the people through expansion of government.

If indeed this is the tipping point it appears to be, the change will be felt around the world. For if America becomes socialist brethren with Russia who will be the umbrella for the smaller nations of Eastern Europe? If America’s leaders are kindred in fiscal philosophy with the leaders of other Socialist nations what happens to the prosperity that supports our international generosity?

We have taken the first step on the left path at the fork in the road. As has been said, Democracies demise is knocking on the door when 51% of voters realize they can vote largess for themselves. We are there.

Abraham Lincoln closed his Gettysburg Address with a dedication to the hope “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Well, Abe, you got 146 years and 4 months. Never in the history of this great nation has one party worked so hard, so deviously, and so corruptly to enact legislation counter to the will of the governed as the Democratic party has done with the passage of the Obama/Pelosi health care bill.

Bob B

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From Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

You can read the entire speech here.

Those who would re-write history like to cite the House Divided speech as foundation for their assertion that Lincoln was ambivalent about slavery, that his concern was saving the union not ending slavery. However, Lincoln’s response to Douglas’ speech puts the lie to any such notion.

Those arguments that are made, [by Lincoln’s opposing Democrats] that the inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as their condition will allow. What are these arguments? They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument, and this argument of the Judge [Douglas] is the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it.

Turn in whatever way you will—whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent, and I hold if that course of argumentation that is made for the purpose of convincing the public mind that we should not care about this, should be granted, it does not stop with the negro. I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle and making exceptions to it where will it stop. If one man says it does not mean a negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man?

If that declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute book, in which we find it and tear it out! Who is so bold as to do it! [Voices—“me” “no one,” &c.] If it is not true let us tear it out! [cries of “no, no,”] Let us stick to it then. [cheers], Let us stand firmly by it then. [Applause.]

The text of the Lincoln/Douglas debates can be found here.

Bob B
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