Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Uncovered Evidence That Proves Abraham Lincoln was a RINO

by Nomad

On the 205th birthday of the 16th president of the United States, I wanted to look back at the man. Abraham Lincoln is, for many reasons, an iconic figure in American history. One thing is clear from the evidence found in the long-forgotten history books: Abraham Lincoln was a Republican in name only. 

By the magic of the Internet, one can find many archival books online about Abe Lincoln. For an amateur historian, it's like exploring the national attic. Most of the free ones have been written over a century ago and are filled with fascinating anecdotes about the man and his character. 

Many stories about the man have been lost over time. The tales for the most part ring with authenticity- being recorded so much closer to the events. Others are more of the "legend" variety. Here are a few lesser known stories and quotes and like the startling portrait above, they bring new life, a human quality to the man who has become something of a dry myth.

The Honesty of Abe
His famous nickname "Honest Abe" was given to Lincoln long before he ever became president or even before he ever thought of entering politics. 

According to one source written well over a century ago:
As a grocery clerk at New Salem Lincoln was scrupulously honest. This trait of his soon became known, but the two following incidents are particularly responsible for the appellation of "Honest Abe,"given him and by which he has been so familiarly known.
He once took six and a quarter cents too much from a customer. He did not say to himself, "never mind such little things," but walked three miles that evening, after closing his store, to return the money.
On another occasion he weighed out a half-pound of tea, as he supposed, it being night when he did so, and that having been the last thing he sold in the store before going home. On entering in the morning he discovered a four-ounce weight on the scales. He saw his mistake, and shutting up shop, hurried off to deliver the remainder of the tea. These acts of his, as well as his thorough honesty in other respects, soon gained for him the now famous title of "Honest Abe.
In today's Republican party, honesty like that would probably be a handicap. Like most of the other Republican candidates, the last nominee couldn't keep his lies straight. Amazingly, Romney even lied about his own name and his childhood memories.

The Tears of a President
Lincoln was a man of great sensitivity, a fact that has only been suggested in more modern histories. It is also clear that he suffered from bouts of deep depression: so much so he himself said that when his black suicidal moods engulfed him he feared being around even a pocket knife.

His sensitive nature was put to the test during the Civil War. No President before him had ever taken office under such difficulties. The situation that confronted Lincoln was appalling; secession of the Southern States was fully organized, and less than a month before his inauguration seven of them had already seceded. In his Inaugural address, to the rebel South he declared: 
"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you.... You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it."
Considering his lack of real education and his less-than-promising background in general, the fact that Lincoln would have had the capacity for growth, to match the situation he found himself and the nation in, is something we tend to take for granted. But it surely came at a great cost to the man.

Years after the war, Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin, of Pennsylvania gave one eyewitness account. On one night in December of 1862, the governor had just arrived back to Washington from a tour of the battlefield at Fredericksburg, Virginia in December 1862 and the president had summoned Curtin to give his report. When Curtin arrived at the White House a little after midnight, the President had already gone to bed. From his bed, the anxious Lincoln quizzed Curtin about what he had seen. " 'Well. Governor; so you have been down to the battle-field?' "
The Governor replied 'Battle-field? Slaughter-pen! It was a terrible slaughter, Mr. Lincoln.'
Upon hearing the words, Lincoln's reaction was completely unexpected and a little alarming. As Governor Curtin described it:
I was sorry in a moment, that I had said it, for he groaned, and began to wring his hands and took on with terrible agony of spirits. He sat up on the edge of the bed. and moaned and groaned in anguish. He walked the floor of the room, and uttered exclamations of grief, one after another, and I remember his saying ever and over again: 'What has God put me in this place for?' I tried to comfort him. and could hardly forgive myself for not being more careful and considerate of his feelings."
Naturally this was not a story that the only witness revealed until long after the death of the president. (Today, this story would be tweeted in a few minutes, investigations would be launched into the president's mental health and Fox News would give the president's condition unlimited coverage.)

Can you imagine any of the Republicans of our era having the same sense of empathy and conscience? I don't recall seeing George Bush genuinely moved by his decision to send American soldiers to their deaths. What we saw from the Republicans were people like Glenn Beck - who called Hurricane Katrina victims "scumbags"- and Ann Coulter - who once said to a disabled  vet that people like him were the cause for the loss in Vietnam. Those are the people who speak for the conservative Republicans.

Lincoln- A Man of Our Times Too
The book Best Lincoln Stories: Tersely Told  by J.E. Gallaher in 1898 offers a Lincoln story which seems relevant to our times. It begins with a quote by Daniel Webster:
"Liberty cannot long endure," said Webster, "when the tendency is to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few."
The president, in a message to Congress, said of this danger:

Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of the people. In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising a warning voice against approaching despotism. There is one point to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of the government.

Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already have, and which if surrendered will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all liberty shall be lost."
Long before the problem manifested itself politically, President Lincoln warned against the capitalists who put themselves above the working class. Once in power, he said, they would surely "close the door" and create new obstructions- new disabilities and burdens- to prevent the advancement of the lower classes. In this way, Lincoln observed, liberty would be lost.

It is not the only quote of that nature. In a letter written to William Elkin in 1860, Lincoln foresaw a new age dawning. The age of the corporation.
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.”
So, it's seems Lincoln was also something of a visionary. 
Given this quote, it is ironic, I think, that, chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, considers Abraham Lincoln his favorite political hero. (After Reagan, of course.)
A Republican that said something like that now would be run out of Washington, trailed by corporate lobbyists throwing rotten cabbages. 
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In honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday , I have a handmade gift for my guests. I put together a short film recording the various portraits of Lincoln, from the time he was a backwoods lawyer to just a few days before he was assassinated.