Abraham Lincoln was a great American. That shouldn’t be all that shocking of a revelation, but this is 2020, and great Americans are under attack, especially the ones who aren’t Left of Karl Marx.
If you’re like me, you grew up learning about the greatness of men like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, amongst others. However, even the “Great Emancipator” is under attack for not being a perfect human being. If perfection is the only qualification for being memorialized, then there would be no memorial for anyone except Jesus Christ—but even Christ is being targeted for destruction by the likes of sometimes-black, sometimes-white activist Shaun King.
We are truly living in the Twilight Zone. The fact that in 2020 I feel compelled to write an article defending the legacy of Abraham Lincoln—who I regard as the nation’s greatest president—says a lot about the plight of our country.
Sadly, there are members of the Right who to this day think that Lincoln was a tyrant for “starting” the Civil War, even though he didn’t. Then, at the same time, there are those on the Left who point out some of Lincoln’s statements in which he denigrates black people and suggests moving them back to Africa.
If perfection is what the mob is looking for, then Lincoln isn’t their guy. But if they are looking for a guy who felt deep down to his core that slavery was evil, then Lincoln’s legacy deserves all the prestige it’s been given, and more.
Instead of pontificating any further, I will let Lincoln himself speak through his own words. The following passage is fitting being that Independence Day is going to be celebrated on Saturday:
“I think the authors of that notable instrument intended to include all men, but they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. They did not mean to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity. They defined with tolerable distinctness, in what respects they did consider all men created equal-equal in “certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This they said, and this meant. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact, they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere. The assertion that ‘all men are created equal’ was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration, nor for that, but for future use. Its authors meant it to be, thank God, it is now proving itself, a stumbling block to those who in after times might seek to turn a free people back into the hateful paths of despotism. They knew the proneness of prosperity to breed tyrants, and they meant when such should re-appear in this fair land and commence their vocation, they should find left for them at least one hard nut to crack.”
I purposely quoted this long paragraph without interruption because no one could sum up the story of America better than Lincoln, who is not only one of our best presidents, but one of America’s greatest logical and moving authors.
In November of 1863, Lincoln was speaking at the dedication of a military cemetery for those who perished in the three-day Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.
The bloody affair resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.
Lincoln was there to honor the dead.
The following is the text of what he told those in attendance:
“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.”
In the speech, Lincoln is tying the Civil War to the American Revolution, stating that winning the Civil War was paramount to carrying on the legacy of the Revolution while at the same time perfecting our failings as a country—most notably slavery—so that all could enjoy the same freedom in the country.
But go ahead, mob, by all means, tear down this man’s statue. If you do, you are on the wrong side of history, and many of us who revere this country will never forget martyrs like Lincoln who took a bullet to the back of the head so that others may be free.