Lincoln may have seemed like a common man, but he wasn’t. … By the time he ran for president he was a wealthy man, earning a large income from his law practice and his many investments. … [And n]o one who knew him well ever called him Abe to his face. They addressed him as Lincoln or Mr. Lincoln.
from: Lincoln: a Photobiography
written by Russell Freedman
HMH Books/Clarion Books, 1987
1988 Newbery Medal Winner
e-book accessed on Libby 7/28/2020
Before the Civil War, our country had divided itself into political parties based on ideology, but on March 20, 1854, a group of vocal anti-slavery Whig Party members (Abraham Lincoln was a Whig) met in Wisconsin to break away and form a new party. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854, proposed to dissolve the terms of the Missouri Compromise and permit existing and new territories to decide for themselves whether or not to allow ownership of enslaved people. Because these Whigs opposed institutional slavery, their faction disintegrated and gave birth to the Republican Party. Their anti-slavery stance aligned with Lincoln’s values. He joined that new Republican Party.
Membership grew quickly in the Northern states.
By 1860, most of the Southern slave-holding states publicly threatened secession if a Republican won the presidency. Abraham Lincoln was elected in November, 1860, and South Carolina announced its secession from the United States just six weeks later. A few months after that, on April 12, 1861, Lincoln ordered Union troops to resupply Fort Sumter, a Union fort in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard and his shore batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter to prevent the resupply. The Civil War had begun.
The war cost more lives than any other war we have fought, before or since. According to battlefields.org, the complicated work of compiling casualties includes counting those who gave their very lives in battle and those whose lives were lost to disease, starvation, capture, or becoming missing in action. The number also includes the wounded, some of whom died of their wounds. The unfathomable number is estimated at 620,000 soldiers, a full 2% of the population at the time.
Lincoln knew that fighting the Civil War was the only way to preserve our whole nation. He was ever mindful, though, of the human lives lost and damaged by the War. At Gettysburg he implored us to remember those who had given their “last full measure of devotion” to preserving this great country. At the end of the War, he urged the nation to “bind up our wounds” and move forward together. Lincoln took this war to heart, maybe more than most.
When John Wilkes Booth took aim and shot his gun shouting “Sic semper tyrannis! (Ever thus to tyrants!) The South is avenged,” Lincoln joined those who gave their “last full measure of devotion.”
We are at another divisive crossroads. We are living in a time of great moral crisis, economic crisis, and health crisis which are all having the collective effect of making us despised and denigrated on the world stage.
And so the Lincoln Project was formed.
Prominent and wealthy Republicans have gotten together to form a group who claims they will stop at nothing to defeat Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election. See who they are at https://www.lincolnproject.us (click the menu and choose “Our Team.”)
In a New York Times op-ed published December 17, 2019, the Lincoln Project announced itself. You can read it here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/17/opinion/lincoln-project.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytopinion
Or, in case you didn’t use the link, here’s the gist of it. The Founding members of the Lincoln Project call out Trump’s “crimes, corruption, and corrosive nature.” The Project’s effort “transcends partisanship . . . and asks all Americans to [restore] . . . leadership, governance, and respect for the rules of law.”
In his Gettysburg Address, four months after the pivotal battle, Lincoln “stood on that fateful field and said, ‘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.”
That “unfinished” but “nobly advanced” work is the inspiration for the Lincoln Project. Lincoln “understood the necessity of not just saving the Union but also of knitting it back together spiritually as well as politically.”
Those in the Lincoln Project are “dedicated to defeating Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box . . .” and imply that they favor down-ballot Democratic candidates, too.
Although they are still Republicans and hold Republican ideas such as pro-business, pro-state’s rights, pro-small government, they understand the severe damage Trump is doing to our country and are trying to make him (and it) stop. They have produced and aired several ads promoting their ideas and their rationale for their important work. In case you haven’t seen them, yet, go to their website. They are all posted there.
Once more from the Lincoln Project, “Electing Democrats who support the Constitution over Republicans who do not is a worthy effort.”
I, for one, heartily agree.
-—stay curious! (and vote)