Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today in History - Abraham Lincoln Shot in Ford's Theater!


"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."

It was 145 years ago today, just five days after Generals Grant and Lee signed the documents at the old Appomattox Court House ending the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth.

"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world."

The most beloved president in our history, Lincoln's was a difficult and painful presidency that began in 1861 when several states had already withdrawn from the Union. For the next 4 years he led the nation through some of the most trying times ever as he fought to preserve the Republic while freeing the slaves and ending the European influence on America's domestic affairs.

"I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end."

There were times the nation was on the brink of self-destruction like just before the Battle of Gettysburg when the Southern Armies were routing the Union pushing them farther and farther north. At Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863, the Union generals did what Lincoln wanted and in one of the bloodiest conflicts in the history of American wars, when there were over 50,000 causalities and nearly 5000 killed, the Union army prevailed.

"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."

Lincoln also secretly secured the help of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, who sailed Russian fleets into the harbors of New York and San Francisco when the Union was at it's weakest, and send messages to England and France that if they sent troops into the American Civil War to help the Confederates that the Russian Empire would consider it an act of war on Russia and attack.

"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it."

At the time England had troops posted in Canada while France had troops posted in Mexico ready to come to the aid of the Southern states in a last desperate attempt to preserve the European trade with the South. The action by the Tsar stopped England and France from attacking.

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."

While Lincoln was considered the great Liberator in America for freeing the slaves Alexander was considered the great Liberator in Russia for ending the feudal system. The Tsar, like his friend Lincoln, was assassinated in 1881 by those opposed to his efforts in human rights making Lincoln and Alexander both human rights martyrs.

"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed."

Lincoln had premonitions of his death. His speeches and correspondence rank among the greatest writing of all time and his love of God and country were such as to help him finish what he started, saving the Union, before his untimely death.

Everyone should study the works and words of Lincoln as masterpieces in politics and human relations and a model of what a president should be in America.

On March 4, 1865, Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address, his favorite of all his speeches. At this time, a victory over the rebels was at hand, slavery was dead, and Lincoln was looking to the future.

"Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

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