Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 1:44 PM
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 12:23 PM
Monday, May 26, 2008
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 9:59 AM
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I love to find hidden gems about Abraham Lincoln in small town papers and other obscure resources and then share them with my readers. Here is a great editorial asking the rhetorical question "Does America need another Abe Lincoln?" The article comes from fwdailynews.com, a family of newspapers serving northeastern Indiana.
The author begins by sharing the fascinating news of yet another auction coming up (June 2008) at Christie's in New York of a document signed by Old Abe himself. What's so unique about this document, though, is that it was also signed by Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States Of America! It seems that this document was signed by both presidents in order to grant safe passage to a gentleman who wished to sell approximately 100 bales of cotton in order to support the Orphan Home of Mississippi. The document is estimated to bring between $100,000 and $150,000 at auction. It's the only known Civil War document signed by both Lincoln and Davis. I suspect it will fetch far more than that.
But the author of this editorial goes on to make an eloquent plea to Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barrack Obama the presumptive nominees of their parties for president. The author makes a great case that the next president will need to "bind up the nation's wounds" and to put partisan politics aside in order to solve the many problems our nation is facing. The next president, according to the writer, needs to lead all of us, convince Congress to help him (or her) make our country great again. Please take a moment to read this wonderful editorial.
I couldn't agree more. We've all had enough of the blithering babble stemming from both sides of the political spectrum. The politics of hate from the left and the right won't solve a thing.
Yes! A resounding YES! We do need another Abraham Lincoln, a person who will lead our nation through grace, dignity, intelligence, and magnanimity.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 6:54 PM
I've added a few posts to this blog in recent days and weeks about how politicians are falling all over themselves trying to claim that they are just like Abraham Lincoln. Now we have Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia joining the rush to be Abe.
In remarks made earlier this week at the Centennial Celebration of the Illinois Supreme Court Building Gala, Scalia claimed that his strict constructionist views of the U.S. Constitution aren't that "far removed'' from those of Abraham Lincoln.
Well, perhaps Justice Scalia is correct. I am not a lawyer and I confess to not knowing a good deal about Lincoln's legal views. But this much I do know: Justice Scalia consistently rules against the rights of ordinary people in favor of the government and big business every chance he gets. No doubt he is an absolutely brilliant lawyer and justice, but he is also heartless when stomping on the rights of the people. Somehow that does not seem very "Lincolnesque" to me.
Can we please have today's political leaders, elected and otherwise, quit comparing themselves to Abraham Lincoln? The more they try, the sillier they appear.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 6:25 PM
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Yet another thief is in the news today for stealing letters written by former presidents of the United States. The former head of the Theodore Roosevelt Association in Oyster Bay, New York, pleaded guilty to stealing letters written by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln from the association.
Fortunately, federal officials have recovered the letters and will return them to the association. Renehan will face between 24 and 30 months in federal prison. He claims that bipolar disorder made him do it. Hmmm. How about simple greed?
See my posting of January 28, 2008 for the story of another thief who stole valuable documents written by Lincoln and other leaders from American history.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 8:28 AM
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The urge to expand and migrate west began almost as soon as the first Europeans arrived on the eastern shore of North America. As the population grew over the decades, the demand for lands owned by the government grew exponentially. While the government wanted to distribute land (seen as a form of raising revenue), there was much confusion over the methods used for land measurement, leading to property disputes. In 1785, the Land Ordinance went into effect to standardize land measurement, dividing 6 mile square plots into "Townships" and each township into 36 equal sections of 1 square mile, or 640 acres. At that point, settlers could buy 640 acres of land with certain requirements for purchasing such as improvements, plowing, etc. By the early 1800's, the requirement for purchased was lowered to 320 acres.
The Homestead Act of 1862 was signed into law 146 years ago today, May 20, 1862, by president Abraham Lincoln. The law which went into effect on January 1, 1863 opened the floodgates to "settlement" of the American West and forever changed the country.
But with the coming of rapid expansion in the population and change in demographics in the 1840's, more action was required to provide more opportunity for farmers. Crop prices were rising, modernization was taking place, huge farms were pushing out smaller farmers in the east and the south, and the political climate was changing. Various attempts at providing government lands in the West were met with stiff resistance from Southern politicians who feared that opening lands in the West would limit the spread of slavery.
Finally with the onset of the Civil War and the secession of the South, the Federal Government took action. The passage and signing into law of the Homestead Act of 1862 provided government land of 160 acres to any man (who had never fought against the government) with the stipulation that some crops be planted, the person had to live on the land for 5 years, and that a small structure be built. After 5 years, the person could buy the land for around $1.25 per acre.
Depending on one's point of view, the Homestead Act was a boon or a disaster. It was fantastic for people who wanted their own land and to carve out a new life in the frontier. It was a disaster for the Native Americans, who were pushed further and further west into a life of disease and poverty on reservations.
Eventually, huge agribusinesses (industrial farms) pushed out these farmers and the act was repealed in 1977. Today there is no such thing as being able to settle on government land for five years and then purchasing it for next-to-nothing.
The original Homestead Act document is currently on display in Bismarck, North Dakota as part of the celebration of the Lincoln birth bicentennial. It will remain on display until February 12, 2009. The permanent home of the document is the National Archives in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the Homestead Act, you may click here.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 1:07 PM
Monday, May 19, 2008
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 9:14 PM
I can't find any articles comparing Hillary Clinton to Abraham Lincoln. I know she recently challenged Obama to "Lincoln-Douglas" style debates, a challenge which was regretfully rebuffed. And of course she was born in Illinois, so she must also be like Abe!
So can today's candidates really be the "next Lincoln" or is it just wishful thinking? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the winner could exhibit the same moral strength, political brilliance, and outstanding leadership of the original? Unfortunately, I don't think we need to hold our breath waiting for it to happen.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 7:48 PM
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 9:05 AM
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
It's been a busy life outside of the Abraham Lincoln Blog for me recently. With the coming of spring, the yard and garden need tending and sporting events need to be attended. My real job (as a computer geek) is warming up rapidly along with the weather as well. These duties combine to take me away from my first love: history, trivia, and fun facts about our nation's number one president. (That would be Lincoln in case you didn't know)
I want to assure my readers, all 2 of you (just kidding), that I'm not shutting down the blog. Believe me, if I could earn a living doing this, I would.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 12:37 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 12:28 PM