Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lincoln 1865

The day raced past before I could get organized enough to write a post, but I wanted to write about Mr. Lincoln. It was 143 years ago in the theater box shown here that Booth struck out one of the lights of American history.

I learned the usual school-kid history and it really turned me off to anything historical. Time passed and I've developed a revived interest in the past. It started with Angel in the Whirlwind, a book I recommend to those interested in the American Revolution. It gave a realistic picture of George Washington in context - so much more interesting than the drivel fed to our schoolchildren. A few years living in metropolitan Boston, and my interests advanced to the American Civil War.

I find so few people understand that war - it is so easy to get lost in the distraction of state's rights and completely fail to see the real reason for the war. Even Lincoln took a while to come to grips with it, but in his wavering he gives us such deep insight and reveals the truth. All men are created equal and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Every time a commentator talks about "original intent" as a valid interpretation of the Constitution, I remember Lincoln. It was a rail-splitter from Kentucky and Illinois who showed us that we must not be satisfied with the insights and limitations of the founding fathers, but each generation must add its own brilliance to enhance the luster of the gift they gave us.

The Constitution is one of the great documents of history, but it is only a diamond in the rough. It is an on-going challenge to us to develop and improve the spirit and intellectual quality of the original document lest it become a quaint and curious aged bauble. If the party of Lincoln is to be a true party of conservatives, they must rediscover the struggle to preserve and defend the Constitution, they must watch over it and guide it to new greatness instead of smothering it in uncertainty and blather. To lock one's self to some concept of original intent is to regress to the antebellum mindset.

Lincoln sacrificed his life for the rights of others. Let us hope we are sufficiently strong to continue to fight for the rights of all men and women.

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