Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On February 18, 1861



Almost all men in this country, and in any country where freedom of thought is tolerated, attach themselves to political parties. It is but ordinary charity to attribute this to the fact that in so attaching himself to the party which his judgment prefers, the citizen believes he thereby promotes the best interests of the whole country; and when an election is passed, it is altogether befitting a free people, that until the next election, they should be as one people. - Abraham Lincoln

On this day in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln made the following remarks to the Governor of New York, and an apparently bipartisan crowd in Albany.

I chose this particular short speech (over a very interesting letter to the governor of Massachusetts) because of the subject matter, which is relevant to us today.

In Albany, New York, Lincoln spoke about political parties; and the subsequent need to put partisan interests aside and be 'one people' after an election has passed.

Would that this was possible, even in our own modern-day Congress. Unfortunately, there will always be those who refuse to ever put partisan interests aside, even when the good of the country is at stake.

At the time Lincoln gave this speech, our nation was even more starkly divided than it is today. I question, at times, if it ever fully recovered. In many ways we are still a 'house divided.'

February 18, 1861

Mr. GOVERNOR---I was pleased to receive an invitation to visit the capital of the great Empire State of this nation on my way to the federal capital, and I now thank you, Mr. Governor, and the people of this capital and the people of the State of New York, for this most hearty and magnificent welcome. If I am not at fault, the great Empire State at this time contains a greater population than did the United States of America at the time she achieved her national independence. I am proud to be invited to pass through your capital and meet them, as I now have the honor to do. I am notified by your Governor that this reception is given without distinction of party. I accept it more gladly because it is so. Almost all men in this country, and in any country where freedom of thought is tolerated, attach themselves to political parties. It is but ordinary charity to attribute this to the fact that in so attaching himself to the party which his judgment prefers, the citizen believes he thereby promotes the best interests of the whole country; and when an election is passed, it is altogether befitting a free people, that until the next election, they should be as one people. The reception you have extended to me to-day is not given to me personally. It should not be so, but as the representative for the time being of the majority of the nation. If the election had resulted in the selection of either of the other candidates, the same cordiality should have been extended him, as is extended to me this day, in their testimony of the devotion of the whole people to the Constitution and to the whole Union, and of their desire to perpetuate our institutions, and to hand them down in their perfection to succeeding generations. I have neither the voice nor the strength to address you at any greater length. I beg you will accept my most grateful thanks for this devotion, not to me, but to this great and glorious free country.

Annotation

[1] New York Herald and Times, February 19, 1861. The New York Tribune text, same date, is at considerable verbal variance, but the variations are not sufficiently significant to merit collation.

Labels: , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home