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, May 20, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On May 20, 1862

On this day in 1862, Lincoln signed the Homestead Act: which provided settlers with 160 acres of surveyed public land upon payment of a filing fee and five years of continuous residence.

This bill was created to encourage western expansion; however the Homestead Act took 20 years to pass, due to fears in Northern cities that the lure of 'free land' would lower property values and reduce the cheap labor supply. Meanwhile, in the South, there was fear that homesteaders (as generally single family farmers,) would add to the growing abolition movement.

When the southern opposition was nullified in 1862, due to their secession from the Union, the bill finally passed -- and Lincoln signed it into law, opening up the west.

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