Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

On this day in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln and his entourage arrive at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. They do so amid secrecy and security, avoiding Baltimore where an assassination plot awaited him.

Lincoln did not want to appear cowardly but took the threat seriously, at the insistence of his wife Mary Todd.

Similarly, there is nothing cowardly about Lincoln’s thoughts on the Bible, which inspired Our t-shirt:

Abraham Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

 

John Adams White House blessing Presidents' Day

George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd is now generally known as Presidents’ Day. In fact, it was the first federal holiday to honor an American president, and was originally established in 1885.

Presidents Day was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday until January 1, 1971. Then, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act shifted it to the third Monday in February.

As a result, it can occur the 15th through the 21st inclusive, but not on Washington’s actual birthday.

Even so, the federal government still officially recognizes Presidents’ Day as “Washington’s Birthday,” though it is certainly an occasion to remember all U.S. presidents.

“Heaven” and “this House”

John Adams, our second president, and the first to inhabit the President’s House (known as the White House since 1901),  wrote this in a letter to his beloved wife Abigail, as seen below carved in to the stone fireplace of the White House State Dining Room:

“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”

We would do well to do the same.

 

Presidents' Day

Abraham Lincoln

On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln is born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Despite growing up a member of a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana, Lincoln became one of America’s most admired presidents.

“A new birth”

Regarding another form of birth, you have likely heard this quote from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

“this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln

Rev. Dr. Henry Highland Garnet

On this day in 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s 56th birthday, Rev. Dr. Henry Highland Garnet was the first African American to address the U.S. House of Representatives.

Garnet, a former slave himself, was a pastor of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. His sermon commemorated the victories of the Union army and the deliverance of the country from slavery.

Notably, President Lincoln arranged for the special Sunday service.

“From foundation to dome”

Here’s an excerpt from Garnet’s historic address:

“The other day, when the light of Liberty streamed through this marble pile, and the hearts of the noble band of patriotic statesmen leaped for joy, and this our national capital shook from foundation to dome with the shouts of a ransomed people, then methinks the spirits of Washington, Jefferson, the Jays, the Adamses, and Franklin, and Lafayette, and Giddings, and Lovejoy, and those of all the mighty, and glorious dead, remembered by history, because they were faithful to truth, justice, and liberty, were hovering over the august assembly. Though unseen by mortal eyes, doubtless they joined the angelic choir, and said, Amen.”

“Then before us a path of prosperity will open, and upon us will descend the mercies and favors of God. Then shall the people of other countries, who are standing tiptoe on the shores of every ocean, earnestly looking to see the end of this amazing conflict, behold a Republic that is sufficiently strong to outlive the ruin and desolations of civil war, having the magnanimity to do justice to the poorest and weakest of her citizens. Thus shall we give to the world the form of a model Republic, founded on the principles of justice and humanity and Christianity, in which the burdens of war and the blessings of peace are equally borne and enjoyed by all.”

 

Rev. Dr. Henry Highland Garnet

Lincoln Bible

On this day in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln leaves his home in Springfield, Illinois bound for Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, his belongings, including his Bible, did not arrive in time for his inauguration.

So, William Thomas Carroll, the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, provided a bible that he kept for official use, which went on to become what we know as the “Lincoln Bible,” and the design inspiration for one of Our t-shirts.

Find yours here:

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

Abraham Lincoln Amendment XIII

On this day in 1865, the House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery in America.

Previously, on June 15, 1864, the amendment “failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives,” as President Abraham Lincoln stated in his Fourth Annual Message to Congress on December 6, 1864.

Then, he went on “without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session.

The Amendment

AMENDMENT XIII

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Address

Then, a little over a month later, President Lincoln, would deliver his second inaugural address. It reads like sermon.

So, here is a sizable powerful portion of that address:

“Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.”

“These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war.”

“Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? 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 a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

 

Abraham Lincoln Amendment XIII

Seal of Illinois

On this day in 1818, Illinois, commonly called the “Land of Lincoln,” becomes the twenty-first state in the Union.

Here is the Preamble of the Constitution of the State of Illinois:

We, the People of the State of Illinois – grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing upon our endeavors – in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves and our posterity – do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.

Seal of Illinois

As seen in the state seal above, “Aug. 26, 1818” is the date the first Illinois Constitution was signed.
Also prevalent in the seal is the state motto of “State Sovereignty, National Union,” and for good reason.

All one thing; All the good

In fact, Illinois and Abraham Lincoln were central to the debate of state sovereignty and national union, as demonstrated by the famous Lincoln–Douglas Debates. Stephen A. Douglas, a Democrat and U.S. Senator from Illinois, believed the nation must remain united but could only do so half-slave, half-free. Conversely, Lincoln invoked Scripture to assert the opposite:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.”

After all, this should come as no surprise, given Lincoln’s lofty opinion of the Bible:
“In regard to this Great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg address

On this day in 1863 (that is, 7 score and 16 years ago), President Abraham Lincoln boards a train for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to deliver a short speech the following day. That speech became known as the Gettysburg Address, and is one of the most famous speeches in American history.

The brief, 272 word speech was delivered at the close of ceremonies dedicating that Civil War battlefield cemetery where so many soldiers, from both sides, had fallen.

Speaking to a crowd of over five thousand people, Lincoln hearkened to Our founding for Our American spirit and purpose.

Today, the words of the Gettysburg Address are engraved into a wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

This nation, under God

A full transcript follows:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg address

 

On this day in 1927, the work of carving and sculpting the Mount Rushmore National Memorial begins. The project was declared complete on October 31, 1941.

The iconic granite sculpture, attracts millions annually to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

According to sculptor Gutzon Borglum, “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.”

With that stated purpose in mind, what follows is a ‘Mount Rushmore’ of quotes from the aforementioned presidents. Two of these quotes adorn Our Lost Founding shirts:

George Washington
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.”

Thomas Jefferson
“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life, who has covered our infancy with His Providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power

Abraham Lincoln
“In regard to this Great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”

Theodore Roosevelt
“Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure ourselves what life would be if these standards were removed.”

 

Finally, here is your humble Our Lost Founding Founder at our National Memorial:

 

Me at Mount Rushmore, Summer 2019

Proclamation of Thanksgiving - Abraham Lincoln

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issues a Presidential Proclamation inviting the American people “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving.

The invitation was much like President George Washington’s Proclamation on January 1, 1795 recommending “all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the nineteenth day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.

The Proclamations are short and rich, so the text of each follows, first Lincoln’s:

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans. mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”

 

Proclamation of Thanksgiving - Abraham Lincoln

 

Now, Washington’s:

“When we review the calamities, which afflict so many other nations, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign war – an increasing prospect of the continuance of that exemption – the great degree of internal tranquility we have enjoyed – the recent confirmation of that tranquility by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it – the happy course of public affairs in general – the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens; are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence towards us. In such a state of things it is, in an especial manner, our duty as people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.

Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the nineteenth day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer: and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation. particularly for the possession of constitutions of government which unite and, by their union, establish liberty with order; for the preservation of peace, foreign and domestic; and for the seasonable control, which has been given to a spirit of disorder, in the suppression of the late insurrection; and generally for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and, at the same time, humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings. graciously to prolong them to us – to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them – to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value – to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits – to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them, by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and as men – to render this country, more and more, a propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries – to extend among us true and useful knowledge – to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety – and, finally, to impart all blessings we possess or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States of America, to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand. Done, at the city of Philadelphia, the first day of January, 1795, and of the independence of the United States of America, the nineteenth.
Go Washington,
President of the United States

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Secretary of State.”

Seal of the State of Hawaii

On this day in 1959, Hawaii becomes the 50th and most recent state to join the Union.

The state motto, adopted that same year, is “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono.”
It’s Hawaiian phrase commonly translated to “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”

Here is the Preamble of The Constitution of the State of Hawaii:

“We, the people of Hawaii, grateful for Divine Guidance, and mindful of our Hawaiian heritage and uniqueness as an island State, dedicate our efforts to fulfill the philosophy decreed by the Hawaii State motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono.”

We reserve the right to control our destiny, to nurture the integrity of our people and culture, and to preserve the quality of life that we desire.

We reaffirm our belief in a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and with an understanding and compassionate heart toward all the peoples of the earth, do hereby ordain and establish this constitution for the State of Hawaii.”

 

Seal of the State of Hawaii