Ulysses S. Grant

On this day in 1822, the first ever General of the U.S. Army and the 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant is born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to the second Lieutenant General in American history. The first was George Washington.

“The influence of this book”

Later in life, just nine years before he died of cancer in 1885, Grant wrote this in regard to education:

“Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties; write its precepts on your hearts and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future.”

Ulysses S. Grant

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

On this day in 1861, the Civil War begins when Confederates fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina.

One or the other

Prior to that, on June 16, 1858, then U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln uttered these famous words:

“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.”

In 1860, the majority of the slave states were threatening secession. Then, when Lincoln was elected President, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings.

Prior to Lincoln’s inauguration, March 4, 1861, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas had seceded from the Union.

Finally, four years after the attack on Fort Sumter, the Union defeated the Confederacy with the staggering total of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.

The concept of “a house divided against itself” is widely known as a statement from Jesus in reference to casting out evil. Matthew, Mark, and Luke recorded it in their gospels. That Abraham Lincoln saw fit to use it regarding slavery makes it that much more powerful.

Abraham Lincoln’s clearly appreciated the Bible, and his about “this great book” inspired one of our first t-shirts:

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

 

Sam Houston tomb inscription

On March 2, 1793, Sam Houston is born in Virginia.

The celebrated liberator of Texas and the first president of the Republic of Texas made it clear that Texas was to become part of the United States.

Sam Houston served for 14 years as a U.S. senator, where he argued for Native American rights.

His antislavery beliefs did not align with the southern ideology of Texas, so he resisted secession from the Union during the 1850s and refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy when Texas voted to break from the Union in 1861.

Then, after a brief retirement from public service he died in 1863.

Interestingly, March 2 is also the day that Texas declared independence from Mexico.

Attribute Alliteration

Lastly, the inscription on his tomb reads:

A Brave Soldier. A Fearless Statesman.
A Great Orator—A Pure Patriot.
A Faithful Friend, A Loyal Citizen.
A Devoted Husband and Father.
A Consistent Christian—An Honest Man.

 

Sam Houston tomb inscription

Julia Ward Howe

On this day in 1908, Julia Ward Howe is the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Howe was was a poet, author, and an advocate for abolitionism and women’s suffrage. Still, she is best known for her composition, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Our God is marching on

Here are her stirring lyrics, in their entirety:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence in the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my condemners, so with you my grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.Julia Ward Howe

Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg address

On this day in 1863 (that is, 7 score and 17 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

 

Alaska Purchase

On this day in 1867, Russia formally transfers possession of Alaska to the United States.

The name Alaska come from the Aleut word alyeska, which means “great land.”
The name is appropriate given that Alaska is nearly twice the size of Texas, along with its abundance of natural resources.

Secretary of State William Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. That is less than two cents an acre, and about $119 million today.

Public opinion regarded the purchase as “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox.”
That was until the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, anyway.

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because in 1861 President Abraham Lincoln appointed Seward Secretary of State. He also survived an assassination attempt as part of a plot to ‘decapitate’ the government the day Lincoln was assassinated.

Seward on Slavery

In the 1850s, the Seward family home was a safehouse on the Underground Railroad. He also signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Neither of these come as any surprise in light of these quotes from Seward:

“I deem it established, then, that the Constitution does not recognize property in man, but leaves that question, as between the states, to the law of nature and of nations. … When God had created the earth, with its wonderful adaptations, He gave dominion over it to man, absolute human dominion. The title of that dominion, thus bestowed, would have been incomplete, if the lord of all terrestrial things could himself have been the property of his fellow-man.”

“We hold no arbitrary authority over anything, whether acquired lawfully or seized by usurpation. The Congress regulates our stewardship; the Constitution devotes the domain to union, to justice, to defence, to welfare, and to liberty.

But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes. The territory is a part, no inconsiderable part, of the common heritage of mankind, bestowed upon them by the Creator of the universe. We are his stewards, and must so discharge our trust as to secure in the highest attainable degree their happiness.”

“[O]ur statesmen say that ‘slavery has always existed, and, for aught they know or can do, it always must exist. God permitted it, and he alone can indicate the way to remove it.’ As if the Supreme Creator, after giving us the instructions of his providence and revelation for the illumination of our minds and consciences, did not leave us in all human transactions, with due invocations of his Holy Spirit, to seek out his will and execute it for ourselves.”

Alaska Purchase

Lincoln Bible Inauguration Day

On this day in 1861, Abraham Lincoln signs the Revenue Act. The Act included the first federal income tax statute, levied to help fund the Civil War.

As a result, a 3 percent tax was levied on annual incomes over $800.

In preparation, President Lincoln sent letters to his cabinet requesting their “opinion in writing whether under the Constitution and existing laws, the Executive has power to collect duties.”

He signed those letters: “Your Obt. Servt A. Lincoln, ” That is, ‘Your Obedient Servant.’

Duty and Duties

On July 4, 1861, President Lincoln spoke to Congress about “[no]… ordinary subject of legislation” regarding the the Civil War:

“Surely each man has as strong a motive now to preserve our liberties as each had then to establish them.

A right result at this time will be worth more to the world than ten times the men and ten times the money. The evidence reaching us from the country leaves no doubt that the material for the work is abundant, and that it needs only the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction and the hand of the Executive to give it practical shape and efficiency. One of the greatest perplexities of the Government is to avoid receiving troops faster than it can provide for them. In a word, the people will save their Government if the Government itself will do its part only indifferently well.”

Referring to himself in the third person, President Abraham Lincoln concluded his message to Congress with this charge:

“In full view of his great responsibility he has so far done what he has deemed his duty. You will now, according to your own judgment, perform yours. He sincerely hopes that your views and your action may so accord with his as to assure all faithful citizens who have been disturbed in their rights of a certain and speedy restoration to them under the Constitution and the laws.

Finally, he echoed Our National Motto and the words from Our National Anthem that inspired Our forthcoming shirt, seen below: 

“And having thus chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God and go forward without fear and with manly hearts.”

Lastly, however one regards federal income taxes, Abraham Lincoln’s reverence for the Bible is quite clear:

“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.”

That quote inspired this shirt:

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

The 14th Amendment first page

On this day in 1868, the 14th Amendment is officially adopted into the U.S. Constitution.

Equal Protection

The first of the two most significant provisions of the 14th amendment was to grant citizenship to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States” (i.e. former slaves). The second was that no “state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio was the principal framer of the 14th Amendment. As the primary author of Section 1 of the Amendment, Bingham gave a speech to the House on February 28th, 1866, introducing an initial draft to the House and explaining the purpose of enforcing the Bill of Rights on the states.

So, here are a few portions of that speech:

“As slaves were not protected by the Constitution, there might be some color of excuse for the slave States in their disregard for the requirement of the bill of rights as to slaves and refusing them protection in life or property; though, in my judgment, there could be no possible apology for reducing men made like themselves, in the image of God, to a level with the brutes of the field, and condemning them to toil without reward, to live without knowledge, and die without hope.”

Also, regarding President Andrew Johnson:
I trust in God that for his own sake, for the sake of his country, and of the friends who gave him his high position, he will retrace his steps; but whether he does or does not, I trust that the American people will not strike the word “forward” from their vocabulary, but will go right on to the consummation of the great work which Providence has committed to their hands; that is, the enforcement of their Constitution in every State, in every Territory, and upon every sea, wherever our flag floats, whoever may oppose at home or abroad.”

Finally:
“[Our] Constitution provides that no man, no matter what his color, no matter beneath what sky he may have been born, no matter in what disastrous conflict or by what tyrannical hand his liberty may have been cloven down, no matter how poor, no matter how friendless, no matter how ignorant, shall be deprived of life or liberty or property without due process of law—law in its highest sense, that law which is the perfection of human reason, and which is impartial, equal, exact justice; that justice which requires that every man shall have his right; that justice which is the highest duty of nations as it is the imperishable attribute of the God of nations.”

Equal Responsibility

Then, on May 23rd, 1866, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan introduced a nearly final draft of the amendment to the Senate. Here’s an excerpt from his speech:

“Is it not time, Mr. President, that we extend to the black man, I had almost called it the poor privilege of the equal protection of the law? Ought not the time to be now passed when one measure of justice is to be meted out to a member of one caste while another and a different measure is meted out to the member of another caste, both castes being alike citizens of the United States, both bound to obey the same laws, to sustain the burdens of the same Government, and both equally responsible to justice and to God for the deeds done in the body?”

 

The 14th Amendment first page

Ulysses S. Grant White House portrait

On this day in 1885, Civil War hero and former President Ulysses S. Grant dies.

Grant graduated from West Point in 1843 and served in the Mexican-American War. Later, he re-enlisted in the Army in 1861 and led the Union army to victory at Vicksburg in 1863. Then President Abraham Lincoln gave Ulysses Grant the rank of lieutenant general in March 1864, which until that point had been exclusive to George Washington.

Of course, on April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, making Grant a national hero.

Then, in 1869 he began his first of two terms as president, and spent the last few years of his life writing his Civil War memoirs, and then died of throat cancer, likely due to his habit of chain cigar-smoking.

Precepts and Practice

In 1876, he wrote a message “To the Children and Youth of the U.S.:

Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your heart, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future.
‘Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.’ ” (emphasis added)

Ulysses S. Grant

Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg address

On this day in 1863, the largest military conflict in North American history begins when Union and Confederate forces collide at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The epic battle lasted three days and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia retreated to Virginia.

Gettysburg Address

So, below is the full text of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. This version is inscribed in the South Chamber of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers bought forth on 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 battlefield 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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 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

 

Lincoln Bible

That famous address makes clear Abraham Lincoln’s reverence for God and His Word. This is amplified by the quote that inspired Our “Lincoln Bible” t-shirt:

“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

 

Lincoln Bible Inauguration Day

On this day in 1858, senate candidate Abraham Lincoln addresses more than 1,000 delegates at the Illinois Republican Convention in Springfield. He points out the incompatibility of slavery in a nation whose Declaration of Independence states “all men are created equal.”

In doing so, Lincoln paraphrased Mark 3:25 of the New Testament: “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

He went on: “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.

Man’s welfare

It should come as no surprise that Lincoln would use this opportunity to invoke Scripture. As evidenced by the quote that inspired Our “Lincoln Bible” t-shirt, he clearly thought highly of “this book”:

“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.”

Find your shirt HERE.

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage