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

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

On this day in 1868, a crowd of 5,000 gathers at Arlington National Cemetery for the first Decoration Day. This day is now known as Memorial Day.

It was a few weeks earlier, on May 5, that General John A. Logan, leader of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Union Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance.
General Logan stated: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

Then, at Arlington, James A Garfield, who would become the 20th president, addressed the crowd:
“The faith of our people in the stability and permanence of their institutions was like their faith in the eternal course of nature. Peace, liberty, and personal security were blessings as common and universal as sunshine and showers and fruitful seasons; and all sprang from a single source, the old American principle that all owe due submission and obedience to the lawfully expressed will of the majority. This is not one of the doctrines of our political system—it is the system itself. It is our political firmament, in which all other truths are set, as stars in Heaven. It is the encasing air, the breath of the Nation’s life.”

Later, he added: “The voices of these dead will forever fill the land like holy benedictions.”… [H]ere let them rest, asleep on the Nation’s heart, entombed in the Nation’s love!

“We honor… we pray…”

More recently, in his Presidential Proclamation Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1966, President Lyndon B Johnson said:
“On this Memorial Day, as we honor the memory of brave men who have borne our colors in war, we pray to God for His mercy. We pray for the wisdom to find a way to end this struggle of nation against nation, of brother against brother. We pray that soon we may begin to build the only true memorial to man’s valor in war — a sane and hopeful environment for the generations to come.”

He then went on to “urge all of the people of this Nation to join me in prayer to the Almighty for the safety of our Nation’s sons and daughters…, for His blessing on those who have sacrificed their lives for this Nation in this and all other struggles, and for His aid in building a world where freedom and justice prevail, and where all men live in friendship, understanding, and peace.

Indeed, may we pray similarly for all present and future struggles. Finally, may you  have a blessed and reflective Memorial Day.

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Clara Barton American Red Cross

On this day in 1881, Clara Barton founds the American Red Cross at age 60. She went on to lead the organization for the next 23 years.

During the American Civil War, Clara earned the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield” for the comfort and care she provided for sick and wounded soldiers. She read to them, wrote letters for them, listened to them, and, perhaps most importantly, she prayed with them. Then, in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war.

Also during the war, Barton brought supplies and support to the all-black Massachusetts 54th Regiment, which had been recruited by Frederick Douglass. Shortly after the war, the two met and built a supportive friendship. Douglass subsequently became a signatory of the original Articles of Incorporation for the American Red Cross.

The need and the strength

The following quote from Clara Barton captures the spirit of our lost founding, from the Declaration, the prayer proclamations, and the perception of Providence:

“You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need and how to meet it. Then God gives the strength and the thing that seemed impossible is done.”

 

Clara Barton American Red Cross

The Prayer at Valley Forge

Following the Union Army’s devastating loss at the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862, the Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks record Abraham Lincoln saying the following about prayer:

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

General George Washington’s legendary Prayer at Valley Forge is depicted in Arnold Friberg’s well-known painting below.

Prayer is vital and encouraged by great Americans throughout our history, both in victory and in defeat.

So, our prayer is that we would continue to offer our prayers and supplications to the Great Governor, the Almighty Author. Let “We the People” acknowledge His hand in guiding our country, as we observe our National Day of Prayer.

Our History, Our Heritage

“The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.”

Unfurl the history of the National Day of Prayer on the National Day of Prayer task force website:

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/about

George Washington Prayer

 

Abraham Lincoln last words Holy Land

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln is shot at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. He died the next morning at approximately 7:22 a.m. Lincoln was the first U.S. president to be assassinated.

The attack came just five days after the end of the American Civil War.

Two Jerusalems

A strong case can be made, based on the “Personal Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln” (kept at the Illinois State Historical Library), a manuscript Noyes W. Miner, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springfield, Illinois, who wrote of his conversations with Mary Todd Lincoln in 1882, and several other references, that these were Abraham Lincoln’s last words:

“We will visit the Holy Land, and see those places hallowed by the footsteps of the Savior. There is no city on earth I so much desire to see as Jerusalem.”

These are the words that follow in the manuscript:
“and with that word half spoken on his tongue, the bullet from the pistol of the assassin’s entered his brain, and the soul of the great and good President was carried by the Angels to the New Jerusalem & above.”

Abraham Lincoln last words Holy Land

Lincoln’s last words about the Holy Land may be up for debate. However, his words of appreciation for the Holy Bible are not, and we made a shirt based on them:

https://ourlostfounding.com/product/abraham-lincoln-bible-this-great-book/

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

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

 

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

Daniel Webster

On this day in 1782, American statesman Daniel Webster is born in what is now Franklin, New Hampshire. Webster was an attorney, a member of the House of Representatives, and a Massachusetts Senator. In addition, he served as Secretary of State for three Presidents, including Millard Fillmore, John Tyler, and William Henry Harrison.

Daniel Webster is considered one of the greatest orators in American history. For example, his “Second Reply to Hayne” in 1830 is regarded as one of the greatest speeches in senate history. Then, his famous, controversial, three and a half hour “Seventh of March” speech in 1850 helped delay the Civil War.

So, here is a collection of a few other famous, brief, yet powerful quotes from Webster:

First, when asked “What is the most sobering thought that ever entered your mind?” Webster replied, “My personal accountability to God.”

Also, on December 22, 1820, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing at Plymouth Rock, Webster said:

“[O]ur ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits….Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens…

[L]et us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.”

“His Word” and “his works”

“If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.”

“If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”

Daniel Webster

 

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

On this day in 1865, Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in Springfield, Illinois.

What is also at rest is the debate on how he felt about God’s Word. The following quote inspired Our Abraham Lincoln Bible “This Great Book” 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.”

Find yours, HERE.

Abraham Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

Dred Scott photograph circa 1857

On this day in 1820, President James Monroe signs the Missouri Compromise. The bill attempted to equalize the number of slave-holding states and free states in the country. Missouri, and that very Compromise would become pivotal in the Dred Scott Decision, issued also on this day, in 1857.

The United States Supreme Court was divided along slavery and antislavery lines, but had a majority of Southern justices. Thus, the Court ruled the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. Ultimately, the court decided that Dred Scott had no legal right to request his freedom.

Even so, following the Dred Scott decision, Frederick Douglass urged his audiences to “walk by faith, not by sight.”

It will cease to be divided

Then, in June of 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech centered on the Dred Scott case.  The words of Jesus, as recorded in the three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, mark Lincoln’s famous “house divided” speech:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (emphasis added)
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.
Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.
Have we no tendency to the latter condition?
Let any one who doubts, carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination — piece of machinery so to speak — compounded of the Nebraska doctrine, and the Dred Scott decision.”

From this speech alone Lincoln’s appreciation for the Bible is clear. Still, another quote from Lincoln about “this great book” inspired our “Lincoln Bible” shirt.

Dred Scott photograph circa 1857