Posts

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

Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issues his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. His hope was to facilitate reintegration, reorganization and reconstruction in the the postwar South.

Also on this day, in 1941, as indicated in Our December 7th post entitled Pearl Harbor: So Help us God, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made an oath on behalf of the United States when he asked Congress to declare war on Japan in response to the “unprovoked and dastardly” attack on Pearl Harbor.

He said:
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.”

With that in mind, one authorization of Lincoln’s Proclamation allowed for a new state government to be formed when ten percent of eligible voters took an oath of allegiance to the United States. Naturally, that phrase is included in the oath, again emphasizing the intent and obligation of the oath giver.

Permanent Preservation

Whereas, it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States, and to reinaugurate loyal state governments within and for their respective states: Therefore–

“I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is hereby granted to them and each of them, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and in property cases where rights of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain said oath inviolate; and which oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:–

“I, , do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all acts of congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by congress, or by decision of the supreme court; and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the supreme court. So help me God.”

Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction

George Washington Thanksgiving Proclamation

President George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation (pictured below). Then, President Lincoln made it a federal holiday with his 1863 Proclamation. With that, he invited American citizens to “set apart… the last Thursday of November… as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

The first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

First, here is a portion of the Thanksgiving Proclamation Issued by President George Washington on October 3, 1789:

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and… to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God…Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign [the last] Thursday… of November… to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection… .”

“Inestimable blessings”

Next, this is an excerpt from President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, dated October 20, 1864:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November… as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”

Finally, here is the first verse from “The President’s Hymn” written by William Augustus Muhlenburg for President Lincoln in 1863:

Give thanks, all ye people, give thanks to the Lord,
Alleluias of freedom with joyful accord:
Let the East and the West, North and South roll along,
Sea, mountain and prairie, one thanksgiving song.

George Washington Thanksgiving Proclamation

Lincoln Kennedy Presidential Continental

On this day in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln is elected to a second term.

Also on this day, in 1960, John F. Kennedy is elected president.

Of course, with the Civil War and the Cold War respectively, both presidents faced significant challenges. Sadly, both presidencies ended in assassination, and the list of supposed links between the two is legendary.

As we look back on revered presidents like Lincoln and Kennedy, we see that Americans tend to triumph in the the face of adversity. A ‘common thread’ runs through these triumphs, and we need look no further than their inaugural addresses to find it. We also find guidance for how to face our current challenges together.

From Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865:
The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.”

[A]s 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… .”

 

From Kennedy’s inaugural address on January 20, 1961:
“And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.”

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

 

Abraham Lincoln banner 1860

On this day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th president of the United States. Thus, he became the first Republican to win the presidency.

“The best way”

The following is a timely and timeless quote from his first inaugural address, the following March:

“Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend it.”

Abraham Lincoln banner 1860

Abraham Lincoln Family

On this day in 1842, during their second engagement, Abraham Lincoln marries Mary Anne Todd at her sister’s home in Springfield, Illinois. Episcopal minister Reverend Charles N. Dresser officiated their marriage ceremony.

Mary’s gold wedding ring was inscribed with the words “A.L. to Mary, Nov. 4, 1842. Love is eternal.”

Although, the rainy day seemed to capture the storminess of their courtship and marriage. Please continue reading below the family portrait.

Abraham Lincoln marries Mary Todd
First, the Lincolns were both abolitionists, though most of Mary’s family fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Then, they lost their 11-year-old son Willie in 1862. Biographers believed they both suffered from depression.

Finally, Mary Todd sat next to her husband Abraham as he was assassinated at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865.

Lincoln’s Last Words

Later, in 1882, Mary Lincoln told Baptist Pastor Noyes Miner that Lincoln’s last words, as he leaned in close to whisper to her:

“[W]e will not return immediately to Springfield. We will go abroad among strangers where I can rest. We will visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footsteps of the Savior.”

Those few words say quite a lot. Now, see Our “Abraham Lincoln Bible” t-shirt to learn he felt about “this Great book…”

Nevada State Seal

On this day in 1864, the United States Congress admits “Battle Born” Nevada as the 36th state in the Union.

Notice the timing toward the end of the Civil War: statehood was indeed ‘battle born.’ Additionally, “Battle Born” is one of the state’s mottos, and it appears on the state flag.

By strategically appointing territorial officials, President Abraham Lincoln had put in place the support he needed for reelection. This also helped secure votes for his proposed 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in the United States.

“All for Our Country,” indeed.

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

PREAMBLE.

We the people of the State of Nevada Grateful to Almighty God for our freedom in order to secure its blessings, insure domestic tranquility, and form a more perfect Government, do establish this Constitution.

 Nevada State Seal

Emancipation Proclamation

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues presidential order number 95. It was his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, setting a date of January 1, 1863 for the freedom of more than 3 million slaves.

“Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States… I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.”

The Proclamation references a date, September 22, 1862 once and January 1, 1863 three times. In each instance, the year is stated as: “in the year of our Lord.”

Finally, formalities aside, Lincoln closes the document with this powerful statement:
“And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

That right there is quintessential Our Lost Founding.

Emancipation Proclamation Abraham Lincoln