Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Abraham Lincoln and his Religiosity

 

Lincoln grew into an intensely religious man, although we rarely hear him described in those terms nowadays. His religious faith became fundamental to his thinking and decision-making during the Civil War; we rarely hear that either. When he assumed the enormous burden of the presidency with war approaching, his faith grew deeper. When his beloved young son Willie died in early 1862, it deepened again—and seemed to continue growing deeper until his death. In the end Lincoln should almost certainly be remembered as the most important religious figure America has ever produced. I don’t mean he was a theologian. But Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah weren’t theologians either.

– David Gelernter, The Fourth Great Western Religion

In the beginning of his book, David Gelernter asks what it means to “believe” in America. He believes that the Puritans used their religion to plant the seeds for faith-based ideals such as liberty, equality and democratic governance.

More than ever, the performance of Abraham Lincoln has come up for criticism. In terms of actions he made that defied federal law, he believed that the times demanded these decisions. He was also a deeply religious man, enduring many losses both personal and political, and although people have questioned his Christianity (because he was not a regular church-goer), he relied on his faith and especially the Old Testament to guide him.

How well do we live our faiths, even when we embrace them? How often are we called to compromise our ideals? How well do we resist those pressures?

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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There are 43 comments.

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  1. Vectorman Thatcher

    Ronald Reagan was also quietly religious. Jimmy Carter was known for teaching Sunday School and his Baptist background. Later on, Carter supported Castro and Chavez, which IMHO makes him a 100% hypocrite.


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    • #1
    • July 9, 2019, at 8:59 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. Vance Richards Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Ronald Reagan was also quietly religious. Jimmy Carter was known for teaching Sunday School and his Baptist background. Later on, Carter supported Castro and Chavez, which IMHO makes him a 100% hypocrite.

    Lincoln’s “house divided” and Reagan’s “city on a hill” quotes both came from the same Guy. 

    • #2
    • July 9, 2019, at 9:40 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. James Gawron Thatcher

    Susan,

    Without question, he adopted a religious model for the Civil War. I think he referred to it as a fiery test. I would interpret this to mean that America had sinned against its own principles set forth in the Declaration by accepting slavery. America had tried to live with the sin by compromise after compromise but in the end, all compromise had failed. The horrible Civil War that followed would cleanse America of the sin of slavery.

    Thus Lincoln didn’t see himself as the active deciding force but rather as an agent of the Almighty’s ordained judgment which he could not change. He desperately tried to change the judgment, offering the olive branch at the beginning of the War, but it was not to be. Accepting the judgment gave him the emotional space to try to “bind up the nation’s wounds” and the resolve to see the war through to victory. 

    I think that this interpretation best harmonizes with the language of the Gettysburg Address.

    “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought 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 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 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.”

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #3
    • July 9, 2019, at 9:55 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan,

    Without question, he adopted a religious model for the Civil War. I think he referred to it as a fiery test. I would interpret this to mean that America had sinned against its own principles set forth in the Declaration by accepting slavery. America had tried to live with the sin by compromise after compromise but in the end, all compromise had failed. The horrible Civil War that followed would cleanse America of the sin of slavery.

    Thus Lincoln didn’t see himself as the active deciding force but rather as an agent of the Almighty’s ordained judgment which he could not change. He desperately tried to change the judgment, offering the olive branch at the beginning of the War, but it was not to be. Accepting the judgment gave him the emotional space to try to “bind up the nation’s wounds” and the resolve to see the war through to victory.

    I think that this interpretation best harmonizes with the language of the Gettysburg Address.

    “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought 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 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 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.”

    Regards,

    Jim

    Beautifully said, Jim. I just remembered that Michael Medved in his book on Lincoln gave many examples of how Lincoln’s work was G-d inspired; as I recall, he even dreamt of his upcoming death.

    • #4
    • July 9, 2019, at 10:10 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. WillowSpring Member

    Slightly off topic, but David Gelernter is a very interesting guy. My first introduction to him was his groundbreaking work in parallel computing and a more speculative work “Mirror worlds” which some say foresaw the influence of the Web. Since then, he has written about a wide range of topics – including our education system. One quote (from Wikipedia) is

    “They [students] know nothing about art. They know nothing about history. They know nothing about philosophy. And because they have been raised as not even atheists, they don’t rise to the level of atheists, insofar as they’ve never thought about the existence or nonexistence of God. It has never occurred to them. They know nothing about the Bible.” 

    In 1993, he was injured when opening a package bomb from the “Unibomber” and his right hand and eye were permanently damaged. He wrote about this in “Drawing Life: Surviving the Unibomber”

    • #5
    • July 9, 2019, at 11:17 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    Slightly off topic, but David Gelernter is a very interesting guy. My first introduction to him was his groundbreaking work in parallel computing and a more speculative work “Mirror worlds” which some say foresaw the influence of the Web. Since then, he has written about a wide range of topics – including our education system. One quote (from Wikipedia) is

    “They [students] know nothing about art. They know nothing about history. They know nothing about philosophy. And because they have been raised as not even atheists, they don’t rise to the level of atheists, insofar as they’ve never thought about the existence or nonexistence of God. It has never occurred to them. They know nothing about the Bible.”

    In 1993, he was injured when opening a package bomb from the “Unibomber” and his right hand and eye were permanently damaged. He wrote about this in “Drawing Life: Surviving the Unibomber”

    Peter Robinson says (in a comment following the Uncommon Knowledge video that Gelernter and David Berlinski and one other person will participate in one of his interviews. Should be great fun!

    He’s brilliant in so many areas! And I love the quote you referenced from him. So true. Thanks, @willowspring!

    • #6
    • July 9, 2019, at 11:34 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. CurtWilson Lincoln

    As Trump took office, the Washington Post called Gelernter “fiercely anti-intellectual”.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/01/18/david-gelernter-fiercely-anti-intellectual-computer-scientist-is-being-eyed-for-trumps-science-adviser/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.247f813cf87d

    • #7
    • July 9, 2019, at 6:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    CurtWilson (View Comment):

    As Trump took office, the Washington Post called Gelernter “fiercely anti-intellectual”.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/01/18/david-gelernter-fiercely-anti-intellectual-computer-scientist-is-being-eyed-for-trumps-science-adviser/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.247f813cf87d

    Right. Now we know how brilliant he really is! He is talented in so many areas that they hate the fact that they can’t pigeonhole him. Besides, Trump liked him, so everyone on the Left needs to hate him.

    • #8
    • July 9, 2019, at 6:08 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  9. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    His Second Inaugural Address is unique in American history, being more of a sermon than a traditional inaugural address. 

     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 offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses 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 offense 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 bondsman’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.”

     
    • #9
    • July 9, 2019, at 10:30 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  10. Skyler Coolidge

    The hagiographies of Lincoln never end. I’m far too much of a realist, or cynic if you insist, to believe that he had beliefs about almost anything that were not beholden to his lust for power and office.

    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    • #10
    • July 11, 2019, at 2:55 AM PST
    • Like
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    • #11
    • July 11, 2019, at 5:43 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. Kevin Schulte Member

    The head of a nation that is tearing it self apart with the end uncertain. My guess , trepidation filled his days rather than power trips.

    • #12
    • July 11, 2019, at 5:57 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. James Gawron Thatcher

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    The head of a nation that is tearing it self apart with the end uncertain. My guess , trepidation filled his days rather than power trips.

    Kevin,

    Black depression mixed with melancholy. Mary who had been his defender & light collapsed under the weight of the horror towards the end. Lincoln whatever his capacity for tough political calculation, never appears triumphal. He seems to be praying for the whole thing to end even though he knows full well how much pain it will take to end it.

    Not a happy camper.

    Regards,

    Jim 

    • #13
    • July 11, 2019, at 7:46 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  14. Kevin Schulte Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    The head of a nation that is tearing it self apart with the end uncertain. My guess , trepidation filled his days rather than power trips.

    Kevin,

    Black depression mixed with melancholy. Mary who had been his defender & light collapsed under the weight of the horror towards the end. Lincoln whatever his capacity for tough political calculation, never appears triumphal. He seems to be praying for the whole thing to end even though he knows full well how much pain it will take to end it.

    Not a happy camper.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Ageed, Jim

    I am convinced his writing’s and speech’s were the fruit of painful prayer.

    In my life, I am closest to God when I am in the crucible of trial. Provided I am in the dependency mode instead of the anger mode. 

     

    • #14
    • July 11, 2019, at 8:02 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Skyler Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    • #15
    • July 11, 2019, at 10:02 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Kevin Schulte Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    Not necessarily disputing any of your points Skyler. However, people are complex. If you snapshot my life. You will find an angel and a devil.

    The bible refers to David as a man after God’s own heart. Well it also record’s his dark side as well.

    I am a Christian, if you had access to the entirety of my life. You certainly could say, not very Christian.

    A Christian psychologist described mankind as a glorious ruin. We display Gods glory and mans ruin. I’d say that sums us up very well.

    I personally am cynical with history, all Historians have agendas.

    The truth is murky.

    • #16
    • July 11, 2019, at 10:22 AM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    There are those who praise Lincoln as if he was a god. He wasn’t. He was flawed; he was a political animal and was ambitious; he governed in controversial and trying times. I’ve read three biographies of him, and with all his flaws, I think he managed to save the union during some of the most difficult times in our history. I choose to praise him with all his limitations; you can choose to discredit him.

    • #17
    • July 11, 2019, at 10:27 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Skyler Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    There are those who praise Lincoln as if he was a god. He wasn’t. He was flawed; he was a political animal and was ambitious; he governed in controversial and trying times. I’ve read three biographies of him, and with all his flaws, I think he managed to save the union during some of the most difficult times in our history. I choose to praise him with all his limitations; you can choose to discredit him.

    One of the biggest problems I have with him is the idea that he “saved the union.”

    I put “saving the union” in the same category as NASA’s perpetual “search for life” or “search for the origins of the moon/earth/universe.” These are broad goals that are offered without justification. Why are we searching for life? I’m more interested in our lives, honestly, and though it’s an interesting endeavor it is posed as a reason for spending a lot of money as though no other explanation is required.

    When it comes to Lincoln and “saving the union” I think that is a nice sounding thing, but forcing peoples to be in the union sounds a whole lot more like oppression than anything lofty or worthwhile. Ending slavery is very nice and needs no other justification, but that was not his goal. 

    I don’t see Lincoln as a nice man, nor a worthy man, and I seriously doubt he took religion very seriously, except as a tool for his lust for power.

    • #18
    • July 11, 2019, at 11:44 AM PST
    • Like
  19. Kevin Schulte Member

    Skyler, do you think the south should have been permited to secede ?

    I am open to this argument because of states rights.

    If so. What should have been done with slavery ? You seem to be ok with the war to stop it, if I uunderstand you properly.

    • #19
    • July 11, 2019, at 11:56 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    We can argue about Lincoln’s wartime measures (hey, even historians who like him do that) but he didn’t jail people for simply speaking against him. In 1862 there were Congressional elections in which his party took a beating from his opponents, losing 26 seats in the House. In 1864 we had a Presidential election in the midst of a civil war, and for most of that year, Lincoln thought he would lose. He was personally attacked in those election campaigns as well as in newspaper cartoons and articles but did not jail anyone for personal insults.

     

    • #20
    • July 11, 2019, at 4:44 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    We can argue about Lincoln’s wartime measures (hey, even historians who like him do that) but he didn’t jail people for simply speaking against him. In 1862 there were Congressional elections in which his party took a beating from his opponents, losing 26 seats in the House. In 1864 we had a Presidential election in the midst of a civil war, and for most of that year, Lincoln thought he would lose. He was personally attacked in those election campaigns as well as in newspaper cartoons and articles but did not jail anyone for personal insults.

     

    Thank you, Mark.

    • #21
    • July 11, 2019, at 6:44 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Skyler Coolidge

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    We can argue about Lincoln’s wartime measures (hey, even historians who like him do that) but he didn’t jail people for simply speaking against him. In 1862 there were Congressional elections in which his party took a beating from his opponents, losing 26 seats in the House. In 1864 we had a Presidential election in the midst of a civil war, and for most of that year, Lincoln thought he would lose. He was personally attacked in those election campaigns as well as in newspaper cartoons and articles but did not jail anyone for personal insults.

     

    He jailed a lot of people without any due process whatsoever, including the entire Maryland state legislature. I think it would be disingenuous to claim that all of those newspapermen, legislatures and who knows who else, were jailed without any personal animosity.

    • #22
    • July 11, 2019, at 6:54 PM PST
    • Like
  23. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    We can argue about Lincoln’s wartime measures (hey, even historians who like him do that) but he didn’t jail people for simply speaking against him. In 1862 there were Congressional elections in which his party took a beating from his opponents, losing 26 seats in the House. In 1864 we had a Presidential election in the midst of a civil war, and for most of that year, Lincoln thought he would lose. He was personally attacked in those election campaigns as well as in newspaper cartoons and articles but did not jail anyone for personal insults.

     

    He jailed a lot of people without any due process whatsoever, including the entire Maryland state legislature. I think it would be disingenuous to claim that all of those newspapermen, legislatures and who knows who else, were jailed without any personal animosity.

    Lincoln was subject to personal abuse far beyond that of any president, including Trump, yet responded to personal insults in a much more restrained manner than our current incumbent, ignoring most and shrugging off others with humor.

    In the case of the Maryland legislature, In September 1861 Lincoln ordered the arrest of some, not all, of its members at a session called to consider secession. Lincoln’s view was that he was not going to sit by and risk Maryland seceding and cutting off all lines of supply to the American capital and bringing the Confederate frontier to the Mason Dixon line. You can argue with his actions, and some historians do, but it was business, not personal. 

    • #23
    • July 11, 2019, at 8:19 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. Skyler Coolidge

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Lincoln was a politician. Like many politicians, he modified what he said and did to increase the likelihood that he would be elected and re-elected. He was no different than any other politician in that he wanted to be powerful.

    One can strive to be powerful and be religious at the same time. Unless you were inside the man’s head and heart, you wouldn’t know the degree to which each played a part. They may, in fact, have been inextricably linked.

    I don’t claim to know his head or his “heart” but I do know that his behavior was as a man obsessed with power and I’m far too cynical to believe one tenth of what the hagiographers say about him. He jailed a lot of people without trial for simply speaking against him. That’s not very Christian, to say the least.

    We can argue about Lincoln’s wartime measures (hey, even historians who like him do that) but he didn’t jail people for simply speaking against him. In 1862 there were Congressional elections in which his party took a beating from his opponents, losing 26 seats in the House. In 1864 we had a Presidential election in the midst of a civil war, and for most of that year, Lincoln thought he would lose. He was personally attacked in those election campaigns as well as in newspaper cartoons and articles but did not jail anyone for personal insults.

     

    He jailed a lot of people without any due process whatsoever, including the entire Maryland state legislature. I think it would be disingenuous to claim that all of those newspapermen, legislatures and who knows who else, were jailed without any personal animosity.

    Lincoln was subject to personal abuse far beyond that of any president, including Trump, yet responded to personal insults in a much more restrained manner than our current incumbent, ignoring most and shrugging off others with humor.

    In the case of the Maryland legislature, In September 1861 Lincoln ordered the arrest of some, not all, of its members at a session called to consider secession. Lincoln’s view was that he was not going to sit by and risk Maryland seceding and cutting off all lines of supply to the American capital and bringing the Confederate frontier to the Mason Dixon line. You can argue with his actions, and some historians do, but it was business, not personal.

    It was patently illegal and unamerican. The war hadn’t even started, I believe. Also, you don’t explain how he jailed newspaper editors during the war. Very little of his behavior was Christian.

     

     

    • #24
    • July 12, 2019, at 3:02 AM PST
    • Like
  25. Vectorman Thatcher

    Skyler (View Comment):

    In the case of the Maryland legislature, In September 1861 Lincoln ordered the arrest of some, not all, of its members at a session called to consider secession. Lincoln’s view was that he was not going to sit by and risk Maryland seceding and cutting off all lines of supply to the American capital and bringing the Confederate frontier to the Mason Dixon line. You can argue with his actions, and some historians do, but it was business, not personal.

    It was patently illegal and unamerican. The war hadn’t even started, I believe. Also, you don’t explain how he jailed newspaper editors during the war. Very little of his behavior was Christian.

    The First Battle of Fort Sumter began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery fired on the Union garrison. These were the first shots of the [Civil] war…

    • #25
    • July 12, 2019, at 3:14 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. Kevin Schulte Member

    According to Grant’s memoir, secession started immediately following Lincoln’s election.

    This was Game On from the get go.

    From the Union’s perspective this was sedition.

    Again, history is merky.

    This was the first civil war for any US President. It was his responsibility to keep the United in the States. Put the evil of slavery in this mix. With the south trying to export the institution of slavery to the free states.

    Civil war by it’s very nature is an Unchristian endeavor. However, Christians have to try the best we can to navigate the Unchristian hand we are delt.

    Me thinks you Judge him harshly.

    Grant was no Lincoln supporter, in fact he stated he did not vote for him.

    • #26
    • July 12, 2019, at 3:27 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):
    Grant was no Lincoln supporter, in fact he stated he did not vote for him.

    Eventually though they gained great respect and appreciation for each other.

    • #27
    • July 12, 2019, at 6:04 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Percival Thatcher

    I remember listening to a lecture on Lincoln where the lecturer made a great deal about Lincoln’s irreligiosity based on Lincoln having done impressions of his preacher when he was young.

    Imagine that. An adolescent mocking an authority figure. First time it had ever happened, I’ll bet.

    • #28
    • July 12, 2019, at 6:59 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Percival (View Comment):

    I remember listening to a lecture on Lincoln where the lecturer made a great deal about Lincoln’s irreligiosity based on Lincoln having done impressions of his preacher when he was young.

    Imagine that. An adolescent mocking an authority figure. First time it had ever happened, I’ll bet.

    As a young man, Lincoln was celebrated for his wit; he’d send people roaring over his stories and he did it with a light heart. I suspect his making fun of others reminded people to not take themselves too seriously as well.

    • #29
    • July 12, 2019, at 7:01 AM PST
    • 1 like
  30. Percival Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    I remember listening to a lecture on Lincoln where the lecturer made a great deal about Lincoln’s irreligiosity based on Lincoln having done impressions of his preacher when he was young.

    Imagine that. An adolescent mocking an authority figure. First time it had ever happened, I’ll bet.

    As a young man, Lincoln was celebrated for his wit; he’d send people roaring over his stories and he did it with a light heart. I suspect his making fun of others reminded people to not take themselves too seriously as well.

    Lincoln had a tendency towards self-deprecating humor. Donald does it from time to time. Barack is constitutionally incapable of being a butt of anyone’s jokes, including his own.

    Especially his own.

    • #30
    • July 12, 2019, at 7:12 AM PST
    • 2 likes
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