Numerous newspapers and the 24-hour news cycle talking heads touted the ringing of bells yesterday [April 9] to signal the 150th anniversary of the Confederate surrender in Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse. The ugly four year war had effectively come to an end as General Robert E. Lee realized that his threadbare starving Army of Northern Virginia could not fight on. The might of the Union government and its army had won out.
Yet as I look at the current dissension amongst average U.S. citizens mixed with the absolute political upheaval that has created chaos in this country and abroad I can’t help but wonder if we have learned any of the historical lessons that brought on the Civil War.
Please read the below words written by Abe Lincoln to friend Joshua Speed in 1855.
|“I deny the right of Congress to force a slaveholding State upon an unwilling people. I deny their right to force a free State upon an unwilling people. I deny their right to force a good thing upon a people who are unwilling to receive it. The great principle is the right of every community to judge and decide for itself, whether a thing is right or wrong, whether it would be good or evil for them to adopt it; and the right of free action, the right of free thought, the right of free judgment upon the question is dearer to every true American than any other under a free government.”|
This supports Lincoln’s belief that free people living in a certain place [state] should choose how they want to live. This was the intent of the Founders too. Now, I do not condone slavery and I consider it an evil, but in the mid-1800s it was legal. Lincoln obviously considered it an evil but noted that if people wanted to live under an evil premise then they should be free to do that. Yet five years later when Lincoln was elected to be President he had changed his mind. He was willing at the force of the bayonet to take away the rights of Southern states to compel them to accept the ideas of his newly formed abolitionist and Northern-controlled Republican party.
Lincoln’s opponent in that 1860 election, Stephen A. Douglas, recognized the danger to the country when he told the Senate in January 1861 that “the Southern people have received the result of that election as furnishing conclusive evidence that the dominant party of the North, which is soon to take possession of the Federal Government, are determined to invade and destroy constitutional rights.”
Today, we have that same mentality of a strong Federal government telling the states [citizens] what they can and cannot do. We have judges at the state and national levels who override votes of the citizens to change laws that range from abortion to immigration to marriage. We have a president who uses executive action outside of the U.S. Constitution to do whatever in his own mind [like a king] he wants. He does not consult with Congress nor does he pay any attention to foreign affairs experts or military advisors. He won’t sit down with Republican leaders to work a compromise nor will he meet with our major ally and leader of the only democracy in the Middle East. Netanyahu. Yet he sends representatives to sit down with the Iranians to work out a “framework” for their nuclear program. These same Iranians vow to wipe Israel off this planet and the U.S. would certainly be in line to receive the same. This all creates chaos in our country and the world. Does anybody think any good comes out of chaos?