Nov. 19, 2019

From Lincoln To Trump Remembering The Gettysburg Address

156 years ago today as the great majority our ancestors were enslaved in Confederate states and some free blacks dreamt of a day in which they would gain a measure of human dignity and freedom in these United States of America. Racism abounded in this country in 1863. From those white oppressors who sought to keep us in chains. Our ancestors were considered no more valuable than the mule pulling the plow or the cows who provided the morning milk. Even the white abolitionists who sought the end of the systematic suppression of those chains felt our ancestors were not equal in status to any white man. The nation was in the midst of a great battle white brother against white brother battling to either keep the system of slavery flourishing or fighting to end that system of slavery. Those in the northern states were fighting not so much to free our ancestors but were fighting to end the system of free labor that gave the southern slaveholding plantation owners, mill owners, and manufacturing owners unfair economic advantages that enabled them to build incredible amounts of wealth.

Even the President of the Union, Abraham Lincoln sought the total removal of every black soul from America as a solution to this problem. Lincoln also was willing to support slavery's continuation if that solution can cease the war between the Confederacy and the Union forces. The caveat was that slavery maintains its position and now be extended westward during the Union States' plans to implement Manifest Destiny over its western territories. So when Lincoln spoke on that Thursday, November 19, 1863, briefly to give a dedicatory speech at Gettysburg Battlefield when a costly Union victory gave hope to those seeking an end to this Civil War. He, Lincoln was in the midst of considering if he would even win reelection in 1864. His Presidency stood on shaky ground with the election less than a year away.

The fact that the Union held a sizable military advantage over the Confederacy in no ways assured the Union a victory on the battlefields. The white citizens of the northern states were tired of this war, the huge human sacrifice and they were looking for either a total victory or a compromise with the Confederacy to end the hostilities. This must be fully comprehended in 1863 both white southerners and white northerners the never truly believed that our black ancestors were their equals.

Then President Lincoln walked to the makeshift podium and gave his most historical oratory. This speech placed the burden of ending the conflict on the Confederacy but it also promised an end to slavery eventually but not immediately. Had the south accepted the emancipation decree slavery would have continued but the expansion of slavery beyond its current borders would have ceased. Here are those words spoken by Lincoln 156 years ago:

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.

It is that address that I remember today on my blog. That we as a nation still are fighting the sins of racial inequality and racial injustice. Also, how did the party of Lincoln become the party of Trump? How did the party of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment become the party that is now equated to black voting rights cessation in 2019? How did the party that gave the bully pulpit to Abraham Lincoln become the party who now gave that bully pulpit to a race agitator like Donald Trump? How could the party that consecrated the grounds of Gettysburg become the party of a leader who ignored American veterans of their day of celebration? How, we can only answer these questions with this response for as much as the United States has moved towards some aspects of human equality. Still many of the same attitudinal feelings of racial animist that existed in 1863 still exist in 2019. So that is how a Republican Lincoln became Republican Trump and a great deal of America population still longs for the days of Confederate power.

Should we have learned from our forefathers that we are a people of the people a nation that has struggled to right the wrongs of the most unjust system of slavery? We still fight and most continue to fight until we don't see the color of a man's skin but only the content of that man's character.

Can God Bless America?
Or Does Hate For One Another Still Cascade Like A Rushing Waterfall?