Tag: Lincoln

On Honoring Government

Let me clarify something today. I can almost hear some readers of this blog thinking, “He criticizes the president and Congress so much that he can’t really have any respect for the government.” The opposite is true. I have the highest regard for the federal government. This comes from a reading of the Constitution, the debates over its ratification, and the character of many of those who helped bring it to pass. I believe the form of government set up by… Read more »

Thoughts on Presidents’ Day

So, it’s Presidents’ Day. It didn’t used to exist. In my younger years, we had instead separate days to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln specifically, on their respective February birthdays. I’m not even all that sure what the current Presidents’ Day is supposed to focus on. People from my generation probably still consider it a commemoration of Washington and Lincoln, but what about the new generation? Is the intent to honor anyone and everyone who ever served as president?… Read more »

Teaching the Controversial Civil War Era

For the 6th time in my tenure at Southeastern, this fall I will be teaching my course on the Civil War Era. The topic is one of intense interest for many students, albeit one of continuing controversy. I do my best to deal fairly with those controversies—this is a part of American history that still lingers with us today. It’s not merely a course that describes battles. Rather, it begins with a discussion of issues that led to the conflict:… Read more »

The Lincoln Tragedy

On this morning, April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln died in a house across the street from Ford’s Theater. The pandemonium of the night before still resonated through Washington, DC, and the news would soon spread throughout the country, both North and South. John Hay, Lincoln’s personal secretary, recalls hearing these words from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton: The nation mourned, and it wasn’t just the North that did so. Many in the South knew this was a tragedy for them… Read more »

Presidential Greatness: A List to Ponder

Presidents Day apparently was a prime time to release the new rankings of presidential greatness. Who is judging which president is greater than another, you may ask. The answer: 170 members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. You may ask further: what are the political leanings of these 170 members? The answer with respect to political party: 57.2% of respondents were Democrats, while 12.7% were Republicans, 27.1% were Independents, and 3% selected Other… Read more »

A Presidents Day Reflection

On this Presidents Day, I’d like to honor some of the men who filled that post with integrity. Let’s forget, for this one day at least, those who degraded the office and focus instead on those who gave it a degree of eminence. One must always begin with the man who set all the precedents for what a president should be: George Washington. At the end of the Revolutionary Era, in the midst of economic chaos and a woefully weak… Read more »

A Speech Etched into America’s Memory

Yesterday, November 19, was the 154th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, one of the most significant and poignant speeches in American history—and also one of the shortest. The battle at Gettysburg had occurred in July of 1863, three days of some of the most awful warfare the nation has ever endured. It was particularly awful because those who died were all Americans, fighting one another. It took from July to November to clean up the battlefield of all the dead…. Read more »