Friday, January 18, 2008

Where's Our Lincoln?

The Library of Congress has uncovered four new photos of the second inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1865.

They show the large crowds and the many soldiers who participated in an inaugural parade including African-Americans who proudly marched in the parade for the first time. Lincoln shook at least 6,000 hands that day.... a day of celebration for a country emerging from the bloody Civil War. A little over a month later Lincoln was struck down by an assassin at Ford's Theater.

Many people well remember the words from that second inaugural speech that are captured on Lincoln's memorial to "bind up the nation's wounds." But, how many recall the part of the address where he names the cause of those wounds? Here are his thoughts on that day......

"....One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union...."

While slavery constituted the "powerful interest" in the United States that took a Civil War to contain, so too are special and powerful corporate interests squeezing the lifeblood from our country now in the name of greed and profits.

The next president must stop these powerful corporate and foreign interests from stealing our hard-won Union, restore trust in the government and, yes, bind our wounds.

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