In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM is the introduction of present-day ideals and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. I believe presentism is a form of cultural bias, and it creates a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. I'm well aware that historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present articles that are fact-based and well researched, without interjecting any of my personal opinions.
NOTE: I present articles without regard to race, color, political party, religion, national origin, citizenship status, gender, age, disability, or military status. What I present are facts — NOT ALTERNATIVE FACTS — about the subject. What you won't find are rumors, lies, unfounded claims, character assassinations, hateful statements, insults, or attempts at being funny.
PLEASE PRACTICE HISTORICISM, WHICH IS THE INTERPRETATION OF THE PAST IN ITS OWN CONTEXT.
Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809, of obscure and humble parents. His father, Thomas Lincoln, and his grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, after whom he was named, were natives of Rockingham County, Virginia, their ancestors having emigrated from Burks County, Pennsylvania. Further back than this but little is known pertaining to the genealogy of the Lincoln family. (Today, we know the origins of the Lincoln family beginning in Medieval England in 1495.)
Abraham Lincoln, the grandfather of our present subject, removed to Kentucky in the year 1780 and settled on a small tract of land in the deep and almost impenetrable recesses of the forest, surrounded only by the stealthy savage , and the wild beasts which roamed at will, unmolested by the hand of the white man, over a large area of the western country at that early period. Here in the gloomy depths of the forest, far remote from the nearest white settlements, and isolated from all society, except now and then a visit from a straggling "redskin. " eager, perhaps, for a favorable opportunity to get a crack at some 'pale-face,' our hardy pioneer commenced (he erection of a hewed log cabin, for the shelter of his family, preparatory to clearing up his farm for its support. In this perilous and unprotected situation he was permitted to pursue, uninteruptedlj^, his usual avocation of hunting and tilling his scanty acres in corn and potatoes for a period of tour years, when, on a certain occasion he was hewing timber, about four miles from home, a bullet from the gun of treacherous savage put an end to his earthly career; and, thus, in the same manner as his illustrious grandson, he was snatched from the bosom of his family without a moment's warning, by the ruthless hand of an assassin. Failing to return to his home as usual in the evening, the most painful apprehensions for his safety were entertained by the family during the lonely night, when on making search in the morning his scalped remains, mutilated by the tomahawk of the redskin, we've discovered by the side of the tree on which he had been at work the preceding day. The widow, thus bereft of her natural support. with no provision for the maintenance of herself and family but the scanty yield of a few acres of cultivated ground, still surrounded by a primeval forest, was compelled through sheer poverty to a separation of her family, composed of three sons and two daughters, and removal to more hospitable and less dangerous quarters, retaining only Thomas, her youngest son and the father of our martyred president. Owing to the straitened circumstances of his mother, Thomas was compelled to be a wandering farm boy and thus grew up without the advantage of an education. In 180G, in the 2Sth year of his age, he married a Miss Nancy Hanks, also a native of Virginia, who became the mother of our present subject. Both were equally uneducated, being barely able to read; while Thomas could bunglingly manage his own signature, which was the extent of his acquirements in the art of chirography. They subsequently removed to that portion of Hardin County which has since been formed into the county of Laren, where Abraham, the youngest of three children, two sons, and a daughter, was born, as we have before said, in the year 1809. His brother died in infancy, and although his sister lived to arrive at adult age and marry, she has long since been dead, so that Mr. Lincoln, at the time of his death, had neither brother nor sister living.
In the autumn of 1816, Mr. Thomas Lincoln having become thoroughly disgusted with the institution of slavery, for which he seems to have had an inherent dislike, and which had begun to assume considerable proportions in his neighborhood, determined to leave the State and seek a home in another clime uncontaminated by the effects of the peculiar institution on his own class, north of the Ohio River. Having disposed of his Kentucky farm for ten barrels of whisky and twenty dollars in money he proceeded to construct a rude flat-boat, on which he placed his cargo of whisky and such other effects as could be immediately dispensed with by the family, and embarked down the Rolling Fork to the broad current of the Ohio River, in quest of a market for his whisky, and with the intention of investing the proceeds in a new home in a free state. He swiftly glided down the rapid stream uninterruptedly till he reached the Ohio River, where an accident happened to his frail craft which came near costing him his life, with the loss of all his effects, except three barrels of whisky and a few tools. A sudden gust of wind capsized his boat and spilled her captain, whisky and all, into the Ohio River, from which perilous condition he was rescued by some woodmen nearby in a skiff, who were attracted thither by his lusty cries for help. Having righted his boat, with the assistance of his rescuers he placed the three barrels of whisky, together with his ax and some other tools fished from the water, aboard once more and proceeded on his voyage down the Ohio River, no further mishap occurring to interrupt his progress.
His point of debarkation was at Thompson's Ferry, on the north bank of the Ohio River, in the State of Indiana, where he sold his boat and the remaining three barrels of whisky, and set out in company with a man by the name of Posey, with whom he had fallen in at the landing, for Spencer county, distant about twenty miles through an unbroken forest, where he had some relations residing. Here he selected a site for his future home, and returned on foot to his family in Kentucky, and commenced making preparations for their journey. Being able to muster three ponies, Mrs. L. and the daughter were placed upon one, little Abe on another, and the head of the family on the third, when they proceeded, Indian style, on their way for their new home in the Hoosier State. Their route lay in an almost wholly uninhabited wilderness country through which they were obliged to travel, and after a wearisome journey of seven days, camping out by night, they arrived at their destination in their adopted State, north of the Ohio River. The father at once commenced clearing a site for a homestead, and with the assistance of a neighbor erected a log cabin, 18 feet square, with only one room, into which the family moved and resided for many years. Two years after their removal to this place Abraham had the misfortune to lose his mother, but as his father was soon after married to another very excellent woman, the void which had been created in the family circle was partially filled. This lady, to whom young Lincoln became strongly attached, on account of her kind and motherly treatment, is still living in the southern part of Illinois, and she continued to be the recipient of his favors down to the time of his death. Mr. Thomas Lincoln, with his family, continued to reside in his Indiana home for a space of 14 years—master Abraham during this time devoting himself to the employment common to backwoodsmen, of hunting, of felling trees, splitting rails, etc., during the day, and devoting all his leisure hours during the evening to the improvement of his mind, by the perusal of such meager reading matter as a new and sparsely populated country afforded. Although he learned the rudiments of common arithmetic, together with reading and writing, from an itinerant schoolmaster who set up in his neighborhood for a short time, he declared that the aggregate of his schooling would not exceed twelve months; but like all great men in whom a thirst for knowledge is inherent, he improved every opportunity, from the imperfect and scanty means at his command, for the cultivation and development of his intellectual powers. A story illustrating this desire for knowledge and his proverbial honesty is told as follows: "A Mr. Crawford had lent him a copy of Ramsey's Life of Washington. During a severe storm, Abraham improved his leisure by reading this book; at night he laid it down carefully, as he thought, and the next morning he found it soaked through with water. The wind had changed, the rain had beaten in through a crack in the logs and the book was ruined. How could he face the owner under such circumstances? He had no money to offer as a return, but he took the book, went directly to Mr. Crawford, showed him the irreparable injury, and frankly and honestly offered to work for him until he should be satisfied. Mr. Crawford accepted the otter, and gave Abraham the book for his own, in return for three day's steady labor in pulling fodder." His manliness and straight-forwardness won the esteem of the Crawfords, and indeed of all the neighborhood " During the last two years of his father's residence in Indiana, Abraham was employed as a flat boatman on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, at ten dollars a month; his employer being principally engaged in trading stores along the Mississippi and Louisiana plantations. It was during one of these voyages that our youthful hero and his only shipmate, the son of his employer, met with a fearful rencounter, by being attacked at the dead hour of the night by a gang of half a dozen or more of black river pirates, who sought to capture their boat, with the view, no doubt, of first murdering them and then robbing them of their stores. They were approaching the Cresent City and had disposed of a portion of their cargo when this noticeable incident in their voyage occurred. "Their boat was made fast to a lonesome shore when somewhere near the middle of the night, young Lincoln was startled from his slumber by a noise which aroused his apprehensions. Awaking his comrade he called out through the darkness, in order to learn if anyone was approaching the boat. A ferocious shout from several throats, in concert, was his answer, and the boat was immediately attacked by a party of seven desperate negroes from some of the neighboring plantations, who, doubtless, suspecting that there was money on board, had thought it an easy undertaking to overpower and murder the sleeping boatmen and possess themselves of the property they guarded. There was no time for parley. The robbers upon finding their stealthy approach discovered made a bold push for the coveted prize. Hardly had young Lincoln's call of inquiry passed from his lips before one of the ruffians sprung upon the edge of the boat, but no sooner did he touch the deck with his feet than he was knocked sprawling into the water by a blow from our backwoodsman's terrible fist. Nothing daunted by their comrades fall several more of the black river pirates leaped upon the boat with brandishing billets. But by this time the courageous boatmen had armed themselves with huge cudgels, to the serious detriment of the dark assailants Heavy and rapid blows fell upon either side, until the fighting-quarters became so close that the clubs were partially relinquished for a hand to hand fight. After a desperate struggle of several moments duration, three more of the ruffians were tumbled into the river, and those who still remained on the boat took counsel of prudence and beat a sore-headed retreat shoreward, as best they might but, young Lincoln nothing disposed to rest satisfied with an indecisive victory was after them in an instant. Before the last three who had been plunged into the river had succeeded in crawling up the bank, Abraham had pounded two of them on the shore almost to death with a ponderous cudgel. The first negro who had been knocked into the water fled from the avenging boatman in utter dismay, in fact, all of the "land-forces " of the enemy were speedily scattered in a panic-stricken rout, when the victors paid their respects to the marine reinforcements, dealing heavy blows upon the luckless darkies before they were well out of the water. Feeling that it was a case of life and death, doubting not that the negroes meant to murder them, the young boatmen fought with desperation; while the negroes driven at bay were scarcely less determined; Abraham's strength is said to have been almost superhuman on this occasion, but both he and his comrade were badly bruised by the negroes' cudgels before the latter were compelled to beat a final retreat. Though aching from the blows which they had received, the next immediate care of the victors was to unfasten their craft and push her far out in the stream, as a precaution against further attacks, but none other were made." (Lincoln is the only U.S. President to-date to hold a U.S. Patent for a "Device for Buoying Vessels over Shoals.")
How little did those benighted black men think that the man whose life they sought would become the future liberator of their race! A similar circumstance occurring to most of the youths, of his age, would have so prejudiced their minds against the negro that the lapse of no time would have been sufficient to eradicate the antipathy. Not so, however, with the broad and comprehensive intellect of Abraham Lincoln. He knew that there were good and bad among all classes, races, and colors, and that, perhaps, the very institution which a narrower and less comprehensive mind would have justified from so trivial an occasion if from no other motives, was the cause of rendering them brutal and ferocious. About the time that Abraham arrived at age, news of the wonderful fertility of the western prairies began to spread throughout Indiana and Ohio, and many settlers were attracted thither. The movement became contagious, and Mr. Thomas Lincoln not being exempt from its influence determined to sell his Indiana homestead and remove it to the broad and rolling prairies of Illinois. Accordingly, in the month of March 1830, all arrangements having been completed, he set out with his family in quest of a new home in the Sucker State. The journey, this time, was performed by means of ox-teams, and fifteen days were consumed in the transit. Their point of destination was Macon county, in which they halted, on the north bank of the Sangamon River, about ten miles from Decatur, in a westerly direction. Here they erected another log-cabin, into which the family removed and resided. The next improvement was to split the rails and fence and break ten acres of ground, in which master Abraham assisted, these being the identical rails which subsequently became so famous in history. On this small patch of ground, they raised a large crop of sod-corn the first year, which, with the game procured by Abraham's rifle was their only sustenance through a long and rigorous winter, which was the most severe of any that had ever been known in that climate.
In the following spring, Abraham hired himself out to a man by the name of Offult, to assist in building a flat-boat, on the Sangamon River, about seven miles northwest of Springfield, on which he made another voyage to the Cresent City. Being much liked and highly respected by his new employer, he was engaged by him, after his return from New Orleans, as a clerk in a store and mill at New Salem, Illinois, where he remained till the breaking out of the Black Hawk War in 1832, when he joined a volunteer company, of which he was duly elected captain. His company was immediately marched to the expected scene of conflict in the northern part of the state, but as its time of enlistment (30 days) expired before any engagement ensued, it was disbanded and the men sent home without the honor of participating in a battle with the "pesky redskins." A new levy, however, was soon called for, and Capt. Lincoln not being content with his first campaign, and being anxious to serve his country in some capacity, re-enlisted as a private. Time passed on without any noticeable incident till the term of their enlistment again expired, and they were disbanded before the termination of the war. Still determined to serve his country till the end of the war, and being desirous of participating in a battle, young Lincoln enlisted a third time with the same results so far as a battle was concerned.
The war being over, he returned to his home and began to look about for something to do, when, greatly to his surprise, he found himself nominated, by his friends, as a candidate for the State Legislature. He accepted the nomination, and notwithstanding the issue was averse to him, he had the gratifying compliment of receiving two hundred and seventy-seven votes out of the two hundred and eighty-four cast in his own town, New Salem. This is said to be the only instance wherein he was ever bea'^en in a direct issue before the people; but, taking into consideration the fact that he had been a resident of the county only nine months, and that there were eight aspirants for the same office, the result was not to be wondered at. The large vote polled for him in his own town, where he was best known, shows his extreme popularity, and had he been as well known throughout the county the result of the election would doubtless have been in his favor by an overwhelming majority. We next find him officiating as post-master of the town, and the joint proprietor of a small stock of goods which he and his partner had purchased on credit. This proving profitless speculation, he soon retired from the mercantile business, and commenced the study of law, in the practice of which he afterward became very proficient.
He continued his study, by borrowing books, about one year, at the end of which time he formed the acquaintance of one John Calhoun, (afterward the president of the notorious Lecompton-Kansas Constitutional Convention), by whom he was persuaded to take up the study and practice of surveying. He soon found plenty of business in his new profession, which he continued to prosecute profitably for upwards a year when he was again nominated for the Legislature of Illinois. Having become well known throughout the surrounding country, by means of his profession, as a surveyor, and now being very popular, he was this time elected by a large majority over his competitor. This was his first political preferment, and his rise from this time was rapid and uninterrupted. In this, as in all former positions, he must have been a faithful and industrious servant; for he was three times re-elected to the same office, in which he served from 1834 to 1842—a period of eight years—during which time he devoted himself diligently to the study of the law. Having obtained a license to practice in the courts in 1836, he removed to Springfield in April 1837 and commenced practice as a partner of the Honorable John T. Stuart.
During the exciting presidential campaign of 1844, Mr. Lincoln, being an old-line Whig, ''stumped" the State of Illinois for Henry Clay. His name headed the Whig electoral ticket, in opposition to that of John Calhoun, which headed the Democratic electoral ticket. Calhoun was regarded as the ablest debater of his party in that State and he and Mr. Lincoln stumped the State together. It was in these debates that Mr. Lincoln first demonstrated his ability as a clear-headed, augmentative debater and he came out of this canvass the acknowledged champion of the Whig party in that State. During this campaign, at a convention held at Vandalia the old capital of the State, an old man carried a banner with this device:
"This is a well-attested fact," says the writer, "but what was the prophet's name we have not been able to learn "
If this is true, as we have no reason to doubt, it was remarkably prophetic, as it was some sixteen years before Mr. Lincoln's name was ever thought of by anyone else in connection with the Presidency.
In 1846 Mr. Lincoln was elected a Representative to Congress from the central district of Illinois. He was the first Whig who had ever been elected to represent the State in Congress—his six colleagues all having been elected under Democratic reign. Although Mr. Lincoln's Congressional career was brief, he always took an active part in all measures which came before the house for its deliberation—voting either pro or con upon all questions. In 1849 he was a candidate before the Illinois Legislature for U. S. Senator, but that body being strongly Democratic, elected Mr. James Shields in his stead. For four or five years succeeding this period Mr. Lincoln devoted himself almost exclusively to the study and practice of his profession, being but little engaged in public affairs. But the desperate political struggle which ensued in 1854, on the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, again brought him into the political arena in defense of freedom and the right; and it was mainly through his influence and labors that Illinois elected her first Republican Legislature, which gave her in return Lyman Trumbull, a lawyer and statesman of no ordinary ability, for United States Senator. Mr. Lincoln was a candidate for the same office, the Republicans invariably casting their votes for him on every ballot, while the anti-Nebraska Democrats united on Mr. Trumbull Mr. Lincoln fearing that the latter would withdraw from Trumbull and unite upon someone else of less ability, and whose anti-slavery record was not so clear as that of Mr. T., begged of his friends to desert him and cast a solid vote for Mr. Trumbull Although the sacrifice was a dear one to them, they finally, through Mr. Lincoln's personal appeals yielded, and thus elected Mr. Trumbull. It was in this year that the anti-Nebraska (afterward the Republican) party offered Mr. Lincoln the nomination for governor, but he declined, saying, "No, I am not the man; Bissell will make a better governor than I, and you can elect him on account of his Democratic antecedents." Bissell was accordingly put in nomination and elected.
The next important event in the history of Mr. Lincoln, which contributed very materially to his growing celebrity, and which was the cause of bringing him out more prominently before the American people as a representative man, was his canvassing the State of Illinois, in the campaign of 1858, in connection with Stephen A. Douglass; though this was not the first time that he had measured his strength with the Little Giant. Their first meeting, a debate, took place in Springfield, Illinois, in October, during the campaign of 1854, in which it is said that Mr. Lincoln came out gloriously triumphant. A similar passage was tried at Peoria, but Mr. Douglas came out of this so badly worsted, that he afterward "failed to come to time," by keeping out of the way during the remainder of the campaign.
But it remained for the great senatorial contest of 1858 to engage the herculean strength of these two representative men in a deadly conflict for the mastery of a principle.
|As the Capitol Building expanded to twice its length, the original dome looked out of place. It was removed in 1856 and replaced with a redesigned cast-iron dome.|
This photograph shows the dome under construction in 1859.
Judge Douglas was the universally acknowledged champion of Democracy and was considered by far the ablest man of the party; while the position which Mr. Lincoln held in the Republican ranks, was but little inferior.
It, therefore, was not at all surprising that the eyes of an entire continent of people, who were then standing upon the brink of a mighty revolution, which might at any time launch them upon an unknown political sea, without either chart or compass, were turned to the scene of conflict, to await the result with breathless anxiety.
The day of the election finally arrived, and although Mr. Lincoln received the popular vote, indirectly, the direct vote, which was cast by the Legislature, was in favor of Mr. Douglas who was thereby returned to the Senate by a majority of eight. The contest, however, was not merely to decide who should represent the State of Illinois in the National Councils, but it was for the ascendency of a principle, and that principle involving the stability, nay, the very existence of our republican institutions, for the able manner in which Mr. Lincoln disposed of his antagonist, and his popular dogma of "Squatter Sovereignty," we must refer the reader to the published reports of those debates, as the limits which we have set for this work will not admit of even a summary of the powerful arguments by which he carried his points on those memorable occasions. As an instance, however, of his eloquence and patriotism, we will here subjoin the following tribute which he paid to the Declaration of Independence, during that campaign:
"Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines conflicting with the great land-marks of the Declaration of independence; if you have listened to suggestions which would take away its grandeur and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions, if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in these inalienable rights enumerated by our chart of liberty, let me entreat you to come back—return to the fountain whose waters spring close to the blood of the revolution. You may do anything with me you choose, if you only heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. While pretending no indifference to earthly honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest by something higher than an anxiety for ofiice. I charge you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for any man's success. It is nothing; I am nothing; Judge Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal emblem of humanity—the Declaration of American Independence."
After the close of this senatorial contest, and before the opening of the Presidential campaign of 1860, Mr. Lincoln visited several other States, where he made a large number of speeches, which were received with great enthusiasm; but the crowning effort of his life was made at the Cooper Institute, in New York, in February 1860 With this speech he ended his labors in that direction and remained quietly at home till after his nomination and election to the Presidency, when, on March 4, 1861, he entered upon the eventful life of the past four years, with the history of which all are familiar. Never did a President of the United States come into power under such perplexing and embarrassing circumstances as those which surrounded the Government at the advent of Mr. Lincoln's Administration. Six of the Southern States had already passed ordinances of secession, while several others were on the eve of doing the same. Fort Sumter was completely besieged by a gordian line of batteries, nearly surrounding it on all sides, and cutting off its garrison from all reinforcements and supplies, while several other forts, arsenals, navy yards, etc., had already fallen into the hands of the enemy. The United States Treasury had been robbed and plundered of the last dollar and copper coin by the sneak-thieves of Mr. Buchanan's Cabinet. John B. Floyd, Mr. Buchanan's Secretary of War, had completely dismantled and stripped all the Northern forts and arsenals of all ordnance, arms, ammunition, etc., and had them shipped to the South to be used in the destruction of the Government. The small standing army had been dispersed along the frontier of Texas and to other remote territories beyond the immediate control of the in-coming Executive, while the few ships belonging to the Navy were scattered to the remotest quarters of the globe. United States Senators and Representatives had sat in midnight conclave in the Legislative Halls of the Nation, concocting treason for the overthrow and subversion of the Constitution which each had solemnly sworn to uphold and support. The Cabinet of the preceding administration, with two or three honorable exceptions, was reeking with damnable treason of the foulest dye, while nearly every branch of the Government was administered by the hands of its enemies instead of those of its friends, and even the Chief Executive himself, either paralyzed with fear or purposely conniving with the treason-mongers of his own creation, looked quietly on and saw the noblest work of man—a republican government—disappear, as he supposed, beneath the dark waters of oblivion, over which the mighty waves of rebellion and despotism, for aught, that he cared, might roll for ages unborn. Bold, defiant treason, disrobed of all habiliments of pretended loyalty, stalked abroad in midday through the highways as well as the byways of the National Capital, hissing fiery intonations of hatred to the Union through a thousand serpent tongues, and breathing bitter imprecations upon the heads of its supporters. An impenetrable gloom, like a funeral pall, hung over the future of the Nation, and the stoutest hearts quailed with fear before the impending storm which none, save a providential hand, could then avert. Such were the circumstances under which the administration of Abraham Lincoln came into power and assumed control of the Government.
The events of the first term of his administration—his re-election to the same office in 1864, and the dreadful tragedy of April 14, 1865, which terminated his life on the succeeding day, must here be omitted, as they belong to a more detailed history of himself and the war to which the student is respectfully referred.
The only fault, if any, that can be found with the Administration of Mr. Lincoln, was that he was too mild and lenient with traitors, and not sufficiently vigorous in the prosecution of the war. True, his enemies—the Copperheads of the North—charged him with being a tyrant, and with wielding the military power of the Government with despotic away, for the advantage of himself and party, and to the disadvantage and oppression of his political opponents; but the very fact of their having been allowed to go about the country spouting treason from every rostrum, and abusing the Administration in the most unmeasured terms, was a sufficient refutation of these charges, and gave the lie to the foul mouths and hypocritical hearts of those who uttered them. Many of his friends, with more impulsive temperaments than that which Mr. Lincoln possessed, were impatient at the dilatory manner in which the war was conducted during the first two years of its progress, and judging from a material standpoint, they were correct in their estimates; but when the whole situation is viewed from a more interior perception of the nature and causes of the difficulty and the results necessary to be brought about, it will readily be acknowledged that all has been for the best; or in other words, that the hand of a special Providence, whose purposes were far above the comprehension of all human wisdom, has guided the Nation through the perilous storm of the past four years, and shaped its destinies in accordance with the great fundamental principles of Human Rights, inherent in all men, of all colors, and of all nationalities.
The curse of human slavery was not only a foul blot upon the otherwise bright escutcheon of the Nation, and a libel upon the Declaration of Rights, which preceded American Independence, but it was a canker of immense proportions, gnawing at the very heart of the Nation, and destined, sooner or later, to absorb its vitality, but the question of how to dispose of four millions of human beings, held in abject servitude to the will of the master, who was bound to the institution by all the selfish ties of his nature, without disrupting the Union, was one which baffled the skill of the wisest statesmen. To have made war directly upon the institution, with the avowed purpose of exterminating it, would have thrown the responsibility of all the blood-shed, crime and unutterable horrors growing out of it, upon us of the North, from which all, but the most reckless of hot-headed abolitionists, would have shrunk appalled; yet nothing short of a hostile collision between the two antagonistic sections and conditions of society, would accomplish the result. It, therefore, became necessary to verify the old adage of " Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad." That the friends of the Government might be in the right and clearly acting on the defensive, it was necessary that its enemies should be instigated to strike the first blow. That such was the case the writer of this not only believes, but he also believes that " Old Crazy John Brown," so-called, was merely an instrument in the hands of a Higher Power to probe this purulent sore, and bring the morbific matter to the surface before it should strike in so deep as to destroy the vital organs of the patient. The Government had become so corrupt under so-called Democratic rule, that had things been allowed to proceed uninterruptedly for a few years longer, it would have fallen to pieces of its own inherent rottenness and consequently been past all cure.
The war, ostensibly commenced in the interest of slavery, was one, nevertheless, on the part of a Higher Power, for the destruction of the institution and the purgation of the Government Now had Mr. Lincoln been possessed of a military genius and the strong iron will and individuality of an Andrew Jackson, he would have brought the entire strength of the Government down upon the rebellion at once and wiped it out, in which event the status of slavery would not have been disturbed, as the public opinion of the North would not have sustained the President, in case of any attempted interference in that direction, in so radical a measure. Under this adjustment of the National difficulties, the doughfaces of the North, in order to placate the slave-drivers of the South, lest they might be instigated to a renewal of hostilities, would not only have yielded their liberties but even their manhoods to the behests of their Southern masters, who would have become more imperious and domineering than ever before. The only effectual plan which supernal wisdom could devise, was to prolong the war under the cruelest and barbarous practices of the rebels, till the people of the North should be educated, as it were, into the idea of exterminating slavery, root, and branch, and till the haughty and overbearing spirit which it engendered should be completely cowed and whipped into submission, and nothing short of great tribulation to the people of the North, and complete physical prostration of the people of the South would accomplish this result, and how well it has been done, let the proceedings of the recent conventions of Mississippi and South Carolina, two of the most rabid of the late Confederate States, attest.
A greater reformation of the political, social and moral status of the United States has taken place within the last four years, under the scourge of cruel war, than could have been accomplished in centuries without it, so that what at first appeared to be a great National calamity, has proven to be a great National "blessing in disguise." True, the iron heel of relentless war has left its foot-prints in deep scars all over the land, and nearly every family has been called upon to mourn the loss of a victim to its remorseless hand; but war, with all its horrors, is not the greatest calamity which can befall a nation. It is better to suffer the amputation of a limb, than that the entire body should perish with it.
So far, then, as the general results of the war are concerned, they could not have been bettered. Not that Mr. Lincoln, or any other living man, foresaw the results and shaped the course of the Old Ship of State accordingly; but, as has been intimated, a Higher Power was at the helm, and no fitter instrument than Abraham Lincoln could be found as an agent in the hands of that power to carry out its general designs.
Again: had Mr. Lincoln adopted the rigorous policy pursued by Mr. Davis in his dominions, respecting the free expression of opinion, and put a padlock upon every man's lips, the consequence would have been that as soon as the fortunes of war were decided in our favor, every copperhead of the North would have sworn that he was just as good a union man as his neighbor, and had always been in favor of coercion; but every man having been allowed to freely express his opinions, the enemies of the Government—the Vallandigham's, the Woods, the Seymours, the Voorhees, etc.—unwittingly committed themselves, and are now—they and their posterity—indelibly stamped with the "Seal of a traitor on their brows," and, consequently, under the ban of all respectable society, and forever excluded from holding any office of profit or trust under the Government, with decently civilized people for constituents. One of the objects of the war, as we have already stated, was to purge the Government of all corrupt and dirty politicians of the North, as well as to break down the slave aristocracy of the South, and nothing could have contributed so effectually to this end as the mild course pursued by the Administration with respect to its enemies in the North, so that in this arrangement, also, we clearly perceive the wisdom manifested in selecting a man of Abraham Lincoln's kind and genial nature for such an occasion. That the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln was also Providential, is the humble opinion of the writer. Not that a kind Providence instigated the minions of slavery to the fiendish and cowardly act, but it was in their wicked and rebellious hearts to do so from the beginning, and the same guardian hand which had protected him so far, might, as on former occasions, have interfered so as to have averted the calamity. Why then, it may be asked, was not this power brought into requisition, that his life might have been spared to the nation, and he permitted to reap the reward of his labors? Tlie war was virtually ended, and the angel of Peace was about to smile again upon the Nation, and oh! how cruel that he, who was about to extend the olive branch of peace and fraternal love to his bitterest enemies, should thus be stricken down and snatched in such a manner from the field of his labors. Where, oh, where was that protecting hand which had guided his every step through the fiery ordeal from which the Nation was just emerging? Had the Gods abdicated their Thrones and abandoned the control of the Universe to blind Fate that anarchy and misrule might reign Supreme? Why permit the enactment of this dreadful tragedy which plunged an entire Nation into profound grief, and sent a reverberating echo of thrilling horror to the remotest parts of the civilized world? We answer, for wise and benevolent purposes, that good might come out of, or through evil.
Abraham Lincoln had finished his work, and when the hour came wherein he could serve his country better in death than in life, then, and not till then, was the enemy permitted to carry out a long-cherished design. The military power of the rebellion was broken, and in the work of reconstruction, a hand of sterner justice was needed to hold the reins of government, lest the fruits of victory, so dearly won, might, in a great measure, be lost through mistaken kindness. But this was not all, another victim, still, was required as a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. There was no crime, however revolting, which the rebels had not been guilty of during the progress of the war; but the murdering in cold blood of the good, the noble, the kind-hearted President of the people was demanded as the last crowning act of INFAMY to place the institution of slavery, in whose interest the deed was committed, under the ban of the whole civilized world, /or all time to come. The sentence has been passed, and nearly every man in the South, identified with the interests of slavery, now feels that the blood of that great and good man is upon his own head, and this, in no inconsiderable degree, tends to humble his pride and render him obedient to the powers that be. It was for these, and perhaps other kindred reasons, that the lamented President was permitted to be removed from earth's scenes to a brighter and more exalted sphere of existence, where his pure spirit now commingles, in council, with those of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, etc., who are not dead to the interests of their country.
Should the reader differ with us in opinion, theologically as well as politically, we would ask if he believes in an Overruling Power, which, acting either directly or through intermediate agents, shapes and controls the destinies of nations? If so, we would suggest that that Power has neither looked quietly on, maintaining a position of "armed neutrality," and let things take their own course during the mightj^ events of the past four years nor left its work half done.
"The House-Keeper's Guide and Everybody's Hand-Book," 1868.
Edited by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.
 "SAVAGE" is a word defined in U.S. dictionaries as a Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb. Definitions include:
- a person belonging to a primitive society
- malicious, lacking complex or advanced culture
- a brutal person
- a rude, boorish or unmannerly person
- to attack or treat brutally
- lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings
These terms are often used often in historical books, biographies, letters, and articles written in the 18th and 19th centuries, and even into the early 20th century.