"Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape History."
16th President of the United States of America
(Born: February 12, 1809 - Assassinated: Good Friday, April 14, 18655)
Any reference to Political parties must be understood in the current of History and placed in context with those earlier policies of a different Century. After having read the papers of Abraham Lincoln... you will quickly concur that he would not have been elected by either the Republican or Democratic parties of modern America. Scarcely, if at all, do the policies and Parties of today resemble those of old.
Whether this indicates an advancement or decline in our Society... I dare not say. After all, things are supposed to be getting better. At least, that's what we've been told by the leading social theorists and cultural anthropologists of our day... though I'm not all that confident in their take on the meaning of the events of time.
In his Annual Message to Congress -- December 1, 1862, Mr. Lincoln closed by saying:
"...We can succeed only by concert. It is not "can any of us imagine better?" but, "can we all do better?" Object whatsoever is possible, still the question recurs, "can we do better?" The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this adminstration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it.
We -- even we here -- hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free -- honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."
Still today, "We ...cannot escape History" and the rarified reasoning, the plain wit, and all around common sense embodied in this man... our 16th President helps us to more clearly realize that truth -- "We cannot escape History". Was Lincoln always right? No. Certainly not. But percentage-wise to me, he was... mostly right.
Now... our President -- Abraham Lincoln: