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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

“What might have happened had Lincoln survived until the end of his 2nd term?”

In Recognizing President's Day 2/20/12, I choose;

     Abraham Lincoln “(February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in 1865. He led the country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and promoting economic and financial modernization.” (Goodwin and Holzer (2004) n.d.)

      “The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln” (C.A.Tripp 2005, 2006 paperback) does not provide conclusive evidence that Lincoln fit into a homosexual matrix; it did reveal as did “A Short History of the Civil War” (Stokesbury 1935) that everything about Lincoln was criticized and speculated about in the newspapers and gossip of various diaries during his time in public life.

      Lincoln was ahead of his time, and the evolution of how he applied his ethics and morals can be seen in “...the evolution of Lincoln as the war went on: from his early insistence that the war was not about slavery; to his painful recognition that it was; to his commitment to emancipation as a useful expedient’ to his profound conviction that emancipation was a Good, and slavery was an Evil; this latter to the point where he was willing to stand or fall on it, even that his nation should stand or fall on it.” …agonizing transitions, for the president personally, and …the country as a whole…letters of soldiers, early ones saying they would desert rather than fight for the slaves, later ones acknowledging the changing character of the war, and of their own views of the issues.” (Stokesbury 1935, 258) President Lincoln’s ethics and morals not only grew with the man; they grew with a nation and changed it for the greater good.

      Lincoln almost didn’t win his 2nd election due to the ongoing civil war. If Sherman had not captured Atlanta, Georgia, it could well have been someone else in the white house. However, 78% of the military that was doing the actual fighting and dying voted for Lincoln; moreover, he received 55% of the popular vote and the electoral college 212 to 21 in his favor; a landslide. (Stokesbury 1935, 282).

      In, March of 1865, Abraham Lincoln took his oath of office for his second term and the South’s defeat was securely coming in the hands of Ulysses Simpson Grant. Lincoln remained insistent upon reunion and emancipation and the Confederates insisted on independence. Lincoln was a humanitarian and wanted the war to end sooner than Davis, the acting president of the confederates who may have been blindsided by anger and the sheer rebellion seen in a child who does not get their way. On the 13th of April 1865, “Federal troops entered Raleigh, the president, was contemplating the happy and successful conclusion of the war” (Stokesbury 1935, 321) and on the 14th of April 1865, while attending the theater President Lincoln was killed by a Confederate sympathizer named John Wilkes Booth.

      “General Sherman had just spoken with Lincoln and felt he knew what needed to be done. However, the repercussions on Sherman were immediate…his dispatch to …Washington, his agreement with the conclusion of the war, was quickly denounced and Secretary Stanton … in the confused post-assassination capital, publicly chastised Sherman for exceeding his authority…Sherman never forgave it. On April 26…evidence that the Federal victors might well have more difficulty with their political masters than their former enemies…gradually...the process of defining what the nation was and meant … a centrality … that it still holds” took shape.” (Stokesbury 1935, 320-323)

      “Vice President Andrew Johnson took over on April 15, 1865 and presided over the initial Reconstruction era of the United States for four years after the American Civil War. Johnson's policies failed to address the suffrage and other rights of the Freedmen, and he therefore came under vigorous political attack from Republicans. As President, he implemented his own form of Presidential Reconstruction – a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to re-form their civil governments. These proclamations embodied Johnson's conciliatory policies towards the South, as well as his rush to reincorporate the former Confederate states back into the union without due regard for freedmen's rights; these positions and his vetoes of civil rights bills embroiled him in a bitter dispute with Radical Republicans. The Radicals in the House of Representatives impeached him in 1868 (a first for a U.S. President), charging him with violating the law (specifically the Tenure of Office Act), but the Senate acquitted him by a single vote.” (various n.d.)

      The acts of Johnson are in direct opposition to the war people fought in. “Memoirs left behind echo President Lincoln’s message that men were fighting and dying so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” (Stokesbury 1935, 324) “President Lincoln issued his Proclamation on December 8, 1863, fifteen months before the end of the Civil War. The Proclamation reflected a spirit of healing and reconciliation that Lincoln believed would best ensure the nation's preservation and progress.” (Archives n.d.)

       “Almost from the beginning of his administration, Lincoln was pressured by abolitionists and radical Republicans to issue an Emancipation Proclamation. In principle, Lincoln approved, but he postponed action against slavery until he believed he had wider support from the American Public. The passage of the Second Confiscation Act by Congress on July 17, 1862, which freed the slaves of everyone in rebellion against the government, provided the desired signal. Not only had Congress relieved the Administration of considerable strain with its limited initiative on emancipation, it demonstrated an increasing public abhorrence toward slavery.

       Nine days later, on July 22, Lincoln raised the issue in a regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting. The reaction was mixed. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, correctly interpreting the Proclamation as a military measure designed both to deprive the Confederacy of slave labor and bring additional men into the Union Army, advocated its immediate release. Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase was equally supportive, but Montgomery Blair, the Postmaster General, foresaw defeat in the fall elections. Attorney General Edward Bates, a conservative, opposed civil and political equality for Blacks but gave his qualified support. Fortunately, President Lincoln only wanted the advice of his Cabinet on the style of the Proclamation, not its substance. The course was set.
     
      The Cabinet meeting of September 22, 1862, resulted in the political and literary refinement of the July draft, and on January 1, 1863, Lincoln composed the final Emancipation Proclamation. It was the crowning achievement of his administration.” (Memory n.d.)

      Andrew Johnson was a “Unionist, but initially pro-slavery, (he) was the only Southern senator not to resign his seat during the Civil War and became the most prominent War Democrat from the South and supported Lincoln's military policies. In 1862, Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of occupied Tennessee, where he was energetic and effective in fighting the rebellion, implemented Reconstruction policies in the state and transitioned to a pro-emancipation policy.” (various, Wikipedia n.d.) If he could accomplish this under President Lincoln, he failed to bring it forward under his own administration.

      “Note 1 Jacks, Fishback and Johnson were all members-elect to the Thirty-eighth Congress from Arkansas. The members-elect from Arkansas and Louisiana were caught in the midst of power struggle between Lincoln and Congress over the issue of reconstruction. Some of the more radical Republicans thought that Lincoln's plan for reconstruction, as outlined in his December 8, 1863, Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, was far too lenient. Both Arkansas and Louisiana had formed reconstructed state governments according to Lincoln's plan and to allow the members-elect from these states to take their seats in Congress was tantamount to acquiescing to presidential control of the reconstruction process. The Thirty-eighth Congress adjourned before resolving the question of whether to seat the members-elect from Arkansas and Louisiana and by doing so, dealt a setback to Lincoln's policy.” (Congress, The Library of Congress American Memory n.d.)

      I believe that President Lincoln had he survived would have remained steadfast in his commitment and recognition that the Civil War was about the end of slavery and that leniency in his plans was due to the fact the Country as a whole had already paid with the lives of over 623,000 men.

      Lincoln had already started to integrate Blacks into American society by accepting the following petitions: Washington D. C. Black Citizens to Edwin M. Stanton, Wednesday, April 22, 1863 (Petition recommending officers for a black regiment; with note from William Slade to Lincoln, April 28, 1863) and 18 others in between as well as Francis George Shaw to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, July 31, 1863 (Protection for officers of black soldiers). (Congress, The Library of Congress American Memory n.d.)

      In examination of the “Lincoln Log” for December 8, 1863, the “President receives joint committee from 38th Congress and announces that Annual Message will be communicated to Congress tomorrow at 12:30 P.M. Senate Journal, 8. Annual report describes past year as one of health, sufficient harvests, improved conditions in national affairs, and peace with foreign powers. Treaties with Great Britain have suppressed African slave trade and adjusted possessory claims in Washington Territory. Negotiations with Spain, Chile, Peru, Nicaragua, and Colombia have been satisfactory. Foreigners within lines of insurgents are classed as belligerents, and naturalized persons must serve in military. Condition of organized territories is generally satisfactory. Under sharp discipline of civil war, Nation is beginning a new life. Operations of Treasury during last year have been successfully conducted. Pay of Army and Navy promptly met. People have borne burdens cheerfully. Blockade is increasing in efficiency; but illicit trade is not entirely suppressed. Production of war vessels has created new form of naval power. Post office may become self-supporting in few years. In Dept. of Interior public lands are being taken up, legislation is needed for Indian system, consideration should be given to enlarging water connections between Mississippi River and northeastern seaboard. When Congress assembled year ago, tone of public feeling and opinion at home and abroad was not satisfactory. With emancipation and employment of Negro troops there is new reckoning. Crisis which threatened to divide friends of Union is past. Looking to resumption of national authority within states, proclamation of amnesty and reconstruction is thought fit. State governments set up under prescribed mode will be recognized. War power is still main reliance. Chief care must be directed to Army and Navy. Annual Message to Congress, 8 December 1863, CW, 7:36-53.
President issues Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction whereby: 1. Persons in rebellion, with certain exceptions, who take oath to support Constitution are granted full pardon. 2. Exceptions are civil, diplomatic, and specified defense agents of Confederate government, and persons guilty of mistreating Negro prisoners of war. 3. Governments reestablished as prescribed in rebellious states shall be recognized as free governments of such states. 4. President will not object to provisions adopted by reestablished governments in relation to freed people. 5. Proclamation has no reference to states wherein loyal state governments have been maintained. 6. Congress shall have sole right of admitting members representing reestablished governments. Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, 8 December 1863, CW, 7:53-56. [This proclamation is authority for pardons granted by Lincoln throughout remainder of war.] Lincoln sends "my profoundest gratitude" to Gen. Grant and his command for fighting at Chattanooga and Knoxville. Abraham Lincoln to Ulysses S. Grant, 8 December 1863, CW, 7:53. Deposits in Riggs Bank November salary warrant for $2,022.34. Pratt, Personal Finances, 183.  Nominates "Commander D. D. Porter, to be a Rear Admiral in Navy, on the Active List, from the 4th. July 1863." Abraham Lincoln to the Senate, 8 December 1863, CW, 7:56-57.  Recommends to Congress that "Capt. John Rodgers, U.S. Navy, receive vote of thanks" for skill and gallantry exhibited in engagement with rebel steamer "Fingal," alias "Atlanta." Abraham Lincoln to the Senate and House of Representatives, 8 December 1863, CW, 7:57.” (Lincoln n.d., 1863/12/8).”

      The preceding is just one day albeit an important day, in Lincoln’s life and one that is significant in determining which way Lincoln was moving the country. “Exceptions are civil, diplomatic, and specified defense agents of Confederate government, and persons guilty of mistreating Negro prisoners of war” unlike Johnson, Lincoln would have held people accountable as people, not based on their color, but how they acted. While it may have taken some time, the immediate assimilation into mainstream society would have been greatly impacted by the man found in Lincoln. Lincoln’s ability to reason and bring about a change in the national conscientious is shown in memoirs left behind by Union Soldiers who volunteered by the thousands to fight and die and the families that supported them. The term “people” in America culture was being redefined to mean more than; adult white males of the 1800’s who had certain property holdings; and it continues to this day with action moving toward including children as those persons with inalienable rights.

      On Saturday, March 4, 1865, “In his second inaugural address, Lincoln reflects upon the ongoing civil war. He stated, "Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword . . . it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.' With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." Second Inaugural Address, 4 March 1865, CW, 8:332-33.

      “Thousands of Negroes, heretofore excluded from such affairs, mingle with spectators. Frequent applause breaks out during reading of Address.” Adolphe de Pineton, marquis de Chambrun, Impressions of Lincoln and the Civil War: A Foreigner's Account (New York: Random House, 1952), 38-40.” (Lincoln n.d.)
The documentation of “thousands of Negroes” mingled with spectators assumedly white at Lincoln’s second inaugural address is a signal that had Lincoln survived the question of black versus white segregation may have been affectively deterred.
On Saturday, March 11, 1865, President Lincoln issues a proclamation in which he commands "all deserters to return to their proper posts." Lincoln stipulates, "[A]ll deserters, who shall . . . on or before the tenth day of May 1865, return to service or report themselves to a Provost Marshal, shall be pardoned, on condition that they return to their regiments and companies, or to such other organizations as they may be assigned to, and serve the remainder of their original terms of enlistment and, in addition thereto, a period equal to the time lost by desertion." Proclamation Offering Pardon to Deserters, 11 March 1865, CW, 8:349-50. (Lincoln n.d.)
This proclamation is indicative of President Lincoln coming to terms with the end of the war and giving absolution to those who may have deserted simply due to exhaustion and extended service.

      On Wednesday, March 15, 1865, “President Lincoln writes to political strategist Thurlow Weed, who wrote to praise Lincoln's recent speech to the Congressional Notification Committee. Lincoln thanks Weed, and notes, "Every one likes a compliment." Lincoln offers a self-critique of the second inaugural address. He judges that it is "perhaps better than—anything I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, however . . . is to deny that there is a God governing the world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told; and as whatever of humiliation there is in it, falls most directly on myself, I thought others might afford for me to tell it." Reply to Notification Committee, 1 March 1865, CW, 8:326-327; Thurlow Weed to Abraham Lincoln, 4 March 1865, Robert Todd Lincoln Collection of Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Abraham Lincoln to Thurlow Weed, 15 March 1865, CW, 8:356.” (Lincoln n.d.)

       Lincoln’s focus on the truth is one that is not heard often enough by other politicians going against the grain because it is the right thing to do. There are several entries in March that the President is not feeling well including March 25, 1865; “President arises early, does not look too well, eats very little. Robert comes aboard during breakfast and reports fighting at front. Several officers, including Rear Adm. Porter, assemble and walk with President to Gen. Grant's headquarters. Lincoln expresses desire to visit scene of fighting. About noon special train is made up, and large party proceeds over military railroad to Gen. Meade's headquarters and sees evidence of fighting during visit.” Barnes, "With Lincoln," 520-21. (Lincoln n.d.) One has to wonder with the continued threats on Lincoln’s life at this time whether or not someone might have been poisoning him in his inner circle. 

       On March 31, 1865, “Lincoln is depressed. Knows Gen. Grant expects to make general attack on Petersburg, Va. with great loss of life.” William H. Crook, "Lincoln's Last Day: New Facts Now Told for the First Time. Compiled and written down by Margarita S. Gerry," Harper's Monthly Magazine115 (September 1907):519. (Lincoln n.d.) 

       On April 7, 1865, Lincoln telegraphs Gen. Grant: "Gen. Sheridan says 'If the thing is pressed I think Lee will surrender.' Let the thing be pressed."Abraham Lincoln to Ulysses S. Grant, 7 April 1865, CW, 8:392. April 9, 1865 Washington DC; Presidential party arrives about sundown. Streets alive with people. Bonfires everywhere. Gen. R. E. Lee has surrendered. William H. Crook, "Lincoln's Last Day: New Facts Now Told for the First Time. Compiled and written down by Margarita S. Gerry," Harper's Monthly Magazine 115 (September 1907):523. (Lincoln n.d.)

       On April 11, 1865, “In this, his last public speech, President Lincoln “discusses status of Confederate States and his plan for restoring them to their place in Union. Albert G. Riddle, Recollections of War Times: Reminiscences of Men and Events in Washington, 1860-1865 (New York: Putnam, 1895), 329; Last Public Address, 11 April 1865, CW, 8:399-405. Part of which entailed: …”We all agree that the seceded States, so called, are out of their proper practical relation with the Union; and that the sole object of the government, civil and military, in regard to those States is to again get them into that proper practical relation. I believe it is not only possible, but in fact, easier, to do this, without deciding, or even considering, whether these states have even been out of the Union, than with it. Finding themselves safely at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they had ever been abroad. Let us all join in doing the acts necessary to restoring the proper practical relations between these states and the Union; and each forever after, innocently indulge his own opinion whether, in doing the acts, he brought the States from without, into the Union, or only gave them proper assistance, they never having been out of it…Some twelve thousand voters in the heretofore slave-state of Louisiana have sworn allegiance to the Union, assumed to be the rightful political power of the State, held elections, organized a State government, adopted a free-state constitution, giving the benefit of public schools equally to black and white, and empowering the Legislature to confer the elective franchise upon the colored man. Their Legislature has already voted to ratify the constitutional amendment recently passed by Congress, abolishing slavery throughout the nation. These twelve thousand persons thus fully committed to the Union, and to perpetual freedom in the state---committed to the very things, and nearly all the things the nation wants---and they ask the nations recognition, and it's assistance to make good their committal. Now, if we reject, and spurn them, we do our utmost to disorganize and disperse them. We in effect say to the white men ``You are worthless, or worse---we will neither help you, nor be helped by you.'' To the blacks we say ``This cup of liberty which these, your old masters, hold to your lips, we will dash from you, and leave you to the chances of gathering the spilled and scattered contents in some vague and undefined when, where, and how.'' If this course, discouraging and paralyzing both white and black, has any tendency to bring Louisiana into proper practical relations with the Union, I have, so far, been unable to perceive it. If, on the contrary, we recognize, and sustain the new government of Louisiana the converse of all this is made true. We encourage the hearts, and nerve the arms of the twelve thousand to adhere to their work, and argue for it, and proselyte for it, and fight for it, and feed it, and grow it, and ripen it to a complete success. The colored man too, in seeing all united for him, is inspired with vigilance, and energy, and daring, to the same end. Grant that he desires the elective franchise, will he not attain it sooner by saving the already advanced steps toward it, than by running backward over them? Concede that the new government of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg is to the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it? Again, if we reject Louisiana, we also reject one vote in favor of the proposed amendment to the national constitution. To meet this proposition, it has been argued that no more than three fourths of those States which have not attempted secession are necessary to validly ratify the amendment. I do not commit myself against this, further than to say that such a ratification would be questionable, and sure to be persistently questioned; while a ratification by three fourths of all the States would be unquestioned and unquestionable.  I repeat the question. ``Can Louisiana be brought into proper practical relation with the Union sooner by sustaining or by discarding her new State Government? What has been said of Louisiana will apply generally to other States. And yet so great peculiarities pertain to each state; and such important and sudden changes occur in the same state; and, withal, so new and unprecedented is the whole case, that no exclusive, and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed as to details and colatterals. Such exclusive, and inflexible plan, would surely become a new entanglement. Important principles may, and must, be inflexible. In the present ''situation'' as the phrase goes, it may be my duty to make some new announcement to the people of the South. I am considering, and shall not fail to act, when satisfied that action will be proper.” (Lincoln n.d.) Annotation [1] AD-P, ISLA.

        On April 11, 1865, “Salmon P. Chase had written Lincoln at length about reconstruction: ``I am very anxious about the future: and most about the principles which are to govern reconstruction for as these principles are sound or unsound so will be the work & its results. . . .``And first as to Virginia. ``By the action of every branch of the Government we are committed to the recognition & maintenance of the State organization of which Governor Pierpont is the head. You know all the facts. . . . There will be a pressure for the recognition of the rebel organization on condition of profession of loyalty. It will be far easier and wiser, in my judgment, to stand by the loyal organization already recognized. ``And next as to the other rebel States: ``The easiest & safest way seems to me to be the enrollment of the loyal citizens without regard to complexion and encouragement & support to them in the reorganization of State Governments under constitutions securing suffrage to all citizens. . . . This you know has long been my opinion. . . . ``This way is recommended by its simplicity, facility & above all, justice. It will be, hereafter, counted equally a crime & a folly if the colored loyalists of the rebel states shall be left to the control of restored rebels, not likely, in that case, to be either wise or just, until taught both wisdom and justice by new calamities. ``The application of this principle to Louisiana is made somewhat difficult by the organization which has already taken place: but happily the Constitution enables the Legislature to extend the right of suffrage. . . . ``The same result can be assured in Arkansas by an amendment of the state constitution; or what would be better, I think, by a new Convention . . . without distinction of color. To all the other states the general principle may be easily applied . . . .'' (DLC-RTL). On the morning after Lincoln's speech, Chase wrote again: ``The American of this morning contains your speech of last evening. Seeing that you say something on the subject of my letter to you yesterday---reconstruction---, & refer, though without naming me, to the suggestions I made in relation to the Amnesty Proclamation, when you brought it before the Heads of Departments, I will ask your permission to add some observations to what I have already written. ``I recollect the suggestions you mention; my impression is that they were in writing. There was another which you do not mention and which, I think, was not in writing. It is distinct in my memory; though doubtless forgotten by you. It was an objection to the restriction of participation in reorganization to persons having the qualifications of voters under the laws of their several states just before rebellion. ``Ever since questions of reconstruction have been talked about, it has been my opinion that the colored loyalists ought to be allowed to participate in it and it was because of this opinion that I was anxious to have this question left open. I did not however say much about the restriction. I was the only one who expressed a wish for its omission; & I did not desire to seem pertinacious. ``You will remember, doubtless, that the first order ever issued for enrollment with a view to reconstruction went to General Shepley & directed the enrollment of all loyal citizens; and I suppose that, since the opinion of Attorney General Bates, no one, connected with your administration, has questioned the citizenship of free colored men more than that of free white men. The restriction in the amnesty proclamation operated as a revocation of the order to General Shepley:---but, as I understood you not to be wedded to any particular plan of reconstruction, I hoped & believed that reflection & observation would probably satisfy you that the restriction should not be adhered to.  ``I fully sympathized with your desire for the restoration of the Union by the change of rebel slave States into Union free States; and was willing, if I could not get exactly the plan I thought best, to take the plan you thought best, & to trust the future for modifications. I welcomed, therefore, with joy the prospects of good results from the cooperation of General Banks with the free state men of Louisiana. I think General Banks' error, & I have said so to him, was in not acting through instead of over the Free State Committee. This Committee had already shown itself disposed to a degree of liberality towards the colored people quite remarkable at that time. They had admitted delegates from the creole colored population into their free State Convention, & had evinced a readiness to admit intelligent colored citizens of that class to the rights of suffrage. I have no doubt that great & satisfactory progress would have been made in the same direction had not the work been taken out of their hands. This created the impression that the advocates of general suffrage were to be treated with disfavor by the representatives of the Government. Discouragement & disinterest were the natural consequences.  ``For one I was glad of all the good that was done; and, naturally, wanted more. So when I came to Washington last winter I saw Gen Banks: and, being now more deeply than ever persuaded of the necessity of universal suffrage, I begged him to write himself & to induce the Senators & Representatives elect from Louisiana to write to members of the Legislature and urge them to exercise their power under the constitution by passing an act extending suffrage to colored citizens. I knew that many of our best men in and out of Congress had become thoroughly convinced of the impolicy and injustice of allowing representation in Congress to States which had been in rebellion and were not yet prepared to concede equal political rights to all loyal citizens. They felt that if such representation should be allowed & such states reinstated in all their former rights as loyal members of the Union, the colored population would be practically abandoned to the disposition of the white population, with every probability against them; and this, they believed would be equally unjust & dangerous. ``I shared their sentiment & was therefore extremely desirous that General Banks should take the action I urged upon him. I thought indeed that he concurred, mainly, in my views, & would to some extent at least act upon them. I must have been mistaken, for I never heard that he did anything in that direction. ``I know you attach much importance to the admission of Louisiana, or rather to the recognition of her right to representation in Congress as a loyal State in the Union. If I am not misinformed there is nothing in the way except the indisposition of her Legislature to give satisfactory proof of loyalty by a sufficient guaranty of safety & justice to colored citizens through the extension to loyal colored men of the right of suffrage. Why not, then, as almost every loyal man concurs with you as to the desirableness of that recognition, take the shortest road to it by causing every proper representation to be made to the Louisiana Legislature of the importance of such extension. ``I most earnestly wish you could have read the New Orleans papers for the last few months. Your duties have not allowed it. I have read them a good deal---quite enough to be satisfied that, if you had read what I have, your feelings of humanity & justice would not let you rest till all loyalists are made equal in the right of self protection by suffrage. ``Once I should have been, if not satisfied, reasonably contented by suffrage for the more intelligent & for those who have been soldiers; now I am convinced that universal suffrage is demanded by sound policy and impartial justice alike. ``I have written too much already & will not trouble you with my reasons for this conclusion. I shall return to Washington in a day or two & perhaps it will not be disagreeable to you to have the whole subject talked over . . .(DLC-RTL).” (Lincoln n.d.).

       The promise of President Lincoln begins to die on April 14, 1865, “In late afternoon President and Mrs. Lincoln go for drive. They stop at Navy Yard to view three monitors, damaged in Fort Fisher, N.C., engagement. President talks of time when they can return to Illinois and live quietly. Pratt, Personal Finances, 124; Rufus R. Wilson, ed., Intimate Memories of Lincoln (Elmira, NY: Primavera Press, 1942), 430. Exact time of assassination is not agreed upon. After extensive research Otto Eisenschiml wrote: "It is therefore safe to say that Booth fired his shot at or close to 13 minutes past 10 P.M." Otto Eisenschiml, In the Shadow of Lincoln's Death (New York: Funk, 1940), 353.” (Lincoln n.d.)

       In conclusion, the supporting evidence herein, is undeniable and the “reasonable person” can ascertained that had Lincoln survived his second term as President, he would have achieved emancipation for the blacks, de-escalated tensions and aided in driving the conscious of a nation to fully accept that these men who fought alongside them, were equal in the same rights and privileges reserved for persons of the United States. Sadly, the promise of Lincoln’s legacy to assimilate and make free persons of color, died with him on April 15, 1865. If he had lived, he would have shown the resolve and backbone lacking in President Johnson and others that followed; his statements noted throughout this paper in his own proclamations would have come to fruition; his courage, determination, insight and an innate sense of what is right and wrong; without which took this Nation over another 100 years to evolve and make right.

       The beauty of Lincoln and people like him in our past and future is contained in a document that lives and breathes allowing for the progress of mankind, and Lincoln fully believed in it; making its continued use a growing consciousness in the brotherhood of man, it is preserved in the United States Constitution. A document that recognizes that while men (aka persons, men, women and/or children) are equally flawed, they can change because they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Choices, Rights, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; President Lincoln’s leadership continues to be a reminder of our forefathers intuition that he who demands freedom for himself; grants the same liberty to his neighbor.

       By following reason and conscience, it takes only one person to light the way for others to recognize, identify and find solutions to the problems that plague mankind through their own imperfections; enabling an evolving universal consciousness of participants who strive to be better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today.


Denise-Marie McIntosh










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