Monday, June 15, 2009

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1)

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years 1861-1865 (1). Carl Sandburg. 1925. New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc. 1954.

Why read it? I never forgot one of Sandburg’s last lines with the assassination of Lincoln: “For Abraham Lincoln it is lights out, good night, farewell—and a long farewell to the good earth and its trees, its enjoyable companions, and the Union of States and the world Family of Man he has loved.” p. 844. After I read those words, after two volumes of the life of Lincoln, I cried for a lost brother. Those words still make me cry.

Sample quotes and ideas:

“…a Southern man remarked to the ladies of his party, ‘I think we ought to send some flowers over the way to the Undertaker of the Union.’ ” p. 18. ……….

Of Sumner: “No other man in the Federal Government so thrust at the sin and guilt of the South while evading the issues of sin and guilt in the North.” p. 28. ……….

Lincoln: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists…. I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” p. 35.

Hawthorne: “It was delightful to share in the heroic sentiment of the time…. Though I approve the war as much as any man, I don’t quite understand what we are fighting for.” p. 70. ……….

Lee: “If Virginia stands by the old Union, so will I.… If she secedes (though I do not believe in secession as a Constitutional right, nor that there is sufficient cause for revolution) then I will still follow my native State with my sword, and, if need be, with my life.” p. 71.

Lincoln: “For my own part, I consider the first necessity that is upon us, is of proving that popular government is not an absurdity…. Must settle this question now,--whether in a free government the minority have the right to break it up whenever they choose; if we fail, it will go far to prove the incapability of the people to govern themselves.” p. 73.

Lincoln: “To be consistent they [the Southern states] must secede from one another, whenever they shall find it the easiest way of settling their debts, or effecting any other selfish, or unjust object.” p. 99. ……….

“…that summer of ’61 squads of Union recruits had marched down one side of a street in Louisville while recruits on the other side headed for the Confederate army.” p. 112. ……….

“On a railroad train in central Kentucky one car held a company of troops going to a Union camp while in another car was a company of Confederates.” p. 113.

James Gordon Bennett, editor of the New York Herald: “The newspaper’s function is not to instruct but to startle.” p. 123. ……….

“More than once he [Senator Andrew Johnson of Tennessee] had brought out his loaded revolvers facing crowds ready to lynch him.” p. 136. ……….

“Meeting a Lancaster lawyer who had double-crossed him, he [Thaddeus Stevens] stood still, leaned on his cane and slowly clipped his words: ‘You must be a bastard, for I knew your mother’s husband and he was gentleman and an honest man.’ ” p. 136.

To be continued.

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