Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (2)

Abraham Lincoln: The War Years 1861-1865 (2). 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:

“Yet the unremitting quest for individual profits and personal fortunes, behind war fronts where men were dying for proclaimed sacred causes, made a contrast heavy for the human mind to hold and endure.” p. 151.

Lincoln: “In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. Quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party….” p. 211. ……….

Fredericksburg: Total Confederate losses were 5,309; Union, 12,653.” p. 221.

Atlanta Intelligencer: “Lincoln was ‘the Baboon President, a low-bred obscene clown….’ ”p. 293. ……….

Lincoln: “…the tired part of me is inside and out of reach.” p. 315. ……….

Lincoln: “If to be the head of Hell is as hard as what I have to undergo here, I could find it in my heart to pity Satan himself.” p. 325.

Stanton, it was said afterward, pronounced the words: ‘Now he belongs to the Ages.’ ” p. 855. ……….

“Wilkes Booth saw and heard hundreds of men of the educated and privileged classes indulging in an almost unrestricted freedom of speech… On the head of this one man, Lincoln, had been heaped a thousand infamies any one of which could easily inflame the mind of a vain and cunning fool.” p. 868. ……….

The New York Herald: “…said directly that newspaper editors shared in the guilt of leading an assassin toward his bloody work…as clear as day that the real origin of this dreadful act is to be found in the fiendish and malignant spirit developed and fostered by the … press, North and South.” p. 869.

Harper’s Weekly: “Directly and indirectly, openly and cunningly, the passions of men were set on fire by ‘the assertion that Mr. Lincoln was responsible for the war, that he had opened all the yawning graves and tumbled the victims in…. Is it surprising that somebody should have believed all this, that somebody should have said, ‘if there is a tyranny it cannot be very criminal to slay the tyrant?’ ” p. 869. ……….

Sherman quoting a Confederate captain: “…the assassination was ‘the greatest possible calamity to the South.’ ” p, 869.

“A tree is best measured when it’s down.” p. 875. ……….

Tolstoy: “Lincoln was…a Christ in miniature, a saint of humanity…” p. 882. ……….

David R. Locke [Petroleum V. Nasby]: “Wilkes Booth did Abraham Lincoln the greatest service man could possibly do for him—he gave him peace.” p. 891.

Comment: The assassination saved Abraham Lincoln from a struggle that was even greater than managing the Civil War, the struggle for a forgiving view of Reconstruction. The forces of vengeance, without Lincoln to battle them, won. In my opinion, based on my travels through the South, the Civil War will never be over. It was the coasts, east and west, that elected Barack Obama (2008). The states in the middle of the country were almost all red. RayS.

No comments:

Post a Comment