The Nation Interviews President Lincoln – Part 1

Photo of President Abraham Lincoln (November 9, 1863) by Alexander Gardner

As noted on my “Why This Site” page, my impetus to begin this blog was rooted in the Election of 2016 and the first months of the winner’s presidency. The unusual campaign and the VERY unusual handling of the “Office of Lincoln” spurred me to blog.

However, the deadly, violent events that transpired over the last two weeks disturbed me greatly, and left me floundering for how best to approach them.

As usual, my “Uncle Abe” came to the rescue. He agreed to be interviewed by “The Nation” for The Log Cabin Sage blog on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. Here is what he had to say.

[PLEASE NOTE: In this fictional interview, all the answers by President Lincoln are his own words, culled from a variety of speeches and letters that are cited at the end. I have only added brackets for clarity, and whatever was deleted in a passage is denoted by …  The absence they denote does NOT change the meaning of the passage.]

THE NATION: Greetings Mr. President. Thank you for being with us tonight. We, the people of this country, miss you.

PRESIDENT LINCOLN: I thank you, my fellow citizen, for your kind remark, and trust that I feel a becoming sense of the responsibility resting upon me.

 

By the way, I think very much of the people, as an old friend said he thought of woman.

 

He said when he lost his first wife, who had been a great help to him in his business, he thought he was ruined that he could never find another to fill her place. At length, however, he married another, who he found did quite as well as the first, and that his opinion now was that: Any woman would do well, who was well done by.

 

So I think of the whole people of this nation – they will ever do well, if well done by.

THE NATION: Can you share your thoughts with us about the tragedy and the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia?

PRESIDENT LINCOLN: In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares.

 

There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. I saw that it involved the greatest difficulties, and would call forth all the powers of the whole country. 

 

In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one.

 

It is not merely for to-day, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate, for our children’s children, this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives.

 

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 disentrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

THE NATION: What is your opinion of Mr, Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s collusion with Russia? Trump says Mueller ‘shouldn’t investigate him;’ it’s a ‘witch-hunt,’ and the media is ‘spreading fake news:’

PRESIDENT LINCOLN: Suppose we construe this part of the plea more broadly than he puts it himself-suppose we construe it, as in an answer in chancery,* to be a denial of all knowledge, information, or belief of such conspiracy. 

 

Still, I have the right to prove the conspiracy, even against his answer; and there is much more than the evidence of two witnesses to prove it by.

Grant that he has no knowledge, information, or belief of such conspiracy, and what of it?

 

That does not disturb the facts in evidence. It only makes him the dupe, instead of a principal, of conspirators.

 

* [a way to state a conspiracy complaint in a common law court]

THE NATION: Charlottesville seems to have brought people together, at least for the moment — how do you keep that sense of unity and common purpose alive in the longer term?

PRESIDENT LINCOLN: The people — the people are the rightful masters of both congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.

 

Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government…Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.

 

I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle was made…

 

The struggle of today, is not altogether for today – it is for a vast future also.

Food for thought.

Mac

(The conclusion of this interview is in the next post: The Nation Interviews President Lincoln -Part 2)

WORKS CITED

These were ALL retrieved August 15, 2017 from the eight volume online work:

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincolnhttp://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/

Letter to Fanny McCullough-December 23, 1862

Speech to the 164th Ohio Regiment-August 18, 1864

Speech to the 166th Ohio Regiment-August 22, 1864

Fragment: Notes for Speeches – c. August 21, 1858

Lyceum Address-January 27, 1838

Message to Congress-December 1, 1862

Reply to Members of the Presbyterian General Assembly-June 2, 1863

Speech at Chicago-December 10, 1856

Speech at Chicago-July 10, 1858

Notes for Speeches at Columbus and Cincinnati-September 16 and 17, 1859

Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan-August 27, 1856

Speech to the New Jersey Senate-February 21, 1861

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