Home > Culture, History, Politics, Quotes, Race, Society > Nobly Save or Meanly Lose

Nobly Save or Meanly Lose

November 26th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

lincolnThe origins of our current observance of Thanksgiving are in this proclamation by President Lincoln. The year 1863 witnessed the turning point of the Civil War at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. It was the year Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg to dedicate the Soldiers’ National Cemetery where he prayed that the sacrifice of the soldiers would result in a new birth of freedom: freedom for the millions who were held in bondage and not even considered human by many of their countrymen. That freedom was long and hard-fought and still not perfect, but it adds to the American sense of itself as the beacon of liberty in the world.

Americans in the years since the Civil War have sacrificed much to create a world where people can live free. The offering of American blood and treasure for the liberation of the oppressed once made the United States the envy of the world, and the model for the hopes of the downtrodden. But side by side with American generosity there sadly has always existed an ugliness that today is manifest in bigoted nativist super patriotism.

Lincoln saw the tragedy of the Civil War as God’s wrath upon Americans’ “national perverseness and disobedience”. For him, the terrible losses in the war were tragic but necessary sacrifices. Lincoln believed that the American experiment was “the last, best hope of earth”. He appealed to history in urging the preservation of the union.

The union was preserved but the struggle for the hope Lincoln pointed to goes on. What Lincoln envisioned was larger than the abolition of slavery, as great as that was. Today we may give thanks in whatever way we see best, or not at all. This is a blessing afforded us out of the experience of those who learned from bitter history that people must be left free to worship (or not) as their conscience dictates. How we relate to a larger reality may divide us, but what ought to unite us is the principle that we can do so without fear. We must never forget that our freedom depends upon the freedom of others.

Read the words of Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation below, and unite with him in his concern for “all those who have become widows, orphans. mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged.”

Abraham Lincoln: Proclamation 106 – Thanksgiving Day, 1863

The American Presidency Project contains the most comprehensive collection of resources pertaining to the study of the President of the United States. Compiled by John Woolley and Gerhard Peters

HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com