Friday, February 24, 2012

Abraham Lincoln matured while in office like we may have to mature over issues of wealth

Providence seemed to be at play in the full life of Abraham Lincoln. He was a noble and well thought-out man for all his life. He should have reached success time and time again. Instead, he was dealt set back after set back and not permitted to be content until the Union finally triumphed over the Confederacy (April 7, 1865), just a week before John Wilkes Booth shot him.

As a young man, Lincoln fell in love with Ann Rutledge. Historians tell us that he was bound to marry her, but she died. Another woman did not suit him and Mary Todd did not suit him, for a while. Lincoln had at one point promised to marry Todd, but then ignored her over several months hoping to pursue a fourth available woman. When the other married, Lincoln slowly returned to Mary Todd, apologizing, not sure of his choice for a bride but eventually honored his promise and they were wed on the same day that she told her eldest sister. (Surprise!)

Lincoln was a great orator and political strategist. Yet he had to give up his ideals to support Zachery Taylor instead of his hero Henry Clay. After several terms in the Illinois House, he lost an election. In getting elected to the US House of Representatives, he had to allow two others from his political party to go before him, as a matter of "turn about is fair play." He lost in a bid to be re-elected to the US House because he was too distant from his Illinois constituency.

In an epic contest for our history, Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas running to be the Senator from Illinois in 1858. Lincoln did not win the election. More pointedly from our vantage point, Lincoln was arguing that slavery merely needed to be contained in the states where the Founding Fathers had seen fit to leave it, expecting it would die eventually as long as it did not spread into Nebraska, Kansas or other western territories. Douglas argued that each new state's citizenry should be allowed to decide whether their state would be slavery bound or free soil.

Once he announced his Presidential candidacy and before he was inaugurated as our 16th President, he was pulling madly to try to keep the country together. He even offered an amendment to the Constitution to allow slavery to permanently remain in the states that were seceding. No success there.

Once the war started, he was frustrated by at least five top generals who did not pursue the enemies when they retreated. They did not prosecute the war to end it, they were denying him and the nation an end to the war. But during all this time, providence seemed to be at play, IMHO, allowing Lincoln to come to understand that slavery needed to be outlawed. Doris Keairns Goodwin lays out that the Emancipation Proclamation was a war strategy more than a humanitarian act.

Lincoln matured over time to understand that slavery must be abandoned. In the coming entries to this blog, I hope to inspire new maturity about greed and wealth. We shall see how things develop.

all my best,
Auntie Greed

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