Chief among the spoils of victory is the privilege of writing the history.
“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Lincoln’s enduring reputation is the result of his martyrdom. He was murdered on Good Friday and the metaphorical comparisons between Lincoln and Jesus were numerous.
Typical is this observation three days after his death by Parke Godwin, editor of the New York Evening Post:
“No loss has been comparable to his. Never in human history has there been so universal, so spontaneous, so profound an expression of a nation’s bereavement. [He was] our supremest leader — our safest counselor — our wisest friend — our dear father.”
A more thorough and dispassionate reading of history, however, reveals a substantial expanse between his reputation and his character.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside,” Lincoln declared. “If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Never were truer words spoken.
While the War Between the States concluded in 1865, the battle for states’ rights — the struggle to restore constitutional federalism — remains spirited, particularly among the ranks of the Patriot readers.
In his inaugural speech, Barack Obama quoted Lincoln:
“We are not enemies, but friends…. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”
Let us hope that he pays more heed to those words than did Lincoln.
Found on The Patriot Post