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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 4. A. LINCOLN ~ CHAPTERS 9 - 11 (150 - 222) (11/23/09 - 11/29/09) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is the reading assignment for week four - (November 23 2009 to November 29, 2009):

Chapters 9 - 11: (pages 150 - 222)

Chapter 9 - My Best Impression of the Truth: 1847-49 - page 150 (already read through 149)

Chapter 10 - As a Peacemaker the Lawyer has a Superior Opportunity : 1849-52 - page 167

Chapter 11 - Let No One Be Deceived: 1852 - 56 - page 187


Hello Everyone,

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers.

This book was kicked off on November 1st.

We look forward to your participation. Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle.

Since we only started this book on November 1st, there is still time remaining to obtain the book and get started.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Welcome,

~Bentley


TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

A. Lincoln A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr.

Ronald C. White Jr.


message 2: by Joe (last edited Nov 22, 2009 02:39PM) (new)

Joe (blues) I would like to begin this week's discussion by presenting Lincoln's Spot Resolutions in the U.S. House of Representatives in which he argued against President Polk's policy to wage war with Mexico.

Abraham Lincoln - U.S. House of Representatives
December 22, 1847


Whereas the President of the United States, in his message of May 11th. 1846, has declared that "The Mexican Government not only refused to receive him" (the envoy of the U.S.) "or listen to his propositions, but, after a long continued series of menaces, have at last invaded our teritory, and shed the blood of our fellow citizens on our own soil"

And again, in his message of December 8, 1846 that "We had ample cause of war against Mexico, long before the breaking out of hostilities. But even then we forbore to take redress into our own hands, until Mexico herself became the aggressor by invading our soil in hostile array, and shedding the blood of our citizens"

And yet again, in his message of December 7, 1847 that "The Mexican Government refused even to hear the terms of adjustment which he" (our minister of peace) "was authorized to propose; and finally, under wholly unjustifiable pretexts, involved the two countries in war, by invading the territory of the State of Texas, striking the first blow, and shedding the blood of our citizens on our own soil"

And whereas this House desires to obtain a full knowledge of all the facts which go to establish whether the particular spot of soil on which the blood of our citizens was so shed, was, or was not, our own soil, at that time; therefore

Resolved by the House of Representatives, that the President of the United States be respectfully requested to inform the House—

First: Whether the spot of soil on which the blood of our citizens was shed, as in his message declared, was, or was not, within the territories of Spain, at least from the treaty of 1819 until the Mexican revolution

Second: Whether that spot is, or is not, within the teritory which was wrested from Spain, by the Mexican revolution.

Third: Whether that spot is, or is not, within a settlement of people, which settlement had existed ever since long before the Texas revolution, until it’s inhabitants fled from the approach of the U.S. Army.

Fourth: Whether that settlement is, or is not, isolated from any and all other settlements, by the Gulf of Mexico, and the Rio Grande, on the South and West, and by wide uninhabited regions on the North and East.

Fifth: Whether the People of that settlement, or a majority of them, or any of them, had ever, previous to the bloodshed, mentioned in his messages, submitted themselves to the government or laws of Texas, or of the United States, by consent or by compulsion, either by accepting office, or voting at elections, or paying taxes, or serving on juries, or having process served upon them, or in any other way.

Sixth: Whether the People of that settlement, did, or did not, flee from the approach of the United States Army, leaving unprotected their homes and their growing crops, before the blood was shed, as in his messages stated; and whether the first blood so shed, was, or was not shed, within the inclosure of the People, or some of them, who had thus fled from it.

Seventh: Whether our citizens, whose blood was shed, as in his messages declared, were, or were not, at that time, armed officers, and soldiers, sent into that settlement, by the military order of the President through the Secretary of War—and

Eighth: Whether the military force of the United States, including those citizens, was, or was not, so sent into that settlement, after Genl. Taylor had, more than once, intimated to the War Department that, in his opinion, no such movement was necessary to the defence or protection of Texas.


Source:
The Congressional Globe, Thirtieth Congress, First Session, 1848, p. 64. Printed in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume I, p. 420.


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 22, 2009 03:12PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
POTENTIAL SPOILER - POTENTIAL SPOILER - POTENTIAL SPOILER

LINCOLN'S SPOT RESOLUTIONS:

Regarding Spotty Lincoln -

http://www.archives.gov/education/les...

"Ironically, when Lincoln became President, he extended the war powers of the executive, action he had criticized as a Congressman. Following the firing on Fort Sumter, he declared a naval blockade on his own authority. The capture and condemnation of four runners led to a case that went to the Supreme Court. In 1863 the Court affirmed Lincoln's actions in the Prize Cases, 2 Black 635."

However, there were many folks who believed that Polk was trying to extend slavery or that would be the outcome of these actions.

BTW: you have introduced a thorny subject Joe (smile)



message 4: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) I guess now might be a good time to discuss tensions between the legislative and the executive branches of government when declaring war, but first we need to better understand why Lincoln opposed the war with Mexico in the first place.



message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Good idea...why do you think he "really" opposed the war...do you think it had something to do with the fear mongering about slavery? Or was he just being oppositional? Or do you feel that maybe he felt that Polk had really stepped out of bounds?


message 6: by Joe (last edited Nov 22, 2009 06:28PM) (new)

Joe (blues) I haven't done my homework yet, but the whole Whig party was against the war because they didn't want slavery extended, like you said. And Lincoln idealised Henry Clay, and he saw him speak against the war during his travels from Springfield to Washington. Clay probably energised him.


message 7: by James (new)

James | 34 comments Lincoln was not a "hawk". Funny thing to say about a president who was responsible for the Civil War but perhaps his own conviction was that he thought what Polk was doing was illegal. His belief in the law was absolute. He stood on principle. Although his actions here will come back to haunt him I am sure how he handles those events will tell us the real roots to his conviction.



message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
James you make an excellent point. Do you think that some presidents are considered hawks because they were unfortunate to have been involved in a war during their presidency? I had never thought much about it.

I agree with you that Lincoln was not a hawk.








message 9: by James (new)

James | 34 comments Bentley wrote: "James you make an excellent point. Do you think that some presidents are considered hawks because they were unfortunate to have been involved in a war during their presidency? I had never thought..."

Yes sure. If you look at Lincoln's portraits over the war years you recognize the war was killing him too. It was just tearing him up inside and out. He hated it and it will force him to take further actions along the way that continues the struggle.
In these chapters.... Lincoln identified himself with the south (born in Kentucky) and I believe he thought that he could develop a position that follows what the forefathers were intending and still would be compatible with slavery in the south. In these chapters we see how his position on slavery is developing. Very interesting.


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Yes it is..forgot about the fact he was born in Kentucky...excellent point.


message 11: by Joe (last edited Nov 30, 2009 11:23AM) (new)

Joe (blues) The beginning of Chapter 11 talks about the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 which repealed the Missouri Compromise. White describes how the bill was passed and also how Lincoln and the Republicans responded to it’s passage.

The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30' north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, allowing slavery in the territory north of the 36° 30´ latitude. Introduced by Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, the Kansas-Nebraska Act stipulated that the issue of slavery would be decided by the residents of each territory, a concept known as popular sovereignty. After the bill passed on May 30, 1854, violence erupted in Kansas between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers, a prelude to the Civil War.

Here are a few questions that could ignite discussion.
Why and how did the Kansas Nebraska Act help raise tensions between the North and South?
What did Lincoln do specifically in response to the passage of the Kansas Nebraska Act?

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri...
http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/our...


message 12: by Joe (last edited Nov 30, 2009 01:21PM) (new)

Joe (blues) The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner

"One of the most violent episodes in congressional history took place in this chamber on May 22, 1856. The Senate was not in session when South Carolina Representative Preston S. Brooks entered the chamber to avenge the insults that Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner had levelled at Brooks' cousin, Senator Andrew P. Butler. Sumner's "Crime Against Kansas" speech of May 19-20 was sharply critical, on a personal level, of Butler and several other senators who had supported the "popular sovereignty" provisions of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. Sumner was addressing copies of the speech at his desk when Brooks began his attack, striking the northern senator repeatedly with a walking cane, which splintered with the force of the blows.

Although two House members intervened to end the assault, Sumner, who had ripped his desk loose from the bolts holding it to the floor in his effort to escape, was rendered unconscious. He regained consciousness shortly after the attack, but it would be three years before he felt able to resume his senatorial duties.

The caning of Senator Sumner signalled the end of an era of compromise and sectional accommodation in the Senate, further heightening the discord that culminated in war after eleven southern states seceded from the Union during the winter of 1860-1861."


Source:
http://www.senate.gov/vtour/sumner.htm


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner

One of the most violent episodes in congressional history took place in this chamber on May 22, 1856. The Senate was not in session when South Carolina Represe..."


The above came up on a talk show that Doris Kearns Goodwin was participating in and she told the story above; I think the timing related to Joe Wilson and his outburst. Of course, Preston Brooks was substantially much much worse. Poor Sumner, he must have suffered post traumatic stress disorder from the entire event...it took him three years before he could come back.

Wikipedia article with even more of the sordid details:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_...

It seems the Richmond Enquirer praised the caning and said that should occur every morning. Such were the times.

But Sumner did have his part in this;

"In 1856, during the Bleeding Kansas crisis when "border ruffians" approached Lawrence, Kansas, Sumner denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act in the "Crime against Kansas" speech on May 19 and May 20, two days before the sack of Lawrence.

Sumner attacked the authors of the act, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina, comparing Butler to Don Quixote and Douglas to Sancho Panza.

Sumner said Douglas (who was present in the chamber) was a "noisome, squat, and nameless animal ... not a proper model for an American senator."

He also portrayed Butler as having taken "a mistress who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight—I mean, the harlot, Slavery."

Sumner's three-hour oration later became particularly personally insulting as he mocked the 59-year-old Butler's manner of speech and physical mannerisms, both of which were impaired by a stroke that Butler had suffered earlier."


It was a rough period in those days. Hazardous to your health.



message 14: by Joe (last edited Nov 30, 2009 11:54AM) (new)

Joe (blues) Yes, tensions where inflaming dramatically. I wonder what Sumner's health was like when this occurred. Was he in excellent health? I'd like to look more into that.


message 15: by Joe (last edited Nov 30, 2009 12:02PM) (new)

Joe (blues) I guess the caning of Senator Charles Sumner would be a great example of one thing that helped raise tensions that was a direct result of the the Kansas-Nebraska Act.


message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "I guess the caning of Senator Charles Sumner would be a great example of one thing that helped raise tensions that was a direct result of the the Kansas-Nebraska Act."

Yes, I would see it that way too.



message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Does anybody else think that the mileage story was a strange tale to be included by White.

Was White insinuating that Lincoln was being dishonest in his submission? Or was he once again showing Lincoln's problem with keeping accurate records?


message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 04, 2009 11:21PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
It was interesting how Lincoln tried to separate the two: not being for the President or the President's decisions but being for the troops and supporting them. It sounds like the dilemma that the Congress had with Bush and the Iraq War. It still is a hard partition for the people to often understand.

Died of spotted fever is a difficult epitaph to get over. Joe, I still think that Lincoln was brittle and inflexible at times. But people seemed to like him despite this.


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
For someone who was committed to such order in his political life, White points out the disorder of his office.

And if I had a law partner who persisted in reading aloud all day...now that would be absolutely annoying.


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
It was curious that Lincoln went along with Mary joining the First Presbyterian Church and they in fact purchased a pew. I think that from White wrote...Lincoln took another look at religion in the 1850s and did attend this church. He seemed to like Smith.


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I felt so sad for Thomas Lincoln and his stepmother that Lincoln did not try to make the trip to see his father before he died. It was just awful how he even ignored at least two letters from his step brother.

I often thought when hearing some of the things that Lincoln actually said in some of his other letters that he was more than blunt...almost hurtful. "Say to him that if we could meet now, it is doubtful whether it would not be more painful than pleasant." All I can say is wow - the final blow.

After reading these pages..I felt so sad for Thomas Lincoln. I think this showed how judgmental and unforgiving Lincoln could be despite all of his very admirable qualities.


message 22: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "For someone who was committed to such order in his political life, White points out the disorder of his office.

And if I had a law partner who persisted in reading aloud all day...now that would b..."


His untidiness is a good observation. It would be expected to have someone who is regarded as the pinnacle of the American literary genius to have an untidy office.


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Hmmm...I do not make the same observation Joe. I think White was making another association.


message 24: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) I'm not quite so sure... but I'm am sure White's intentions were to depict Lincoln as accurately as he possibly could.


message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 06, 2009 06:42PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
True. But the association was to the order in his political life versus the uncleaniness and shabby disorderliness of his office. Windows needing to be clean etc. White did not state that he equated it to American literary genius..although I am not agreeing or disagreeing that Lincoln had other great skills.


message 26: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1246 comments All these notes are very interersting but -
the point in time that I dont see specifically is


message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Vince...are you saying that we should not assume that he was thinking about it at all until the Kansas-Nebraska situation? I was having problems understanding your note.


message 28: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) Vince wrote: "All these notes are very interersting but -
the point in time that I dont see specifically is

Hi Vince.

I had the impression that his true love was politics, and when he failed at getting elected he resorted to being a lawyer again.



message 29: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1246 comments Joe wrote: "Vince wrote: "All these notes are very interersting but -
the point in time that I dont see specifically is

Hi Vince.

I had the impression that his true love was politics, and when he failed at ..."


No I agree that his true love was politics but he was in the course of his career aznd my curiousity is whether the Kansas Nebraska situaiton stirred the decision to resume or another incident or just missing it (and maybe having accumulated some more money to give him more freedom to be a politician)




message 30: by Neil (new)

Neil | 15 comments Bentley wrote: "I felt so sad for Thomas Lincoln and his stepmother that Lincoln did not try to make the trip to see his father before he died. It was just awful how he even ignored at least two letters from his..."

This episode of Lincoln's life is the most shocking to me, and the most personally upsetting. Lincoln by this time was a successful lawyer and former Congressman. I am disturbed that he chose not to make the time to visit his ailing father on his deathbed. And his failing to even attend his funeral compounds the issue. I wonder what heartbreak this apathy must have caused Thomas Lincoln.


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I agree with you Neil. This caused me tremendous sadness too. It does say something about Lincoln (in terms of what he did) and I am trying to wrestle with what that was.

It was almost like he was punishing his father for not being the father that he wished he had rather than to be thankful for the man he was. He did not desert them, he wanted them to be well taken care of, he worked very hard with the resources he had and he could not do much with the lot in life he was dealt. I think Lincoln became a little inflexible in his view of his father and I do not believe he ever forgave him for being who he was and not being an educated man.

Despite his personal misgivings....he should have gone and made his peace, said goodbye with respect and attended his father's funeral.



message 32: by James (new)

James | 34 comments You know, family interactions can be down right cruel sometimes. Its hard for a young person to let things go, especially if they feel they have been wronged. But I have seen those people be so very generous and understanding to complete strangers. It's like they have to make up for their bad behavior. I believe Lincoln was viewed outside the home as one of the kindest and honorable men in the area. Perhaps, because he had to make up for his cruelty within his family.


message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
James you make an excellent point. It certainly was something deeply psychological holding him back for sure.


message 34: by Neil (new)

Neil | 15 comments Interesting observation, by James. I notice that much isn't written about Lincoln the Father in this particular book. Has much been covered on that subject in other biographies?


message 35: by Joe (last edited Dec 16, 2009 04:15PM) (new)

Joe (blues) Neil wrote: "Interesting observation, by James. I notice that much isn't written about Lincoln the Father in this particular book. Has much been covered on that subject in other biographies?"

I have not read this, but I came across this book while browsing my shelves for something else. It's very short, but it's the closest I can think of to Lincoln as a father. Lincoln at Home offers a view into the life of the family through their written correspondence.

Lincoln At Home Two Glimpses of Abraham Lincoln's Family Life by David Herbert Donald
David Herbert Donald

or how about...

The Lincolns Portrait of a Marriage by Daniel Mark Epstein
Daniel Mark Epstein


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