Each month this column will provide you with interesting information that can include human interest stories, historical events and perspectives, happenings in the County or controversial pondering. Either I or my colleagues will author the monthly pieces and you can in turn respond with your own comments, if you choose. The first column is a dedication to Abraham Lincoln by Peter Reiner, followed by several interesting tidbits about the man by Karen Amatuzzo.
Sincerely, Clarkstown GOP Chairman Bob Axelrod
Abraham Lincoln: Continued Inspiration
BY PETER REINER
Throughout my life I have greatly admired and respected Abraham Lincoln and his noble ideals of liberty, equality, compassion and perseverance. With my excitement renewed during the bicentennial, I believe it is important now, more than ever, to share President Lincoln’s vision and pass along his precious legacy.
Lincoln was elected in 1860 as the first Republican President, supported by a party that was only five years old and, at the time of his election, faced the dissolution of the Union. His leadership and unyielding commitment to the principles found in our Declaration of Independence not only preserved the Union, but created a new nation, as he said, “worthy of saving.”
President Abraham Lincoln left several huge legacies which have been passed down to the latest generation of Americans. Too often, we simply remember him as the one who issued the Emancipation Proclamation. That action finally led to the freeing of all the slaves when the 13th Amendment was passed at the insistence of Lincoln. But his administration gave us several other important gifts, which we still enjoy today. The Morrill Act gave federal lands to the states so that they might create land grant colleges or universities – one in each state. The National Bank Act improved our banking. The Pacific Highway Act brought about a transcontinental railroad. The Homestead Act opened up the great West for settlement to those without significant financial resources. And under Lincoln, the words “In God We Trust” were placed on our coinage. As President, Abraham Lincoln, both publicly and privately – called upon God to save this nation wracked by a terrible civil war.
Abraham Lincoln was born 204 years ago. But the principles by which he lived, and for which he died, are true and timeless. And his wisdom and example continues to offer hope and guidance to every American – if we will only pay attention. His commitment to liberty, equality and justice for all continues to inspire me.
Interesting Facts about Abraham Lincoln
BY KAREN AMATUZZO
*Lincoln and the Republican Party
Abraham Lincoln helped establish the Republican Party with a speech denouncing an 1854 law, written by a Democrat Senator that allowed slavery to expand into the western territories. Two years later, he co-founded the Illinois, GOP. More than two years before becoming the first Republican president, Lincoln spoke for the ages. “The Republican Party, on the contrary (to the Democrats), holds that this government was instituted to secure the blessings of freedom, and that slavery is an unqualified evil…(Republicans) will oppose in all its length and breadth the modern Democratic idea that slavery is as good as freedom.”
* Lincoln supported women’s rights
Abraham Lincoln was the first major political figure to suggest extending the right to vote to women. Twelve years before the first woman’s rights convention occurred, Lincoln, then a state legislator, made a statement to an Illinois paper supporting “female suffrage”.
*Lincoln has no heirs
Although Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, produced four sons, there are no living descendants today. Three of their sons died before the age of twenty. Edward died at the age of four, Willie at twelve, and Tad at eighteen. Robert was the only child to live to adulthood and his last known descendant died in 1985.
*Lincoln had a premonition he would be killed
Not long before he was assassinated, Lincoln spoke of a dream where he heard someone weeping in the White House. When he found the room it was coming from, he asked who had died. He was told it was the president. He approached the coffin to peer in and saw his own face.
*Lincoln’s beard was historic.
Lincoln was the first president to have a beard while serving in office.
*Lincoln was an inventor
Lincoln was the first and only president to obtain a patent. In 1849, he patented a device to lift ships over shoals, Patent No. 6469.
*Lincoln under utilized his pockets
Lincoln’s stovepipe top hat was more than just fashionable headgear. He used it to store and carry notes, letters, even bills.