tv Abraham Lincolns Statesmanship CSPAN January 31, 2022 5:58am-7:01am EST
there's lots more nitty-gritty stuff on the ground. this is a woefully inadequate answer because i can't address it in this short term and thank you very much. thank you. i'm carol. do we have 10 minutes or five 10 minutes? okay. we have a ten minute break. please come back promptly at 10:30. right three of their -- problem. there is between my wife analyzs statesmanship. because that's right.
good morning. everyone. the court will come to water. the bailiff will take names. this is a deadly subject. abraham lincoln and statesmanship the political character of abraham lincoln or it could be except for this group you and our great panelists. i'm frank williams. chairman emeritus and a founder i'm not sure what emeritus means or what the chairman emeritus does, but we do have we had we do have three great panelists. the first is judge dennis curran 15 years a member of the
commonwealth of massachusetts superior court. i was on the superior court it was and i think we haven't talked about this judge, but i think it's the best job we ever had. even even better than being chief justice. it's just it's just great. and of course in the middle is professor joseph finary. the author of american statesmanship principles and practice of leadership which he edited with kenneth deutsch and sean sutton and within a year within a year of that he wrote. a free speech core constitutional cases university of notre dame press published the first one and ashcroft published a free speech. and next to him is doc doth
vader who well his his whole area of expertise is the of abraham lincoln. and and i said we were going to have fun and we really are i think with this group. but you know ed ed steers jr. and i go back. almost 35 years. if not longer. and team 78 that's right 78 longer and i i will say in all seriousness the best book. the best book on the abraham lincoln assassination is ed stear's blood on the moon. university press of kentucky his latest book another classic another classic getting right
with lincoln and he's the subtitle is correcting misconceptions about our greatest president well worth the effort because what he does is what we're trying to do as a group. yes, and that is to get rid of the fake news. and to seek the truth which is in short supply these days. not only for our nation for our political culture, but even in our courts. so lincoln was right in 1838 in his life seems speech that. and and i'm quoting pogo now the pogo comic strip we have met the enemy and they are us. so where where so glad to be here, and so glad to have you with us and participate. but statesmanship which is the
subject of this panel? if you're looking for something else we we need to leave and go but statesmanship is as broad a term as democracy, what is it? what is statesmanship? how does it how does it really add up and relate to our abraham lincoln? the before we get to their participation our panel participation. let me start with this. as the inaugural train carrying president-elect abraham lincoln wound its way to the nation's capital. the country stood poised at a great divide in those final hours before his presidency
began standing under the american flag. lincoln sealed his vow to unify and preserve this new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. no president in american history has faced a greater crisis than abraham lincoln confronted in 1861. but was he prepared? as a war leader and strategist after all as an example. he had only served as a captain of the militia during the black hawk war. during which he had seen no action. did lincoln know that the war was to be the only option or did he hope to resolve the issues separating the north and south through political statesmanship? how did he justify the steps he took to save the union and
preserved the constitution. these lessons we learn from lincoln which apply to modern day justice. in in war and you we all know that that the constitution does not really define the duties of the chief magistrate of the president of the united states. nor does it define the war powers? of the presidency or the president so let's start with my asking each of the panelists to generally give their thoughts of what to them. and maybe to us statesmanship really means. starting with you ed. oh boy. that's not the first time. i've been before two judges.
well, i am the dead lincoln guy on this panel and when i was invited i said what why are they putting me on a panel of statesmanship? so i did what most of you would do i dove into the internet and began searching. and i came up with definitions that range from six words to three paragraphs and everything in between so i came away. sort of as confused as one i went in but then i was reminded of the great justice potter stewart. who was asked to define pornography? you all know what justice stewart said. i can't define pornography, but i know it when i see it. i had difficulty defining statesmanship, but i know it when i see it and i can give you i think excellent examples as far as abraham lincoln is concerned. and just justin an aside would i really? like and why i am glad i'm on
this panel because these conferences devote themselves to war. to the commander in chief okay emancipation to slavery. the blessed of my knowledge we never get into any of lincoln's domestic policies and here's where he really shines. and here's where the statesmanship really emerges. i can't tell you the number of times i've heard. well if it wasn't for the war and slavery we never would have heard abraham lincoln or he would have been a mediocre president somewhere down in the lower 15. which is totally false, and so hopefully we're going to get into that side of lincoln which i really like which is the domestic side and the great things that this man did that all of us in this room today are benefiting from thank you. ed joe flannery. please thanks for frank.
we we recognize greatness in other domains, you know think of athletic greatness think of artistic greatness in statesmanship concerns political greatness and and to kind of begin with the provisional definition. i would say statesmanship involves the the virtuous exercise of power for the common good and that common good is is than an abstract. concept right, i would say that for lincoln the common good in the american union involved a consideration of both moral principle. and for him. that was the ancient faith. that was the apple of gold and the picture of silver right from from this is the metaphor he used from from proverbs the constitution and the rule of law so consideration of both those factors in in view of the
long-term common good and we can when we consider statesmanship as well, you know, it's it's and i like that, you know, we do know it we know it. well, we may not be able to define it precisely but we know when we see it, we know that statesmanship is more than an ordinary politician who makes decisions based on on polls in short-term expediency in tyranny. right and in in one other thing, i would say that statesmanship as political greatness. tends to display itself, uh, most clearly in in terms of a great crises right think of in in great tasks either founding or saving a state so i do think domestic policy is is important but it is that that rare event
in those crucial life or death situations churchill during the blitz rallying the english and link it when the very existence of the the state is is at an issue. thank you. thank you joe. how about you judge karen? vision character being a deep thinker and having a better understanding of history. those are the qualities that make a statesman. they say that the difference between a politician and a statesman. is that a politician thinks about the next election? while the statesmen thinks about the next generation now, i'm thank you. unlike my colleagues. i'm going to take a different i agree with them. i we've chatted. i agree with them totally but i'm gonna take a little bit of a
different tack on approaching this issue because i think it's gonna gonna be very well filled by ed and and joe by talking about examples of his statement statesmanship, but i have to confess i am more intrigued by how do you how you get to be a statesman? with all due respect to everyone here. i don't i don't know if anybody hears a statement. i don't even know any statesman or anybody in the present playing field. who is a statesman. i just don't. so i want to go back to those formative years of abraham lincoln which sowed the seeds of greatness. that set him apart. and there are three specific areas that i'd like to focus in on and so my my approach is a little different from my colleagues. it's complementary. but i i i'll get into those in a
if we have time today in a more elaborate fashion, but within the time limits you know, i i teach a class. on abraham lincoln and statesmanship every year at the us naval war college in newport. i've been doing it for about 20 years. and after a week to or maybe three. i asked the class. the students in the class to give me their thoughts on. what characters? to you recognize or do you believe are related to abraham lincoln and what winston churchill called political courage because that to him all other characteristics come from that that term political courage?
and and by the by the end of the class they're at least 50 characteristics that are placed on the whiteboard. so it's almost a bag of tell of great things that we we attribute to abraham lincoln. so let's get into. some examples of of statesmanship that we think were exhibited by abraham lincoln either as an individual before presidency or during his presidency ed. let's start with you. okay. well, i actually did defer to judge kern because the difference is a politician looks to his next election. where as a statesman looks to the next generation and my favorite example of this is the land grant college act.
which was enacted in the summer of 1862 along with a couple other very great acts, but just think about this at the time the lower 48 consisted of two billion acres. and in 1862 the territories consisted of just under 50% 900 million acres. so the act called for allotting to every state 30,000 acres of territory forever representative. in congress, so rhode island gets 120,000 new york. it's nine hundred ninety thousand and everybody else in between. now the idea is that the states can then sell dispose of that land. however, they can for whatever they can but the law requires them to invest that money in a college a public college. so here is lincoln's vision of the country because to this very day. we are benefiting from this
land-grant college act. and the additional son of statesmanship is this guy included the 11 confederate states that were currently in rebellion. they were all allotted their share of the territories. and if any of it was sold during the war that money was put in escrow to be held for the war and can you imagine i mean, i can't think of another situation or country where they would do something like this. so what happened today? it started a 71 lane grant colleges and then blacks into institutions followed bringing it to 90 and then native americans were up to i think if i'm right on 119. but that one act is is an example of lincoln's vision? it's we're still benefiting. from it today, so it's my prime example. of of his statesmanship the do
you want to get into some more examples ed or just well, i i'd like to save some for my friends. but sure. thank you. well, well the second one of course would be that would be the homestead act. i mean now the homestead act or so before you before you go on with the whole set act which is another important piece of legislation passed during the war. how many here are graduates of a land-grant college? wow. and if you're not sure if the university of is before your school, you're probably in a landing college school that something so you can thank abraham lincoln. okay, so let's talk a little bit about the homestead act. well, it's just it's just another example, so the territory the land-grand college act took a little over 17 million acres, so you've still got got a lot left out there.
and so the homestead act was very simple. the territories are opened up. and they're opened up to basically anyone not just citizens, but immigrants and later to blacks 168 acres all you have to do is live on it for five years and build some sort of structure and it's yours free. the only thing he had to do is pay a filing fee of $18 now prior to lincoln. there was a homestead act in the works, but it required. payment of $2 an acre and in some instances a dollar twenty five integral. well, what small family farmer could afford $320 for a homestead so lincoln said no. no, it's free. we're going to give this land away and it will stimulate the economy stimulate the development of the country 13 new states came out of there at the same time. he created what would be the department of agriculture
appointing a commissioner isaac newton and for the first time the federal government was developing practices in in farming and land management. to help these new there are three million patents originally filed. under the homestead act which gave rise to the 13 states, but this now what would become the department of agriculture under lincoln had a miraculous effect on the midwest and on the south in the decade from 1870 to 1880 cotton production doubled. tobacco production went up 50 52 percent and as you well know that territory is the bread basket of the country in the world. it's just been an enormous agricultural success. so here again lincoln is not thinking of within his administration. he's thinking of the future he's thinking of the development of
new states. he's thinking of getting farmers out there citizens to develop that part of the country. and and so many of the things i think we'll talk about this is the characteristic of lincoln vision. the next generation which is what sets lincoln aside. as a great statement political character is involved, but it's not quite the same because a lot of political character and in lincoln's case you'll see is restricted to his administration doesn't go beyond it. um, and i assume we're get into discussing political character and examples example, but anyway, the land grant college the homestead act to me are excellent examples of lincoln's vision for future of the country. well, do you think the fact that members of congress were really pushing these acts? oh as to the president?
how that make any difference? well, they weren't pushing them. first of all congress didn't want to give away land. they wanted to sell it and up until lincoln. that's that's what it was. putting up putting a price and and as i told you lincoln said what small family farmer could afford 320 dollars to buy 168 acres. i mean it just it'll never happen. it'll never do it. and so what was beginning to happen was land speculators were going and starting to buy a large chunks of this land which they would then sell for five dollars an acre. i mean it and lincoln cut them off at the knees. another example of great statesmanship. that's the point. that's the point. yes. so how about it joe? we spoke about examples and statesmanship and i think that's a crucial connection that we should never lose sight of and that's one of the reasons. i think the lincoln forum is
here. and when we talk about cultivating statesman or state state's persons, it's crucial that we have examples, right? it was it was the example of george washington his magnanimous example that that inspired lincoln to sacrifice for the common good in in in to sacrifice in a manner which was more than just crass ambition, right if we expect statesmen. we cannot castrate and and bid the geldings to be fruitful if we expect vision. we cannot blind the sight of magnanimity. in in that means upholding models of political excellence in being able to articulate some kind of standard.
this does not involve a blind mindless reverence for the past. in fact, i think greatness will would shine even even more clearly when we acknowledge the very human flaws. but it's you know in and i think is historians. there's there's so often beating around the bush that i don't want to engage in hero worship and you know true, you know, true you don't you you simply don't don't want to mindlessly revere something for the sake of of tradition alone, but i think lincoln proves that some things are worthy. of of our admiration and imitation right. i mean as teachers as educators. what is our role shouldn't we be inspiring students to to in some way imitate lincoln is example.
however old fashioned that may sound and if you ask what constitutes what is the the essence of lincoln statesmanship as an example? i would preserving the union right and and and no small task. and and confronting the south. in in you know, we i think we give short trips sometimes to how monumental that that task was consider lincoln's predecessor buchanan. and and finally not simply preserving the union but preserving the principles for which the union stood. okay, this was this for lincoln preserving the union always meant preserving the principles for which it stood and that many union dedicated to the an inclusive interpretation of all men are created equal. well, where are the where are the to those held in bondage? what what pot? does that play with preserving the union?
joe in of course, you know lincoln was an anti-slavery candidate in his consideration of the common good involved furthering that principle of equality and it was it was preserving the what is that? it's not that i hear that ringing. it was it was preserving a union which was committed to antislavery principles in in and its slavery. i think lincoln's emancipation problem policy is fundamentally related to his core principles. it was a circumstances that that differed and and yet and why were there concessions to slavery will because is a statesman is an elected official who had to take into consideration to consent of the governed. he had to take into consideration the rule of law in in the work there were constitutional barriers that prevented him as we know from striking directly at slavery, but nonetheless it that anti-slavery principle guided him.
act after act. i mean in his first inaugural act he he noticed that that he will enforce article 4 of the constitution so that that there's not a case of mistaken identity for for free blacks who are being abused by the fugitive slave provision. that's a very daring. uh, i would say even advanced civil rights position early on that that would extend the privileges and immunities of citizenship to free blacks, you know, not to mention. he's going to hold fort sumter. and and and his for as long as you have a republican in office, you have lincoln in office the that moral compass is going to direct us towards the ultimate and this is in we've heard this in lincoln's own word the ultimate extinction of slavery.
he is consistent with this. there's a lot of talk lincoln grew and i understand lincoln may have grown but he grew because there were fundamental principles that guided him as well. there was a moral compass. thank you, joe. how about your your thoughts of judge well on your approach. how do you get to be a statesman? there's no application that i've seen out there. what propelled lincoln into the almost stratospheric clouds of olympus as a demigod? i think the answer lies. and i'm taking a completely different axle. let me bear with me. in a deep-seated childhood trauma really you don't happen on greatness in your adult life years the seeds of greatness are
and eventual statesmanship here. were sown very early in his life and the evidence of this is overwhelming. um, let me just back up and say i've presided over hundreds and hundreds of domestic abuse cases. lincoln's childhood had all the earmarks of a violent and abusive alcoholic father did work as tail off with all due respect to ed. i love his first chapter. this is the best scholarship that's done on lincoln's father the first chapter of its new book. let me just promoted $29.95 at the amazon. he'll give you a discount and thank orders. thank you. and and get a discount only to find that the father that he didn't own those three pieces of property in kentucky. we all know this weary story of
thomas lincoln the supposed shiftless good for nothing, but i disagree with that picture. one thing is clear. thomas lincoln was a crappy father. he and lincoln was determined to show his father that his life would have meaning. that he wasn't the good for nothing that his father tried to beat into him. now i did a little research on this issue because i'm kind of fascinated. how do you get get to become great? you know that if the last nine past presidents. thank you very much. oh. of the last nine past presidents thanks very much. three of them had fathers thank you very much for embarrassingly bad alcoholics. i mean embarrassing at the in the sense that they fell in the street and people would make fun of them.
two others abandoned their families, holy. and one of whom was an acknowledged and admitted wife beater. now, what effect do you think that that has on a kid? huh? what effect do you think that has on a kid? and thomas lincoln's case. he abandoned two children aged 10 and 12. for as doris kearns goodwin says up to seven months in the wilds of kentucky. to seek a wife or indiana to seek a wife. now what happened during that period of time to abraham and sarah abraham was 10. sarah was 12 during that period of physical abandonment by their own remaining father nancy, as you know had died from the milk sickness. they regressed to an almost feral state dennis hanks
described them as wild ragged and dirty. that abandonment seared into the consciousness and i submit made lincoln into the untrusting man that he became and he was untrusting even his intimate supposedly intimates all acknowledged the same thing. billy herndon said he was the most closed mouth man. why? so how does lincoln come out of this? how could you ever really trust anyone? after his only living parent abandoned him to the frontier, which he later described as a wild region with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods and kearns goodwin said would detail as a nightmarish place where lincoln would later recall himself. the panthers scream filled the knife with fear and bears preyed upon the swine. can you imagine the effect this would have on a 10 year old kid?
that abandonment had to have emotionally scarred lincoln. and i believe i submit it began to turn lincoln against his father who he must have bitterly resented it now the second point behind lincoln's greatness and why he achieved statesmanship status is born from his being victimized by domestic abuse. and i understand we all reveal lincoln i get it but the father and not so much what happens when a young man is repeatedly berated. beaten and told that he's useless. for many there will is crushed. they begin to believe their lives is in fact worthless, and they proceed to live a purposeless and misdirected life. just look around our society. only a very small percentage of
the abused are able to overcome survive in advance as the pop singer kelly clarkson hits things in her pop single. what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. and so it was with lincoln. some men are determined to grow up to show their fathers that they were wrong and to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. they throw themselves into work. they become workaholics. they desperately seek validation through the love respect and public adulation. some of these people are called. politicians but what separated lincoln apart from even this class was his magnanimity his humility his patriotism and ability to commend communicate or rhetoric and his wisdom. now all of these are laid out. in joe's book sweet 75 dollars,
they ran out of there. it's a wonderful text. or you can take the smaller version. this wasn't planned by the way, american statesman philosopher and statement. all right, so such individuals are determined. this is my premise to show their fathers that their lives have meaning and in lincoln's case. has an extraordinary and lasting meaning for mankind. thank you. judge ed stays for a response. oh, no, i would love to debate you on that point judge, but leaving. i don't know. maybe we can put it on next year's program. i i don't know what happened to lincoln to develop them into the statesmanship that he was i can only talk about the statesmanship. acts that he did. and where they came from?
i don't know any more than i know where is intellect came from. this is something we debate again and again and go round and around on. so aside from this terrible upbringing. lincoln statesmanship, of course comes through in many many examples well when we met we when we met last evening, you mentioned the timing of the of his bixby letter. yeah, that's that. this is to the woman in we all know it. there's a question and whether or not he wrote it, but putting that aside no, no, he wrote he wrote it. i believe that too and she was supposedly the mother of five sons who would died in battle actually two two was bad enough.
but the timing of the the letter ed i was evidenced to you and to us of of a particular form of statesmanship. for those of you don't know the election was held on november 8th lincoln held that letter he had john nicollet hold it until after the election and those of you have any familiarity with it? no, it's dated november the 24th. just think about that. think about that at what a politician would do. he could have issued that letter before the election and think of all the positive coverage. he would have got it to help boost his political fortunes going into the election, but this man withheld that letter until after the election because he said he did not want it to be politicized. that's extraordinary. i mean and also enough said and
also the fact that he allowed elections to go forward. well, that's that is of course on the list of our statesmanship, i think. i do think he could have certainly not cancel election, but i do think he could have postponed it and he wouldn't have had any problem doing that. he would have got the full support of course of the dominant party, which was his but that look in august. 23, you know, most of you the blind memo that he writes to his cabinet in which he says it is increasingly obvious. we this administration will not be reelected and then he goes on to say what we must do well if he believed that if he believed that he was not going to be re-elected and yet he allowed the election to go forward. it's it's a remarkable example of his political character. just as the bixby letters are
remarkable example of his political character and there have to be at least a dozen examples this that you can find in lincoln well remember in world war two prime minister winston churchill who many of us admire? as a great statesman and parliament deferred. british elections until the war was won at least in europe. so it's not unknown. it's not unknown joe. do you do you want to offer? yeah. i think in in one of my favorite examples of lincoln statesmanship is is one on both speech and deed and it's it's his remarks in in philadelphia on route to his his inauguration. of course, the the south is is already seceded. the confederacy has been established lincoln had had pursued for the most part is
harold nicely shows and one of many of his works, you know a policy of silence during the secession winner and and yet it philadelphia more be slightly before his his inauguration. he says that you know, we this struggle is for the original idea the original idea for which this nation was dedicated. it kind of anticipates the did i think the gettysburg. rest and then remarkably because there was a threat of assassination looming before he was even inaugurated as we know. he said i would rather be assassinated on this spot. then give up that then give up their principle and it felt filled up you and independence hall. yeah, and you know, so the setting the setting was a was appropriate right and a recurrence back to the core
principal in lincoln's understanding of it. also, i think that his his tenacity and and upholding that the core principle of the republican party that you know when he's not going to although lincoln is is, you know known for his ability to to compromise in into accommodated times. he also was in flexible when it came to the question of restricting slavery. that was that was not up for negotiation and and he would have as as you mentioned suffered, you know, put his political ambitions aside for respect of the rule of law and that's remarkable tyrants. don't do that, you know, certainly a napoleon doesn't doesn't write a bland blind memorandum, you know submitting to the french assembly at this time quite quite the entry and i think in this regard, he's following the example of washington, right and washington is a is a clear example of
someone who gained respect in power from surrendering power and and in the united states, we have that example, and that example should never be forgotten in contrast to other nations. france germany italy are european counterparts emphasize what joe just said the phrase that lincoln said comes to mind important principles must remain in flexible. important principles must remain in flexible now as an example just a fast forwarding to examples of statesmanship past the form of years. i think one of the most telling examples of lincoln's greatness and i i think of that book that we all read when we were kids.
he stoops to conquer. all right. um the anecdote about general mcclellan november of 62 when lincoln accompanied by his secretary of state can imagine going in the evening with his secretary of state and john hay to the home of general mcclellan. to talk about strategy and to get them off as duff. what is that what happens? you know the story ellen mcclelland says that he's off at a wedding party and he'll be back in a soon enough and an hour goes by and mcclellan is told that they're in the room. walks past it lincoln weights another half hour. this is the leader. of a nation and he waits an hour and a half for this. fellow and the fellow whatever little mac says to the servant
tell them of gone to bed. how would any of us have reacted to that situation? and have a tail time with that. what's that? i'd have a tough time with that. i would be honestly, i'd be enraged. but lincoln was above it. and he even said to to hay on the way out. well, let's not focus on etiquette and all that. i i have greater things to worry about. goodness, gracious. i i just can't imagine somebody being that magnanimous in the loftiness right of spirit any any proceeds to say to hey, i'd hold his horse if it helped us win a battle or get him off his time because he had the slows which i only recently figured out was a reverse of having the runs.
so so i have i have are we having fun yet? i have one other thing with that will return for the panelists and and if you have questions about statesmanship or comments about lincoln's i please begin to go to the mics now and and my thought is this my thought is this and we we over this yesterday or heatedly discussed whether or not we should even address this new book from a professor who contends that abraham lincoln was an autocrat who actually rewrote the us constitution. and and he cites three major examples one is he did not allow the southern states to secede as his predecessor would have and as the chief justice of the
united states roger tony would have allowed and secondly that these the precious rid of habeas corpus the right to have your detention checked by a magistrate without without congress's authorization because congress was not in session was suspended or or he authorized a general winfield scott to suspended on the rail the railroad lines from philadelphia to washington and thirdly thirdly he had no right? no right under the constitution to issue the emancipation proclamation. even as a war measure which is how lincoln justified so what do we say to this? what do we say to this pundits view that that abraham lincoln actually wrote rewrote the constitution ed. well, we write a book.
a good book what i should have said upfront early on as many of these things that lincoln did he did against opposition he was advised not to do them and i didn't think we would get into war powers, but i think there are great examples in the war powers of lincoln statesmanship. that's where he's attacked most by his critics and all i can suggest is you read mark neely's fate of liberty if you want to get a real answer to that, but but this this brings me up. to the dakota sioux uprising, which i think is a perfect example for those of you don't know in 1862 in august all along the minnesota frontier which separates the dakota territories the dakota sue rose up and began to attack settlers and a war broke out very vicious very violent and very cruel anywhere
from 800 to 1,000 settlers were killed. we don't know how many of the dakota sewer killed because a lotus took place on the prairie bodies decomposed animals. do it an animals do the point is it was finally suppressed and put down 1500 prisoners of dakota sue were taking in 400 of them were called out and put on trial. um by bill by military by military tribunal and and of course, this is another area where lincoln is severely attacked by i won't say. in any event these military tribunals which no one ever mentions. they acquitted 97 of these 400 as innocent, but condemned to death by hanging 303 now two things one is i don't know if you know, but there were 4,000.
347 military tribunals during the civil war 13,000 defendants. that's three a day every day of the war of civilians of civilians rights. yeah. well, they're called enemy belligerence so they called themselves civilians the military called them enemy belligerence, but the point being the military throughout the war had as part of its administration every single trial was to be recorded verbatim and shortland. so all 4,347 trials we have the trial transcripts verbatim. so lincoln sends to pope who was the journalist center. put down the rebellion. he said send me the trial transcripts. if you can imagine so lincoln sat down with george advocate general holt and went through all three hundred and three condemned. and he put aside the convictions
of 265. and approved the hanging of the 38. and i go into this in great detail in the book. and this is part of what i call the lure of revisionism or the creeping revision that is coming and this is now characterized as abraham lincoln having murdered 38. native americans in the largest hanging in the history of the united states without any mention of his reversing the verdicts on the 265. and lincoln was warned by his generals if you don't let this stand these 303 there will be a revolt all along the front of the whites. and there's going to be a major bloodbath. not only that of course, you won't get a single vote, minnesota in the 1864 election and lincoln's answer was i cannot exchange men's lives for
votes? the good news. is he won, minnesota. and so but but again, it is an example of lady going against the pressure going against the advice of his advisors in generals and doing what he thought. was the principal thing to do? i can't exchange men's lives for votes. even if i lose, minnesota let's take some questions. we never got to the three. the three themes of this professor who alleges that lincoln rewrote the constitution, maybe we will after or after the questions. yes, ma'am, rachel riley. alexandria, virginia lincoln group of dc abraham lincoln's grandfather was a soldier in the continental army. and is recognizes such by the
daughters of the american revolution. what impact do you think his service and subsequent murder had on president lincoln? i i got you. why don't you obviously obviously thomas grew up grow up fatherless and but for the fact that mordecai took his gun took aim and aimed it right at the chest at the native american we wouldn't we wouldn't have abraham lincoln. so i think it was a profound effect, but i don't are you saying that benjamin lincoln was an ancestor of abraham lincoln his grant president for all right. so his grandfather was abraham lincoln right his name, so i was hoping lincoln is a collateral reverence for the declaration of independence and the original he's a collateral decision. no, i understand. that's right. wanted to make sure that we're on the same page. how about you rudy alter got first time attended to the
forum. i feel like i'm in heaven right now. i'm from i'm from chicago. i am from the land of lincoln and i feel a deep personal connection to him. my question is when i think of lincoln i think of two traits and i wonder if you would comment on them if you would think that statesmanship includes prudence and then many of the statesmen i revere including lincoln, but also from massachusetts president kennedy, he called himself an idealist without illusions. what about pragmatism? i that's i i yeah, i i yeah, i i consider prudence one of the quintessential traits. and what is prudence right? i think it's a let's say old-fashioned practical wisdom, but this means a consideration is as i mentioned before of of principle, right you did the prudent individual. it's not cunning right? it's not simple shrewdness. so the lincoln was capable of that right? but it's it's having a moral
compass but also being able to apply those principles realize as much as the good is possible under the circumstance and i sometimes the word pragmatism is used in association with with prudence. i don't like it because it pragmatism seems to suggest that you're without a moral compass right that you know, you're simply making decisions on the basis of experience so i would compare prudences a mean between the the one extreme of pragmatism where someone and we know these individuals, right? all they care about is the next election. it's short-term expedience. it's it's personal ambition and on the other hand a which is equally as dangerous in politics a utopianism. okay in in you know, look the there's that there's that wonderful saying that the the ideal could be the enemy of the good so is as much as i think
lincoln was a philosophical statesman he was no utopian. he had a formidable mind, but it was it was anchored in reality in that that virtue of prudence of applying principles under the circumstances. he still having a moral compass is one of the defining features of a great statesman. how do we get it? there's how you get a mozart? how to get a john coltrane thank you. thank you joe. let's hear from let's hear from michelle. well, i don't disagree that abraham lincoln supported the idea behind the land-grant college bill and certainly passed and certainly signed it as the proud product of the university of california system. i feel like i am compelled to point out that the man who was actually commonly known as the father of the land-grant college bill is actually representative justin morrill of vermont who not only was instrumental in getting that legislation passed in 1862 and signed by lincoln, but was also behind the 1890
edition for historically black colleges, so and and i also have to admit a bias because i'm the curator of the justin morrill papers at the library. i love it. cheers. good times. yeah, you know i just wanted to make sure that i think that's where maybe frank was going with his comment that you don't have some of this legislation without the 37th congress and also the fact that there weren't southerners in there were you know, and and also michelle i think your point raises a a very point of leadership. and statesmanship and that is it's a team effort. between the three branches of government that many of our students forget that we have that three independent branches that overlap. so it's a team effort. exactly in the end. i didn't mention the moral act because i didn't think any of you. i'm sorry, perhaps some of you would not know what that was. that's all i called it the lingering college act and certainly justin morrow and
thomas clemson were the two main people behind the land grant act, but just remember neither of them were president. neither of them would sign the bill that would go through in lincoln and and again that bill was opposed and people pushed back against it. we don't want to give away land. we want to sell it. we want to put money in the united states. let's see. let's hear from from you. all right. i really admire lincoln statesmanship you but i would think you want to include in your list inside there the transcontinental railroad and that little cups of land. that's my phone. that's a pacific the pacific railway it was interesting to understand all that's going on during the war and all of that is going on where the two things you don't want to watch being made is legislation and sausage. and if lincoln had survived the assassination.
praise that his held for the last hundred years when? he would have been. paced with the problems of reconstruction and with a much less helpful congress. that's the point of trying to get across that. we spend all our time talking about the war emancipation and slavery and there is whole. other domestic program of the lincolns which we most people don't know about and we don't talk about it these conferences and i'm hoping that maybe in the future they can be on the agenda and and we can expose this as the last gentleman pointed out. he's fighting the greatest and most horrendous war in the nation's history at the same time. he's pushing through all of this legislation, which will impact people in the 20th and 21st century. i mean you would think that he would just put all that aside and just fight the war. but he didn't i mean that this