Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013, the Anniversary of Lincoln's Death

We Americans stupidly recognize this day as the day taxes are due. So we emphasize money and materialism over greatness of mind and soul, greatness that was both a product of and an influence upon the nation. Taxes are trivial compared to what happened on this day in 1865. President Lincoln was shot by Booth on Good Friday, April 14, 1865 and died the next morning. Secretary of State Seward was brutally assaulted as was his son. There is good evidence that General Grant was stalked to his train the same night by the conspirators. This occurred 5 days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox and doomed the South to a reconciliation with the North shepherded by the usual political wolves. More importantly it deprived the nation and politics of the high standard of mind and spirit Lincoln embodied.

Tolstoy on Lincoln:
“.... how largely the name of Lincoln is worshiped throughout the world and how legendary his personality has become. Now why was Lincoln so great that he overshadows all other national heroes? He really was not a great general like Napoleon or Washington; he was not such a skillful statesman as Gladstone or Frederick the Great; but his supremacy expresses itself altogether in his peculiar moral power and in the greatness of his character.

“Washington was a typical American. Napoleon was a typical Frenchman, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his country — bigger than all the Presidents together.

“We are still too near to his greatness,” Tolstoy concluded, “but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do.

“His genius is still too strong and too powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us.”

1 comment:

cmccague said...

Wonderful, the best.