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Lincoln, History, Faith, and Division

Posted on Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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14 Comments
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So much of history is lost. Only when you go back and read what people wrote, felt, and did, then line it up with what others wrote, felt, and did, do you begin to get a sense of what was afoot. The Civil War ripped America apart. We can never let that happen again. Consider it.

We learn – rightly – that the Civil War consumed our nation, that we rose against ourselves to put right a wrong many strived to put right from the start. We hear it ended on April 9, 1865, with Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. Those facts are accurate but incomplete.

In fact, the Civil War, an unthinkable gash on our society, a deep wound meant to cut out a disease, a wound that still makes people ache, was not yet over. The war only ended 16 months later, in August 1866, after Lincoln’s assassination, and Johnson’s declaration. Then …more work.

That war of division cost America more men than we lost in World Wars One and Two combined, 12 times Vietnam and 18 times Korea. It left 620,000 soldiers dead, and many more besides.

The next 50 years were almost as bad, only in slow motion. Our nation was rent by a clever, two nations resolved to be one, yet fundamentally destroyed. It would take half a century for peace.

Think how easy division is to indulge, like our worst instincts, anger, greed, jealousy, and envy – and how destructive when it takes the bit. We lost great men then; millions lost those they loved.

We righted the listing ship but at an enormous cost. If the war was necessary, understanding the costs – not in treasure or blood but in emotional devastation to those who lived, is key.

Short of a peaceful resolution to the epic divide, war was inevitable. Still, Lincoln sought conciliation before resolving to defeat the Confederacy. His speeches say it; division is poison.

In Lincoln’s first inaugural, he pleaded for peace. “Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.” That was March 5, 1861.

A month later, the nation was at war, a contest that would ravage families from Maine to Florida for five years. In the little Maine town where I grew up, roughly 500, 99 went to war.

Shivering at the prospect, Lincoln did not shrink. Speaking to Congress on July 4, 1861 – he said: “And having thus chosen our course, without guile, and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts,” to defend and restore our nation.

Two years on, he wrote a friend on justice. “Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in his own good time, will give us the rightful result.” That was August 1863.

By May 1864, writing to Methodist friends, he said: “Blessed by God, who in this great trial, giveth us the churches.”

By September 1864, a discouraged Lincoln kept faith: “The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise.”

Continuing: “Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduce to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion….” Surely.

Twenty months after the Emancipation Proclamation, a group of Black Americans gave Lincoln a bible. He responded with gratitude, “In regard to this Great Book … it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave the world is communicated through this book.”

In March 1865, second inaugural, he said: “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away…With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

A month later, Lincon was gone. His words live on, as does his faith. Alive today, what would he say? No one knows, but we may surmise. “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us … bind up the nation’s wounds…” Our Founding values define us. Let us restore them, peacefully, with one eye on history.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC. 

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Max
Max
22 days ago

RBC, great history and it would be wonderful for your last paragraph to again become true. Our nation has basically kicked GOD out of society and has been going down the path of destruction ever since. With the Left controlling the mountain tops of our society, until the people regain control, the nation will continue to deteriorate.

SusanW
SusanW
22 days ago

Excellent article, Robert! There were so many good and important points and reminders, but your beginning paragraph grabbed my attention the most. We can NEVER allow another Civil War. That won’t ever be the answer to our problems. We are very divided right now which causes me to have many sleepless nights. I often think of Abraham Lincoln when he said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Wake up America! Come together and save our nation. We have unified in the past and worked often as a bipartisan government. We can do it again. As Winston Churchill so wisely said,”When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” We must do this for our children and grandchildren. Let’s find a way to come together to create a future where our children can grow up in a free world full of wonder and dreams. In closing just remember what Abraham Lincoln so wisely said, “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
22 days ago

The Abraham Lincoln quote – ” There are few things wholly evil or wholly good, almost everything, especially government policy is an inseparable compound of the two ,so our best judgement of the preponderance between them is continually demanded ,” is very good in large part because it can be applied to many different circumstances.
. This article is a fine summary of the crucial things that President Lincoln had to deal with and it provides some insight about what his feelings, his beliefs, his plans were then . I like the last two sentences you wrote Robert – ” Our founding values define us. Let us restore them peacefully with one eye on history.” That is a very good idea for having a realistic outlook when going about righting what needs to be made right again and having history as a guide , keeping possibilities for improvements in mind. Well done with this writing Robert.

Jerry Ellison
Jerry Ellison
22 days ago

When people fear the government you have tyranny. When the government fears the people you have freedom.
Thomas Jefferson
I’m afraid today we have the former.
Most of the people I know don’t trust our government. Still the greatest country but fast deteriorating.

Chuck
Chuck
22 days ago

As Paul Harvey was wont to say “for the rest of the story……” then please read The Real Lincoln by Thomas J. Dilorenzo. And to understand what and who led up to the Civil War, read To The Victor Goes the Myths and Monuments by Arthur Thompson. Its an armload but you will come to understand why and how we are at in America today.

Bacon Nivison
Bacon Nivison
22 days ago

One of the highest causes of our Marxist/Satanic branch of “leadership” in America (demonicrats), Is the elimination of authority above government. “See the sword—the Prince of Darkness sold it to me. / For he beats the time and gives the signs. / Ever more boldly I play the dance of death” Karl Marx. Lincoln stands as one of many examples of promoting the humanitarian purpose promoted in the Bible, and murdered he was by a demonicrat, and in his stead we got an angel of the demonicrat party, the Indian Removal Act, And his racism against Black America continued. As it still does today. “We’ll have those n—ers voting Democrat for 200 years” LBJ.

Melinda
Melinda
22 days ago

If it took 50 years to turn around the divisions created at that time, it may take longer now, even though we haven’t had a physical war, because much of the faith in God that was evident in the 1800s is now lacking. Having said that, I also know that religion has also caused wars.

Neil Gipson
Neil Gipson
22 days ago

Lincoln’s history is he was the first deep state president that committed the highest degree of treason in world history! That scumbag has the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands that he murdered so that our nation could be taken over by the satanic cult!

John Shipway
John Shipway
22 days ago

So many falsehoods most likely because the former aide to perhaps the worst affirmative action Secretary of State hire the nation has ever seen has only the myth of Lincoln to work with. Too lazy to do even minimal research. I bet Mr. Charles actually believes the elementary school narrative that the war was fought to end slavery and to “lift up the black man”.
The war started when first one state wished to secede from the Union because the wonderful Federal Government established a confiscatory tarriff on Cotton, along with tobacco the primary source of revenue for not only South Carolina but for the rest of the South.
“Lifting up the black man”? Explain the concentration camps the “negroes” were put in when they migrated north, most merely leaving fallow ranches and farms as their owners were fighting the aggressors of the North and heading to what they thought was the equivalent of heaven as by word of mouth that is what they had been told.
Well, they ended up initially in the camps and then the “back to Africa” movement was begun under the graces of “Saint Lincoln”, and the northern whites managed to unload some of their “problems” to distant shores. Largely of course……..well, not much has changed, look at lovely settlements like Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit. Were the blacks really ever freed?
Mr. Charles……….READ!!

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