200 Years


Several fine observances of the birthday of the Great Emancipator around Saint Blog’s.  Crankycon has several first rate postings on Mr. Lincoln.  Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia has selections from two of President Lincoln’s finest speeches.  Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy reminds us of why we residents of Illinois are proud to call ourselves the Land of Lincoln  (Although considering the condition of the Sucker State currently, I doubt if Mr. Lincoln would consider it a compliment!)

17 Responses to 200 Years

  1. Donna V. says:

    Ah, they don’t make Illinois pols like they used to! Since I am a Wisconsinite and grumbling about Flatlanders ( or, more accurately, visitors from Chicagoland) is one of our favorite hobbies, it pains me to admit it, but Illinois has done pretty well historically when it comes to producing distinguished statesmen. Admittedly, the current bunch is a disappointment, and I doubt any state can quite match the bumper crop produced by Virginia, but, well, there was that Eureka College graduate, for starters. And I can imagine what Adlai Stevenson would say about Blago (well, actually I can’t, because Stevenson would come up with a much more devastatingly witty put-down than I’m capable of dreaming up.)

    And then there’s the astonishing career of Paul Douglas. I had never heard of the man until I came across him in the pages of E.B. Sledge’s “With the Old Breed”: a professor who enlisted in the Marine Corp in his 50’s, was severely wounded on Okinawa and survived to represent Illinois in the Senate. (Heck, they don’t make Democrats like they used to either.)

    I don’t mean to change the subject, just to point out that Illinois has produced some very fine pols in the past and God willing, will do so again.

  2. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Paul Douglas was indeed a very brave man. He rose from private to lieutenant colonel in three years and did it all through sheer guts on the battlefield. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Douglas

    A liberal who has always had my respect.

  3. Elaine says:

    Also on the GOP side, don’t forget the great, unabashedly pro-life and Catholic statesman Rep. Henry Hyde; Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen, a key backer of civil rights legislation (if you’re ever in Pekin stop in at the Dirksen Congressional Center, run by a really great guy, Frank Mackaman); and Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, who defied what some describe as a bipartisan corruption “Combine” to bring us U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation).

  4. Donald R. McClarey says:

    How true Elaine, and how I miss the great Henry Hyde, one of the best orators in the last three decades.

    The senior partner in my first firm was born in 1902 and was a Democrat. He was also a close friend of Dirksen. He used to tell me hilarious stories, usually centering around Dirksen’s capacity for drink. Drunk or sober Dirksen was a great senator. Not only have I been at the Dirksen Congressional Center, I bought an album of songs sung by Dirksen!

    My only criticism of Peter Fitzgerald is that he lacked the fortitude to stay in the state and fight the corruption. If he had, my guess is that history in the state and in the nation may have been greatly altered.

  5. Donna V. says:

    I forgot to mention Dirkson and Hyde – 2 more fine gentlemen.

    Your neighbor from the schizophrenic state to the north (home of the LaFollettes, the People’s Republic of Madison AND Tailgunner Joe) salutes them.

  6. Anthony says:

    Whether you love Linccoln or not (like me), Pat Buchanan (himself loved and loathed by many) has a very well written and substantive analysis of Lincoln and all the heavy issues surrounding the Civil War.

    A long time ago (you know…the 90s!) I was on the Buchanan-hating band wagon… but the Bush years caused me to really raise my opinion of Buchanan’s thinking. I don’t agree with him on every little thing, but I do agree with him more often than not now.


  7. paul zummo says:

    I love how Buchanan uses selective quotations to pretend as though he has a better argument. The south has a right to secede? Of course it does- a small newspaper in Maine said they did.

    Sorry, but as a scholar I find this kind of shoddy workmanship offensive. When you are presenting an argument, you have an obligation to present the other side’s point of view as fairly as possible. If this was a term paper I wouldn’t even give it a C.

  8. Elaine says:

    This is my all time favorite quote from Henry Hyde:

    “When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine.

    “But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, “Spare him because he loved us,” and God will look at you and say not, “Did you succeed?” but “Did you try?”

  9. Donald R. McClarey says:

    I am sure Elaine that when Mr. Hyde came before God for judgment he had a myriad of small advocates.

  10. Donald R. McClarey says:

    No Anthony, Buchanan’s piece is neither well written nor substantive. He simply loves the Confederacy and loathes Lincoln. He believes the South had a right to secede, and fails to acknowledge that this “right” had been hotly contested for more than forty years prior to the Civil War. His view of the Civil War is as wrong-headed and historically nonsensical as his view that World War ii was an unnecessary war. His article has no more substantive content than a rebel yell. He makes DiLorenzo, dishonest hack that he is, seem intellectual by comparison. Buchanan has always had a flirtation with racists and anti-semites and I think he is completely contemptible. Gateway Pundit has been doing yeoman work in exposing Buchanan: http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/06/warning-nazi-sympathizer-pat-buchanan.html

  11. Donald R. McClarey says:

    I will attempt to do a proper “fisking” of Buchanan’s article during the weekend.

  12. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Here Victor Davis Hanson, a real historian, takes apart the book of pretend historian Buchanan on World War II.

  13. Anthony says:

    Man, I’ll be glad when the Lincoln worship on this site has passed.

    Don, most historians love the state and love centralizers. Thats nearly always the philosophical lens they use in their work. They love “do-ers” who assert power and win. Lincoln was all these things, so whatever “fisking” you do isn’t really going to surprise me, or even continue to prove your case that Lincoln is some objectively awe-inspiring political man-god. If anything I was a bit surprised to see Buchanan dislike Lincoln. Buchanan’s support of protectionist economic policy (ie, bailing out the auto-industry) reeked of a sentimentality towards the state that blurred his view of reality. At least thats where my nose takes me.

    However, the racism/anti-semitism charge gets trotted out from time to time against the “old right”/libertarian-type guys. I’ve yet to see it, plus its fairly difficult to make any kind of sober criticism of such matters until someone comes right out and admits they hate so-and-so. Its like when someone advocates for “non-intervention” and suddenly they’re a “isolationist”. Again I think Buchanan’s protectionist sentiments – particularly with regard to cultural matters – drive his thinking. After all, some times you’ll find him praising minority figures, and other times criticizing them. I might disagree with his point or even his attitude, but I won’t object to his willingness to jump into sensitive areas with a critical eye.

    I can only imagine that the accusations get used to bludgeon into submission those who would dare consider the politically incorrect things like Lincoln’s “evolving” views on race and slavery, or that WWII might have been brought about by political bungling and maneuvering.

    Ah well. Its all in good fun.

  14. Matt McDonald says:


    WWII might have been brought about by political bungling and maneuvering.

    as opposed to totalitarian aggression? Perhaps the horror could have been reduced by less bungling, it would have taken earlier and more assertive intervention (like, a pre-emptive invasion) to completely avoid it. Buchanan’s position on this is based on his assumption that Hitler’s rhetoric was honest, and not simply ploys to justify his aggression. He did not just want his little Liepzig back.

  15. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “objectively awe-inspiring political man-god”

    Nice phrase Anthony. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything I have posted about Lincoln, but it is a nice phrase.

    “Don, most historians love the state and love centralizers.”

    Most academic historians today are of the political left and they do love the State. Fortunately most of them also write in a deconstructionist or postmodern gibberish that renders them unreadable by anyone who is not paid, fellow academics, or forced, poor students in their classes. Popular historians, i.e., historians who can actually get people to plunk down money to buy their books, are more ideologically mixed, and often take a more jaundiced view of the role of government in human affairs. As for Lincoln, there has been an historical battle royal waged over his actions since before the guns fell silent in the Civil War, and the battle continues to be waged down to the present day. In this battle Lincoln has been attacked from Left with almost the same ferocity that he has been attacked from the Right.

    “fisking” you do isn’t really going to surprise me,”

    Ah, it may not surprise you Anthony, but it will make you better informed. Buchanan gets the basic facts twisted and that is what my fisking will be about. That Buchanan is a Confederacy fan doesn’t particularly bother me. That he mangles the historical record to attack Lincoln does. Historical accuracy is a passion for me and I detest attempts to distort the historical record, as Buchanan does in his ham-fisted way, to serve political agendas.

    “However, the racism/anti-semitism charge gets trotted out from time to time against the “old right”/libertarian-type guys. I’ve yet to see it, plus its fairly difficult to make any kind of sober criticism of such matters until someone comes right out and admits they hate so-and-so.”

    You must not be looking very hard Anthony. You might start by reading this 1991 article by William F. Buckley and then googling Buchanan and Jews. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n24_v43/ai_11810753

    I accuse Buchanan of being an anti-semite based not upon one or two isolated statements but upon a pattern of statements and actions over the decades. He is a kook and and an embarrassment to responsible conservatives. He fits to perfection the strawman conservative liberals love to attack: anti-semitic, friendly to racists and their causes and buffoonishly ignorant. It will be a happy day for the Right when he totters off the public stage.

  16. Elaine says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Donald. I would describe myself as right of center on the political spectrum; but I cannot stand most of the current crop of conservative pundits (i.e. Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Buchanan).

    Buchanan does get it right some of the time when it comes to analyzing current events, but unfortunately, his attempts to discredit figures like Lincoln and Churchill just make him look ridiculous. I mean, c’mon — an entire book devoted to the notion that World War II was “unneccessary”?

  17. Donald R. McClarey says:

    The things you find on the internet. Here is a transcript of a debate between Harry Jaffa, probably the most eminent Lincoln scholar post World War II, and DiLorenzo on May 7, 2002.


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