Abe Lincoln and Learning from the Past


Dear fellow Americans and friends around the world: 

Consider what we face:

1. Global Pandemic, with deaths rising daily

2. Foreign military entanglements, Afghanistan, threats of Iran spiked by Israel

3. National recession worst downturn in decades

4. Supply chain shortages and break downs more and often

5. Numerous troublesome radical groups, "guns their ego clutch" 

6. Closings of thousands of small, (and large) businesses, bankruptcies 

7. Highest domestic government debt vs national gross production since WW2

8. Deep emotional political division


Yet Abraham Lincoln, faced many of the same problems.  Deep divisions, political stresses, rebuilding of the South, racial issues, a people exhausted by war.

Read what he proclaimed, it is almost poetic, in the language of his time, in 1863.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a renowned 19th-century lady’s magazine editor, who first suggested an annual national holiday, of "grateful thanks".  See this copy of her letter. 

The first page of Sarah Josepha Hale's letter to President Abraham Lincoln, imploring him that a The first page of Sarah Josepha Hale's letter to President Abraham Lincoln, imploring him that a "day of our annual Thanksgiving [be] made a National and fixed Union Festival." (The Papers of Abraham Lincoln/Library of Congress)

Abraham Lincoln received her letter during a background of the Civil War, and he embraced the idea.

600,000 to 800,000 Americans died during the Civil War.  Lincoln's nation was torn apart and facing huge financial issues.  He wanted to avoid an economic depression and social division. See these excerpts, which are full of grace for a wounded an torn nation.

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.   Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.   No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.   It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.   And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.  

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln"  


Friends, we are facing a transition from one Presidential Administration to another.  It is time to "lay down our arms", to "banish our political arguments" and to move forward.  We have many issues to address, to move our nation back to harmony and prosperity.  As those of the Abraham Lincoln's day, had to heed, it is time to lay down our weapons and put them away.  Time to focus on a bright future.  Our nation will never be the same, but we have an opportunity, for our children and grandchildren, to rebuild, repair, and make it better than ever.   I told our college age daughter, over our Thanksgiving meal: "Your generation will rebuild a brighter, better nation. I can't even image the new progress in communication, business models, office and work area evolution, new progress in supply chains, retail will be completely changed, and technology will change and improve  so that you can have conferences and meetings almost instantly, even better than the "Zooms" of today, at your fingertips.  Such an exciting time ahead for you. You are so lucky, to live in this time, because great things can emerge out of adversity."   

Let us hold hands, as the old Sunday School song went: "red and yellow, black and white", Democrats and Republicans, and let us again put our hands to the plow and to industry, and rebuild our nation.  Abraham Lincoln set a similar urge for recovery, and he set an example for all of us over 155 years ago.    

How about you and I, as diverse as we are, put our hands to the plow (As Lincoln would have said) and work and rebuild a brighter better future.  


Ben B. Boothe, Sr. Publisher, BootheGlobalPerspectives www.benboothe.com www.bootheglobalperspectives.com www.environment-perspectives.com      


PS.  Feel free to pass this on and forward to your associates.   


Credit and Thanks to: *Library of Congress *Gillian Brokell, Washington Post