During the month of April 2015 we mark the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination – which took place on April 14, 1865. Many today may not know much about President Lincoln. In commemoration of his death, therefore, it is worthwhile and timely to review what he lived – and died – for.
* Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President, and thus the references to the GOP being the Party of Lincoln.
* He believed deeply in liberty and was an early champion of civil rights, dying as a martyr of that cause. An assassin may have killed President Lincoln, but the civil rights movement he so deeply supported – for individual liberty and equal rights for all – continued to advance and has endured for centuries. Those ideals of basic liberty, the American constitutional system and its system of republican government were much larger than one man, one president, one, Abraham Lincoln.
* He worked feverishly to abolish slavery and successfully pushed through the U.S. Congress the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution (on January 31, 1865) abolishing slavery in the United States.
* He called for voting rights for black Americans and for women, as early as 1836, way before it became politically correct or strategic to say so. He believed in, and worked for, the right of everyone to rise, to have a fair chance at his/her individual trade.
* At his famous Gettysburg Address, in November of 1863, President Lincoln spoke of the new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. He addressed the civil war, and the test of whether the nation would long endure, thanks in no small part to those Americans who gave their lives on that battle field. He closed his address honoring those, living and dead, that fought at Gettysburg and – more importantly – talked about the obligation that the rest of us have to dedicate to the great task of the “…cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
For all this, and more, Abraham Lincoln’s death was felt deeply across a young nation – changing the national mood like few Presidents have upon their passing.
The biography of his life and what took place after his death confirms that leadership matters. Who occupies the White House is of extreme importance. Lincoln lived and died for liberty, union and equal rights for all people. Most importantly, he did not just talk a good talk; he also walked that talk, and even gave his life for it.
He was a faithful believer in American greatness and exceptionalism. 150 years later, and as we near the next election in 2016, Americans must focus carefully and promote the election of principled and inspired leaders like Abraham Lincoln.
One last thing…President Lincoln read his Bible, daily…maybe influencing the profoundness of vision, principles and leadership of a great human being that will continue to transcend throughout the ages.
Puerto Rico’s Republican Party commemorates the life, leadership and ideals espoused by President Lincoln. Most particularly with regards to the basic principle of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people – and the natural consequence of that, respecting the right, under our Declaration of Independence, that every American has to consent to its government, and the obligation of that American government to seek (and allow for) the consent of the governed. For more than 100 years, Puerto Rico has not been afforded the opportunity to express that consent.
The Puerto Rico Republican Party continues working to end the oldest colony of the United States in a peaceful, democratic manner that respects those same full civil and constitutional rights that President Lincoln believed in for all Americans. Those are the same rights that should benefit all of the U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico. After all, American soldiers from Puerto Rico (though they have never been able to vote for the Commander in Chief that sends them in harms way) have nevertheless unselfishly fought and given their lives bravely for the same Constitution and the same purposes fought for at Gettysburg – so that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. We trust that, as President Lincoln said, those American soldiers (from Puerto Rico), whether living or dead, shall not have sacrificed so much in vain.
The Wall Street Journal recently published several articles on President Lincoln that served as one of various sources for this note. The links are provided below: