Friday, August 22, 2008

Excerpts from book on Civil War

Maybe the House and the Senate would get more done if they did things the old fashioned way. An excerpt from the book, The Civil War, A Narrative, Fort Sumter to Perryville, by Shelby Foote - (a mere 810 pages):

p. 15
(speaking of Jefferson Davis) "Returned to the Senate in 1857, he continued to work along these lines, once more a southern champion, not as a secessionist, but as a believer that the destiny of the nation pointed south. It was a stormy time, and much of the bitterness between the sections came to a head on the floor of the Senate, where northern invective and southern arrogance necessarily met...Here, too, the anti-slavery Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner had his head broken by Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina, who, taking exception to remarks Sumner had made on the floor of the Senate regarding a kinsman, caned him as he sat at his desk. Brooks explained that he attacked him sitting because, Sumner being the larger man, he would have had to shoot him if he had risen, and he did not want to kill him, only maim him. Sumner lay bleeding in the aisle among the gutta-percha fragments of the cane, and his enemies stood by and watched him bleed..."

Another quote. This is about Abraham Lincoln. (It reminds me a bit of special interest groups, or very loud groups like the Christian Coalition, or any kind of extremist group in 2008.)

p. 68
"In early May he had said to his young secretary, 'For my part I consider the central idea pervading this struggle is the necessity that is upon us of proving that popular government is not an absurdity. We must settle this question now, whether in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose. If we fail it will go far to prove the incapacity of the people to govern themselves.' Two months later, addressing Congress, he developed this theme, just as he was to continue to develop it through the coming months and years, walking the White House corridors at night, speaking from balconies and rear platforms to upturned faces, or looking out over new cemeteries created by this war: 'The issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man the question whether...a government of the people, by the same people, can or cannot maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes.'"

Something to think about...

carry on

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