Monday, June 16, 2008

"A House Divided . . ."

As a number of bloggers have noted, today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's "House Divided" speech, given in the "old" Illinois State House, which now serves as Lincoln's Presidential Library. This video will give you a flavor of how it went down:

The camera movement is a little stiff, but what do you expect for 1858?

Anyway, what inspired me to write about this speech was on opinion piece placed in today's local newspaper, the Toledo Blade. In an otherwise fine article about the signifcance of the speech, author Nick J. Sciullo hauls off and accuses Lincoln of being an abolitionist Um, not really. Lincoln was anti-slavery, but never made the leap to abolitionism until it became a war-time expedient. Historian George Frederickson, in one of his last publications, seriously considered Linclon's ever evolving position on race, and argues that, while Lincoln never publicly argued for the equality of the white and black race, he was Big Enough to be Inconsistent

Events this month also illustrate the complex drama of race as it has played out in this country, since in less than two weeks we will also observe the 30th anniversary of the University of California Regents v. Bakke, which established in law the concept of reverse discrimination.

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