Lincoln, A Life of Purpose and Power

As a follow-on to the Andrew Jackson book I read last winter, I purchased a book on Abraham Lincoln a couple of weeks ago and finished it today. His early political career started around the time Jackson (the first Democrat president) was in office. The author of this biography is Richard Carwardine and I found it to be a good read.

It would be difficult to summarize a 300 page book, but I have to say that things don’t change much. His work-hard ethic coupled with Calvinist religious upbringing played a huge role in his life. And the politics, well . . . politics as usual. I used to think that things were different “back then”. Activist supreme court justices . . . you bet. The formation of the Republican party, of which he played a major role, and the development of that political machine to counter the Democrat’s political machine of the day was very intersting. I thought that newspapers were unbiased “back then”, but in fact it was commonly understood that certain papers were Republican and the others Democrats. Each side openly acknowledged this, unlike today, and used them to their advantage. Promising of appointments to federal offices was also acknowledged. The Democrat political machine was against the Civil War as well as against the abolition of slavery. In fact, they used scare tactics during the 1864 election telling the hordes of Irish immigrants and other laborers in the North that if Lincoln remained in office, the freed blacks would take all of their jobs away. And, they constantly hammered him for being the wrong guy for the job and that he was callous, cowardly and incompetent and that they were fighting for no reason and they complained that Lincoln wouldn’t talk peace and they wanted to give up on the war and let slavery go on even though the North was winning the war by then. But, Lincoln and the Republicans wanted  unconditional surrender and an end to slavery and used every strategy, like getting newspaper editors not to publish this or that in exchange for this promise or that. Sound familiar? Lincoln beat McClellan with 56% of the popular vote. I thought it was more overwhelming than that.

I couldn’t help but relate that political climate to these moden times. Quite fascinating. If you can find the time, give it a read. For me, it is like reading a good novel where I have trouble putting it down and going to bed. I guess war can and does  solve things . . . in this case, freedom for all and it kept the Union together. If he had been voted out in 1864 we would have ceratinly been at least two countries. 

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Yikes!!, October 26 Blizzard

I’m sitting here at home today listening to “Hummingbird” on Alison Brown’s Fair Weather CD and it is quite the little catchy song. I’ve been reading a book about Abe Lincoln in the evenings and around 11PM last night it started raining. At 1AM it still wasn’t snowing. By 8AM this morning more than 14 inches of snow had fallen. WOW! Compare the included photo against the one from a week or so ago.

Alison Brown CD

I bought a new music CD by Alison Brown. She is a bluegrass banjo player and was on the album New Grange. The album I bought is titled “fair weather”, released in 2000. I just finished listening to it, and it is quite enjoyable. Some good banjo, mando and guitar work there. 

One week later . . .

Well, one week after I posted a couple of photos from around town showing the first snow storm, here we are again. This time we received a bit more . . . probably 6 inches total. It was quite windy and snowing when I left work early to attend one of Joshua’s final varsity soccer games. Unfortunately, when I got to the field I found out it was cancelled. Hopefully, they’ll play it on a day when I can attend. So, I went back to work. One comment about the photo on the deck out back. I took two pictures with the Canon A620, one with “night scene” and one for “Snow”. This one with the snow setting came out better and brighter. Ain’t technology amazing?

Tomorrow is my  birthday which means that Thursday is my 20th wedding anniversary! I sent calle lilies to Lisa yesterday (her wedding flowers), and presented her with a box of chocolates this morning, and tomorrow will be roses and then on Thursday . . . well I’ve got an idea, but we’ll see. Thinking jewelry. 

7th Grade Concert

Tonight was Paul’s fall 7th grade concert. It was pretty good as usual. In case I’ve never mentioned it before he plays French Horn. The nearly 200 kids in the 7th grade band play 2 songs with the period 1 band band and then 2 songs with the period 2 band and then one with the combined band. They play in state band competitions and always come home with #1 ratings. The instructors are quite talented at motivating the kids, I guess, because I’m always impressed at how good they sound. Half of the total student body in 7th grade (and 6th for that matter) are in the band.

View from Vitesse

Sometimes the weather can be quite different accross town. Vitesse is probably 9 miles as the crow flies from my house and I”ve had 10 inches of snow at home and there won’t be anything at work. Today was a little different as there was snow at home and at work, but in between it was bare.