Write Again…And this too is our story
Published 8:54 am Thursday, June 2, 2022
Something there is, about the word “conspiracy”, and the concept of it, that has held attraction for some, far moreso than others, through the years.
We have seen this manifested much more recently in the political realm, embraced by an alarming number of people on the far right.
Rest easy, folks, today’s endeavor isn’t going there.
Fortunately, I didn’t let an initial inclination to be wary of the word keep me from reading “The Lincoln Conspiracy- The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President – and Why It Failed”.
How grateful I am. It is one of the most interesting and exceedingly well researched books about a time in our county’s history. It’s as good as anything I’ve ever read. Hyperbole this is not.
The two authors, Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch, each possess impeccable and impressive credentials in probing into and writing about often little known facts about Americats past.
Very early they inform the reader about the virulent strain of hatred that existed among slaveowners, along with others who supported slavery, toward any who opposed it, most especially abolitionists. Their views were ” . . . driven by the forces of bigotry, grievance, hatred, and rage . . .
Those forces are that which inexorably drove our land into the cataclysm of the Civil War.
Consider this: “In 1776, when the Declaration of Independence first introduced Thomas Jefferson’s famous phrase ‘ All men are created equal’, slavery existed in each of the thirteen states whose delegates signed the Declaration. There were close to five hundred thousand enslaved people in the states at that time, comprising about 20 percent of the population.”
Now, friends, lest you think I’m going to attempt to give you an overview of the book, let me disabuse you of that notion.
You see, the plot to kill Lincoln, the in-depth planning of it, was too involved to lend itself to superficial explanation.
So too, even moreso, is that which foiled it. Complex is inadequate to describe the logistics of it all. A very important aspect of the investigation, fact- establishing effort, was due to Allan Pinkerton and his cohorts. Indispensably so.
So. Let me instead add a bit from the book that gives a strong sense of the pro-slavery, anti-abolition sentiment that existed, primarily, almost totally amongst Southern brethren, especially slave owners. Apostles of America’s (and much of the world’s through times of yore) greatest, most unforgivable sin: slavery.
“The negro . . . is physiologically and psychologically degraded . . .he is of an inferior species of the human race, wholly dependent upon the Caucasian for progress, and enlightenment, and well-being . . . servitude and subjugation being his natural state, the relation which he bears to superior mastership . . . is merciful to him and the cause of religion and civilization.”
And “This foundational belief was used to justify a system in which every institution of society — the justice system, law enforcement, politics, schools, churches and social norms — was organized to ensure that blacks had no rights, no opportunities, no protection, and no hope for improvement. Enslaved people were forbidden to learn to read or write . . .
And “As one South Carolinian puts it, acquiescing to Lincoln and the Republicans means ‘the loss of liberty, property, home, county — everything that makes life worth living.’ “
Then ” a South Carolinian Baptist clergyman tells his congregation: ‘If you are tame enough to submit (to Lincoln), Abolition preachers will be on hand to consummate the marriage of you daughters to black husbands. t“
Enough of this. Too troubling, yet merely a glimpse into the widespread, prevailing sentiments held by so many in those tumultuous times.
Yet in the backdrop of this, the main story is the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, that was, providentially, foiled.
Lincoln’s rendezvous with his own destiny was to come later, at Ford’s Theatre.
At one time the most reviled president in U.S. history, he came to be the most revered.
As a great American once said, “The long, moral arc of the universe bends toward justice.”
There is hope.