150 Years Ago Today: Lincoln Elected

Considering a past post in which I considered whether or not the Civil War is still going on, I was reminded by the recent Congressional elections and the article below that our country is still split in many ways, particularly manifested through the culture wars.

However, as the Civil War taught us, bloodshed is not the answer, and unity and peace are attainable goals.

Thinking of Lincoln on this day…

Park Service kicks off Civil War salute

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the wounds of a hard­fought political campaign still raw, the country was sharply divided by the time the election was finished.

It was 150 years ago to­day: President Abraham Lincoln was elected amid the rising tensions that led to the Civil War.

The anniversary of Lin­coln’s election kicks off nearly five years of events by the National Park Service and others across the nation marking the Sesquicenten­nial of the war between North and South.

“We’re trying to say it’s more than battles,” Park Service tourism chief Dean Reeder said of the Civil War commemorations. Lincoln’s election helps frame the context of what would come, he said.

Coming on the heels of this year’s polarizing elec­tions, the anniversary echoes the nation’s fractious mood back then.

“I think a lot of people will notice it was a contentious election in 2010, and it was a way contentious election in 1860,” Reeder said.

A century and a half ago, in a nation already torn by disputes over states’ rights and the expansion of slav­ery, the Democratic Party split into Southern and Northern factions. Lincoln, a Republican, won without taking a single Southern state. Within a month, Southern states began de­claring secession.

Reenactments of the 1860 election will take place to­day in Kentucky and at the Lincoln Home National His­toric Site in Springfield, Ill.

In the months ahead, the Park Service will recreate Lincoln’s journey from Illi­nois to the nation’s capital and his inauguration in March 1861. Lincoln’s route to Washington led through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

“By the time he gets to Maryland, he’s in enemy territory,” Reeder said. “A nd he’s the president of the United States.”

Plans are well under way for many events next year: the recreation of Lincoln’s inaugural in March, the war’s first bloodshed in Bal­timore when a Massachu­setts regiment was at­tacked, the first battle at Fort Sumter in South Car­olina and the first major land battle at Manassas in July 1861.

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