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tv   Abraham Lincoln and Immigration  CSPAN  July 28, 2016 2:02pm-3:03pm EDT

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to obtain such a license, applicants are required to take several years of course work, to serve a one year apprenticeship, embalm 25 bodies and take two online exams. the court ruled, "while baseball may be the national pastime of the citizenry, dishing out special economic benefits to certain in-state industries remembers the favorite pastime of state and local governments." the court did not say but it might as well have said, majority rule requires that courts only reluctantly and rarely engage in the judicial
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supervision of democracy because majority rule is the essence of the american project. there are, however, two things wrong with this formulation. first, it is utterly unrealistic and simple minded to think that there is a majority support for or majority interest in or even majority awareness of even a tiny fraction of what modern governments do in dishing out advantages to economic factions. does anyone really think that when the nashville city government dispenses favors for the taxi and limo cartels, it is acting on a will of the majority of the city's residents? can anyone actually believe that a majority of louisianans give a tinkers dam about who sells caskets or arranges flowers?
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we know because he said so clearly and often that lincoln took his political bearings from the declaration of independence. which brings me back again to 1854 to the kansas/nebraska act and to lincoln's noble recoil from the idea of popular sovereignty in the territories regarding slavery. that recoil propelled lincoln from semiretirement from politics and into a debate that still reverberates. lincoln's recoil against the idea of untrammeled majorities produced the most luminous public life in our history and i believe world history. for many years and for several years, many of my fellow conservatives have unreflectively and imprudently celebrated judicial restraint. for many years, i, too, was
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guilty of this. the reasons for this include an understandable disapproval of some of the more free reeling unconstitutional rulings of the court and law schools that train future judges and law reviews that influence current judges are on balance and not balanced. they give short shrift to conservatism. it is high time for conservatives to rethink what they should believe about the role of courts in the american regime. another reason many conservatisms favor restraint is what is called the conservative populist temptation. conservatives are hardly immune to the temptation to pander and preach that the things legislators do are right because
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they reflect the will of the virtuous majority. however, the essential drama of democracy derives from the inherent tension between the natural rights of the individual and the constructed right of the community to make such laws as the majority deems necessary and proper. natural rights are affirmed by the declaration of independence. majority rule is constructed by the constitution. timothy sanderford in his book rightly emphasizes that the declaration is not just chronologically prior to the constitution, it's logically prior. because it sets the framework for reading the constitution, it
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is the constitution's conscience. by the terms by which the declaration articulates the constitution's purpose, the purpose is to secure unalienable and natural rights. the declaration intimates standards by which to distinguish the proper from improper exercises of majority rule. freedom, writes sanderford, is the starting point of politics. liberty is the goal at which democracy aims. not the other way around. the progressive project, now entering its second century, has
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been to reverse this by giving majority rule priority over liberty when the two conflict as they inevitably and frequently do. this reflects progressive belief that rights are the result of government and that they are spaces of privacy that government has chosen to carve out and protect. if the sole or overriding goal of the constitution can be reduced to establishing democracy, and if the distilled essence -- in whatever sphere of life where majorities wish to rule, then the court is indeed a deviant institution. but such a reductionist understanding of american constitutionalism is passing strange. it is excessive to say as often has been said that the constitution is undemocratic or anti-democratic or anti-majoritarian. it is not, however, too much to say that the constitution regards majority rule as but one component in a system of
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liberty. the principle of judicial restraint distilled to its essence frequently as principle that an act of government should be presumed constitutional and that the party disputing the act's constitution bears the heavy burden of demonstrating the act's unconstitutionality beyond a reasonable doubt. the contrary principle that i will call judicial engagement is that the judiciary's principle duty is the defense of liberty and that the government, when challenged, bears the burden of demonstrating that its action is in conformity with the constitution's architecture, the purpose of which is to protect liberty. the federal government can dispatch this burden by demonstrating that its action is both necessary and proper for the exercise of an enumerated power.
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a state or local government can dispatch the burden by demonstrating that its act is within the constitutionally prescribed limits of its police power. judge don willett of the texas supreme court has addressed and largely dissolved the supposed countermajoritarian difficulty. there are, he says, two different but not equal majorities involved. he begins as judicial review began in 1803 with marbury v. madison in which justice marshall wrote, "the powers of the legislature are defined and limited and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten the constitution is written." in distinguishing between proper
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judicial deference to legislative majorities and dereliction of the judicial duty to police majoritarian excesses, willett says, "in our democracy the legislature's policy making power though unrivaled is not unlimited. the constitution is supreme and desirable is not a synonym for constitutional." although the political branches decide if laws pass, it is for courts to decide that laws pass muster. so if judicial review means anything, it is that judicial restraint does not allow everything. to avoid a constitutional tipping point where adjudication more resembles abdication, courts must not extinguish constitutional liberties with nonchalance. this requires fidelity to the supermajority against with other majorities must be measured. the supermajority of those who wrote and ratified the constitution, there must,
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justice willett writes in a texas case, "remain judicially enforceable constraints of legislative actions that are irreconcilable with constitutional commands." why must? because, says willett, the texas constitution like the u.s. constitution is irrefutably framed in prescription. it declares an emphatic no to myriad government undertakings even if majorities desire them. judicial review means preventing any contemporary majority from overturning yesterday's supermajority that wrote and ratified the constitution. federal judges are accountable to no current constituency but when construing the constitution, today's judges are
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duty bound to be faithful to the constituency of those that framed and ratified it. this, says willett, is the profound difference between an improperly activist judge and a properly engaged judge. the former creates writes that are neither specified in nor implied by the constitution. the latter defends rights the framers actually placed there and prevents the elected branches from usurping the judiciary's duty to declare what the constitution means and implies. it is not true that as dr. stockman declares in henry gibson's play, "the enemy of the people" the majority is always wrong. it is true, that the majority often is wrong and that the majority even when wrong, often has a right to work its will anyway.
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often but not always. the challenge is to determine the borders of the majority's right to have its way and to have those borders policed by a nonmajoritarian institution, the judiciary. so to the question about how lincoln has influenced my life, my answer is this. by his noble rejection of the kansas/nebraska act and the idea of popular sovereignty as the way to decide the question of slavery in the territories, lincoln concentrated my mind on two timeless truths. one, is that majority rule is inevitable but not inevitably reasonable. the other is that moral reasoning properly done and the constitution properly construed both affirm that many things should be beyond the reach of majorities.
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thank you very much. [ applause ] >> terrific. very deep and thoughtful. [ applause ] >> that was terrific. it was provocative. thoughtful. and i have a lot of questions myself. i'm not going to ask them.
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i'm going to open the floor to you all to do that. before i do, i want to give mr. will just a token of our appreciation. a reminder that he's always welcome to come back home and see us any time. >> thank you. >> one more hand for him. >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> that concludes mr. will's formal presentation. in a moment we'll open the mike to a few questions. we don't have a ton of time. we have ten minutes or so for people to ask him appropriate questions and he's been gracious enough to answer a few. if you want to ask one, please come up to the mike here on my right side. >> could they bring up the house lights so we can see. >> is there a way that we can bring up the house lights? >> let there be light. >> i answered every question. >> let me throw one out then for him. >> here comes lady. >> better still. >> i collect famous legal footnotes and you made reference to one and i lost track of where it came from.
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>> footnote 4. where the supreme court -- i should be here. where the supreme court without justification and text history or logic of the constitution decided that it would now have a hierarchy of rights. there would be some that were declared fundamental and others declared inferior. that the court would make that distinction and then invariably has it turns out economic liberty, the liberty for which we fought the civil war, would be an inferior and not a fundamental right. >> good evening, mr. will. my name is paul. i'm a second-year student at college of law and long admired your work. my question to you is about the passing of justice scalia and particularly i found provocative your talk of the movement
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especially in american conservative legal minds for judicial restraint and deference to popular majority legislature. as conservatives move away from this being that it is a progressive thought, who especially in the light of passing of justice scalia embodies a jurist thought? >> that's a good question. i'm wearing my federalist society necktie tonight founded in 1982. i assume there's a chapter at the university of illinois. scalia was a very important mentor of this. justice scalia and i -- i knew
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him before he was on the supreme court. known him a long time. we had a robust disagreement that when presidents overstepped their bounds, it's not the judiciary's duty to jerk the leash of the executive branch. his answer was impeach the president. i told him i thought that was awkward. and unrealistic. anyway, closest on the supreme court in my view to these things is clarence thomas who has a healthy disregard or at least refusal to genuflect. if it's wrong, get rid of it he would relitigate the slaughterhouse cases. my son is second-year lawsuit at the university of virginia and i told him his life's work is to get rid of rationale basis test and relitigate the slaughterhouse cases.
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justice willett of the texas supreme court, clint bolick appointed a few weeks ago from the goldwater institute to the arizona supreme court, they all understand this. we're gaining on the rascals. >> do you want to make your way to the mike? >> i can just speak loudly. [ inaudible question ] [ applause ] >> i can tell you the latter in about two hours. i can understand why numerous people in our society are sad, angry, uncertain. for white males without college educations, they haven't had a raise for 40 years.
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economic stagnation, a sense that life is passing them by, a sense that the system is indeed rigged as in my judgment gig government is always rigged in favor of the strong, the articulate and the well lawyered. i understand this. what i do not understand is this man as a vessel for those anxieties. he's an anti-constitutional authoritarian. he's in every instinct prepared to double down on what i consider the most disagreeable feature of the obama years which is his executive overreach. and as i said in a recent column, the breath and depth of his ignorance is the eighth wonder of the world. to take one example, his sister is a federal judge.
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in defending her, not that anyone attacked her, but in defending her in the houston debate last thursday, trump said why she's so conservative, she signed a bill that justice alito of the supreme court also signed. this man who proposes to head the executive branch of our government believes that judges and justices sign bills. he's the first who would flunk an eighth grade civics exam. it's astonishing. it's going to be a long time putting him back in his cage. >> time for one more? >> one more. >> yes, sir. >> mr. will, i'm a first-year law student. my question since this is about lincoln, do you have a favorite quote of lincoln's that you
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could share with us tonight? >> favorite quote of lincoln's? well, so many lincoln stories, i'm not quite sure of their providence but lincoln said, "if i call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? five? no, four, because calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg." words to live by. thank you. [ applause ] thank you all so much for being here. i wish you all a good night.
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c-span3's american history tv is in prime time during the democratic convention. tonight's programs are about abraham lincoln. starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at his action with immigrants as a lawyer and later as president and bob woodward reflects on abraham lincoln's legacy and how it affects his successors including richard nixon, ronald reagan and barack obama. and later, columnist george will reflects on president lincoln's view of judicial review and the constitution. all of this coming up tonight on american history tv on c-span3. tonight, hillary clinton becomes the first woman to accept a major political party's nomination for president of the united states. and with c-span, you have many convenient options for watching the entire speech without any interruptions.
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watch her historic acceptance speech live on c-span. listen to it on the c-span radio app. watch it live or on demand on your desktop, tablet or smartphone. hillary clinton's historic speech tonight on c-span, c-span radio app and up next on american history tv, historian jason h. silverman talks about his book "lincoln and the immigrant" describing lincoln's interaction with immigrants. he concludes these encounters boosted america's economy. the event is about an hour. >> and now for our speaker this evening. jason h. silverman is the professor of history at winthrop university.
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prior to that he taught at yale university for four years. author or editor of 11 books, several of which nominated for national book awards, his recent work "lincoln and the immigrant" is a volume in the series published by southern illinois university press and was released in september. of the 16,500 and counting volumes published on abraham lincoln, this is the first full length study of its kind. dr. silverman received his undergraduate degree at the university of virginia and his graduate degree at colorado state and the university of kentucky. he has received many distinguished teaching awards. currently working on a companion volume detailing president lincoln's reputation in 19th century europe. he also served two elected terms
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on his local school board. so let's welcome professor jason silverman. [ applause ] >> thank you so much. that last part about the eight years on the rockhill school board, forget about all my education. that's when i learned the real meaning of civil war. i have a been interested in abraham lincoln since the fourth grade. we had a parents' night which we were going to do silent vignettes. a signing of the declaration of independence, all sorts of things.
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one of the silent vignettes was lincoln/douglas debates and my fourth grade teacher told me you can't be abraham lincoln, you're not tall enough. to add insult to injury, she said, you have to be steven douglas. so i swore by all that was sacred that i was going to study abraham lincoln for the rest of my life and try to make a contribution. now, i grew up right across the river in alexandria, virginia. i'm a product of the virginia public schools and i can tell you that very little about abraham lincoln was said flatteringly in the state of virginia as i was growing up.
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but those comments were glowing compared to what i encountered when i first came to south carolina in 1984. so one of my proudest accomplishments is the fact that for 32 years now, i just finished my 32nd year, i've been teaching courses to packed classrooms on abraham lincoln in the state of south carolina, which i don't think is a small accomplishment whatsoever. [ applause ] so i'm going to tell you what i tell my students before each class. come back with me in history. fasten your seatbelts. we're going to take a magic carpet ride tonight through the study of abraham lincoln and his relationship with immigrants. may 4th, 1865, oakridge
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cemetery, springfield, illinois. the weather is warm and the sun is peeking through the clouds. the day is peaceful and a slight wind blows from the west. everybody in springfield is on the streets, silent and mournful. their sorrow is all encompassing and they don't know where to go or what to do. the landscape is beautiful and has been especially cared for on this occasion. the clergyman is a tall, distinguish looking academic sort that spoke with a softness that belied his younger more evangelical days. bishop matthew simpson was delivering the funeral sermon. he quoted the deceased in words of deep conviction. words that spoke of a great work to be done. they conjured up the spector of
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an evil in the land. broken by it, i may be, bow to it, i never will. the probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause which we believe to be just. it shall not deter me. if ever i feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions, not unholy worthy of its almighty architect, it's when i contemplate the cause of my country. deserted by all of the world besides and i standing up boldly and alone hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors. the declaration was that of a young abraham lincoln on the day after christmas, 1839.
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the bishop interpreted his text in a way and with an authority that seemed holy natural to the mourning nation. here was the testament of the beloved martyr dedicating himself in his youth to the great slave power. fighting it with all of his energy. bishop simpson quoted lincoln accurately. he had unearthed a long lost speech that would soon be lost again. but he did make one error, however. lincoln's speech had nothing to do with slavery. its subject was banking, industry, and immigrant labor. the log cabin labor and industry, the combination should not surprise us. in more than three decades of
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public life, lincoln probably talked more about economics and labor to use the terms broadly, than any other issues, slavery included. the bulk of his discussions with an economic focus preceded his period of fame and for a while went unrecorded. but the main lines of his thinking survived as do frequently the details. immigration, abraham lincoln, absolutely. lincoln lived in an era when immigration was as much a controversy as it is today. between 1840 and 1860, 4.5 million newcomers arrived. most of them from ireland, the german states and scandinavian countries. many crossed back and forth across the border with mexico, newly drawn in 1848.
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but from an early age, lincoln developed an awareness and tolerance for different people and different cultures. while no doubt a product of his time, lincoln nevertheless refused to allow his environment to blind him to the strengths of diversity and throughout his legal and political career, he retained an infinity for immigration, especially the irish, the germans, the jews and the scandinavians. the indians and their plight was never far from lincoln's thoughts and his plans. his travel down the mississippi river to the port of new orleans exposed lincoln to the sights, the sounds and tastes. more importantly, it established a foundation and sympathy for
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the rest of his life when it came to the foreign born as well as to the enslaved. it must have been an odd sight to see that tall, lanky, boy sailing down the mississippi river in 1829 with his companions looking wide eyed and in awe of everything that he saw. just 22 years old and finally freed of the obligations to his father and his farm, lincoln set off from illinois on a flat boat journey with his stepbrother, cousin and employer. sailing on what must have been an amusing sight, a log cabin on a raft with barrels and logs and hogs. lincoln, john johnston, john hanks, and dennis set off on an adventure of a lifetime. for the first time in his young life, abraham lincoln was traveling afar and while he
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could not know it, what he would see would shape his thoughts for the remainder of his life. during this trip, lincoln would first come in contact with foreigners in the exotic city of new orleans. and although he probably couldn't and didn't distinguish swedes from dutchman from italians from spaniards, norwegians, russians, he encountered them all. he realized for the first time in his young life that immigrants from many lands formed a significant part of the american population. lincoln's two flat boat voyages to new orleans were exceptionally important in his
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development. they formed the longest journeys of his life. his first experiences in a major city. his only visits to the deep south. his sole exposure to the region's brand of slavery and slave trading. his only time in the subtropics and the closest he ever came to immersing himself in a foreign culture. lincoln never wrote or spoke very much of his trips. but you know what? anybody that studies lincoln gets frustrated because this is a man who was as secretive as they come, who kept no journal, no kept no diary and for those of us who study abraham lincoln, you think you know him and he slips right out of your hands and you don't anything about him. you have to start all over again. others wrote about his trips though. his cousin, john hanks, joined lincoln on his second trip departing illinois in 1831.
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lincoln's eventual law partner and biographer, william herndon, recorded that hanks had said in may we landed in new orleans. i can say knowingly that it was on this trip that he formed his opinions. it ran its iron in his then and there. may, 1831. i've heard him say that often and often. lincoln's two flat boat journeys exposed him for weeks on end to the vastness of the american landscape. no subsequent travels in lincoln's life would ever match the length of these journeys. and they also immersed him in the subject of the relationship between transportation and the economic development in the west. lincoln understood and preached that a better form of transportation would improve the economic life of the state of
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illinois. it would raise living standards for all and it would enhance property values. but his river journeys also showed him that by controlling unsettled domains in the state of illinois, you could accelerate immigration. he resided in a sparsely populated region so it was understandable for abraham lincoln that wealth and population were practically synonymous to him. immigrants would bring economic growth and all that it implied. seeing america firsthand from a flat boat at a young age transfixed on abraham lincoln the core of his wig party beliefs. free labor, transportation modernization, internal
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improvements, and most assuredly, the need to attract immigrants. lincoln's trip to new orleans also represented his first and only journey deep into the slave south and into places where enslaved african-americans not only abounded but predominated overwhelmingly. new orleans ranked as the largest city the young lincoln ever had ever seen and it would remain so until he stepped on the national stage as a young congressman in 1848. more importantly, it represented the most ethnically diverse and culturally foreign city in the united states. while lincoln would take a day trip to niagara falls, canada, in 1857, new orleans really
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would represent the closest abraham lincoln ever came to entering another country. i've been to niagara falls. that is a stretch to say that you're going into another country. i've been to new orleans. it isn't a stretch to say that. and while lincoln occasionally encountered french or spanish speaking immigrants or catholics or catholicism in his early years in indiana or illinois or on the ohio river, lincoln's trip to new orleans engulfed him in a different culture's ethnicity, ancestry, religion, language, race, cuisine, architecture and just shear urban size. it gave him the perspective that no other place in his life would provide. into the midst of this complex and contentious social, economic and political landscape walked a young abraham lincoln in 1828
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and again in 1831. there was ethnic tension everywhere that lincoln went in new orleans. it was in the streets. it was in conversations. it was in the local press. newspapers, local newspapers, were filled with prejudice and scorn for one group or another. editors promised to their readers that their principles would be purely american. whatever that meant. an obvious portent to the american or no nothing party that would rise in the 1850s to exploit american xenophobia. lincoln would have seen firsthand that some immigrants in the city were discriminated against by a large element of other people. lincoln was present when the creoles suffered at the hands of americans who would become
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members of the know nothing party and when alliances were established and creoles became an object of scorn. their presence, experience and treatment had an enormous effect upon abraham lincoln. the impression of discrimination and prejudice against a group because of who they are, what they look like or how they sound would last abraham lincoln a lifetime. in new orleans, lincoln saw the nation's largest concentration of free peoples of color and best educated people of african ancestry anywhere. lincoln understood this and was enthralled by the cultures he first witnessed in the population of new orleans.
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later in his life he would remember what he saw as a youth, and he would forcefully oppose the nativist movement of the 1850s and know nothing party which i mentioned a few moments ago. in fact, there was a part of new orleans that even followed lincoln back to springfield. william billy, a free black found new orleans to be hostage place to free people of color in the 1820s. fearing kidnapping and enslavement, he fled new orleans for st. louis and then he found his way up to the illinois river in 1831. while approaching the village of salem, a county history records, he overtook a man wearing a red flannel shirt.
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a tall man was he and carrying an ax on his shoulder. they fell into conversation, and they walked to a little grocery store together. the tall man was abraham lincoln who soon learned that the stranger was a barber and he was out of money. mr. lincoln took him to his boarding house and told the people that this man needed help. and his business needed support. and that opened the way for an evening's work among the boarders as they allowed william to cut their hair. lincoln was taken with him. he convinced him to stay and settle in illinois. he stayed and he married and raised a family and prospered as a barber to hundreds of
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springfield's men and children including lincoln who knew him endearingly as billy the barber. it was he who groomed lincoln through his attorney days through the ups and downs of his forays into politics and before he made that fateful and final departure from springfield to become president of the united states. over the years, lincoln enjoyed many conversations at fleurville's barber shop on east adam street about new orleans, about immigrants, about slavery, life on the mississippi river. fleurville was bilingual, catholic, french, african, haitian, american. he became lincoln's friend. their conversations were many times of substance and certainly the foundations of a genuine friendship because late in 1863, fleurville wrote lincoln a warm letter of gratitude for the emancipation proclamation that
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had gone into effect the year before. i thought it might not be improper for one so humble in life and occupation to address the president of the united states, wrote fleurville, yet i do so feeling that if it is received by you, it will be received with pleasure as a communication from your dear friend, billy the barber. in all likelihood, lincoln first learned of the situation in haiti -- heck, he probably first learned about haiti through billy the barber and the conditions that fleurville had told him when the men first met in 1831. coincidentally, maybe? ironically, maybe? three decades later, president abraham lincoln established diplomatic relations with the independence caribbean nation of haiti. thanks to billy the barber.
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ironically, it was through lincoln's connection with the port of new orleans and the efforts of several immigrants that the great emancipator freed one of the first people of color. john shelby. a freed black and one of the fellow african-american barbers in springfield while traveling in new orleans in 1856 found the same hostility that fleurville had found. not having the proper papers, shelby was arrested and imprisoned. somehow shelby made contact with a springfield raised new orleans now attorney by the name of benjamin jonas. and shelby suggested to jonas that he contact a prominent lawyer back home in illinois whose influence might help him get released. jonas, the lawyer, recognized the name abraham lincoln because
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lincoln was a friend of jonas' father. a man by the name of abraham jonas, who was one of the first jewish settlers in and around springfield, illinois. word spread upriver to shelby's mother and then to lincoln. mr. lincoln was very much moved, wrote one of lincoln's early biographers, and requested that mr. herndon go to the state house and inquire if there was not something that would be done to obtain the possession of the negro. mr. herndon made the inquiry and returned with the report that the governor regretted to say he had no legal or constitutional right to do anything in new orleans and in the state of louisiana. at which point mr. lincoln rose to his feet in great excitement and exclaimed, "by the almighty i'll have that negro back soon or i'll have 20 years agitation in illinois until the governor does have a legal and
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constitutional right to do something in the premises." wouldn't it be nice if politicians spoke like that today? lincoln knew he didn't have any legal legs to stand on, and he knew that new orleans and the state of louisiana had the law on their side, so what lincoln and herndon did is they drafted $60.30 out of the metropolitan bank of new york, and on may 27th, 1857, sent the funds from their springfield law office to benjamin jonas' office in new orleans. jonas paid the fine, and by early june, shelby's release occurred and he made his way safely back to springfield. john shelby thus became among the first african-americans ever freed by abraham lincoln.
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lincoln's affect for the jonas family determined he would take action as much for them as for jonas -- as for shelby himself. lincoln regarded ache ra ham jonas and i quote lincoln -- one of moss most valuable and trusted friends, end quote. their friendship dated back to the 1830s. lincoln nerk forgot nor did he minimize the role in his personality development that his experiences in the port of new orleans and those as a flatboat operator played. many times when he was on the campaign trail, lincoln would portray his flatboat voyages as an affirms deuce-paying experience, assuring anybody who would listen is that he was a man of the people because he was of the people.
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it would astonish, if not amuse the older citizens in the county, who 12 years ago knew me as a strange, friendless, uneducated penniless boy working on a flatboat at $10 per month to learn that i had been put down here as a candidate of pride, wealth and a ris crattic family distinction. i can assure you, i am not an aristocrat, unquote. 20 years later, lincoln returned to the same theme. free society is such that a poor man knows he could better his condition. he knows there's no fixed condition of his labor for his whole life. i am not ashamed to confess that 25 years ago i was a hired laborer, mauling railings at work on a flatboat. just what might happen to any poor man's son, unquote. on a personal and little-known
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episode in lincoln's life, he became friends with the reverend lars paul emsborn who was a profess or at illinois university, a lutheran school in springfield. lincoln's oldest son robert attended some of his classes. lincoln frequently called on the professor to discuss some of his son's studies. this sometimes reminds me all too frequently of the classes i had. is he kneed to be motivated as a student. i can relate to that. linking served on the board of directors of the scoot. esborn had experience as a member of the city council. he was an outspoken opponent of strong drink and slavery, and lincoln tonight a liking to him
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since they shared similar political beliefs. esborn became a loyal and consistent supporter of linking both in the press and on the stump. his sons enlisted in the union army with one of them being the first swedish soldier to fall in ballots during the american civil war. but before we start patting lincoln on the back, we need to realize like so many in the mid 19th century, lincoln's philosophy about immigrants was far more complicated than merely that which pertained to a labor economy -- free labor economy. abraham lincoln was a product of his times and of his environment. despite whatever economic advantages images mike represent, many men of his era saw immigrant groups mon on lithically, whether irish,
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german, or swedish, they saul the immigrants as all the same and painted them with a very, very broad brush. to his credit, lincoln tended to perceive each individual and each group as distinctive in its own right, because he saw the diversity, the value in diversity of these groups, he did not assign them as foreigners or savages. his relationship with different individua individuals ethnicity, and different groups, like most westerners, he had a low opinion of latin-american civilization, and his references to hispanics were never very flattering. in his debate with steven douglas at galesburg, illinois, lincoln astade the concept that
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stephen it douglas believed in. he asked a hypothetical question, as to whether douglas would apply the doctrine of pop are lay sovereignty, like where theible habitants were non-white. when we shall get mexico, i don't know whether judge douglas will be in favor of the mexican people, because we know that the judge has a great horror for mongrels, and i understand that the people of mexico are most decidedly a race of mongrels, unquote. livenen continued by explaining, i understand there's not more than one person there out of eight who is pure white. i suppose from the judge's declaration that when we get
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mexico or any considerable portion of it, that he will be in favor of mess mongrels settles the question? that would bring him somewhat in collision with his horror of an inferior race, unquote. even if you make allowance for the fact that some of these comments occurred by abraham linking in a hotly contested debate in which there was a great deal of race baiting, lincoln still used derogatory comments about hispanic when apparently there wasn't any motive. in describing cubans, lincoln pulled no punches. the butchery was, as it seemed to me, lincoln said in 1852, most unnecessary and inhuman. they were fighting against one of the worst governments in the world, the spanish. but the fault was that the real people of cuba had not asked for their assistance, we are neither desirous of it, nor fit for it,
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or civil liberty, unquote. later, in another speeches, extolling the brilliance of young america, and comparing it with old fogey countries -- i got to tell you, the older i get, the less i like that phrase, old fogey. you know that? abe's going to have to work on that. that's all there is to it. he's going to have to work on that. lincoln concluded -- but for the difference in the habit of observation, why did yankees almost instantly discover gold in california, which would been trodden upon and overlooked by indians and mexican greezers for centuries, unquote. yes, it was in this same speech that abraham lincoln made one of his fuse remarks about people of asia. the non-white group with whom he
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had the lease acquaintance and least opportunity to think about. for one who had never been to asia or arguably for that matter, as i her mentioned, outside the united states, lincoln prejudicially claimed that intellectual curiosity and scientific progress was the exclusive domain of the western world. he recognized that asia was the birthplace of, quote, the human family, and he concluded that asians like african-americans were instead human beings. but he believed that asia was an ancient, crumbling civilization whose time had long passed. the human family originated as is thought, somewhere in asia, lincoln said, and have worked their way principally westward. just now in civilization, and in the arts, the people of asia are entirely behind those of europe. those of the east of europe behind those of the west of it,
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while we here in america think we discover and invent and improve faster than any of them, unquote. i think maybe when he said that lincoln recognized he was on a bit of thin ice, because he said -- they may think thinks arrogance, but they cannot deny that russia has called on us to show her how to build steamboats and railroading, while in other parts of asia, they scarcely know that such things as team does that boats and railroads exist. in anciently inhabited countries, the dust of ages, a real downright old fogey-ism. there he is uses that damn word again -- seems to settle upon and smother the intellectual energies of man. while neither respecting nor appreciating the culture of asia or latin america, lincoln like
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many 19th century nationalists up and downered to his audience by emphasizing the attributes and virtues of the united states. at the expense of degrading other people, it was lincoln's intention to convince his fellow countrymen that their nation would be next on the great stage of history. it was a successful strategy to flatter voters into thinking about the ascent into national prominence, but lincoln did put his money where her mouth was, and just recently it was discovered that during his one term as a member of the house of representatives, he, like many other americans contributed $10 -- which is roughly $500 in today's money to the irish relief fund during the great famine. maybe this was because linking airs first teacher in harlan
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county, kentucky, had been of irish descent. master zachariah rhiny was described as man of excellent character, deep piety and fair education. he had been reared a catholic, but made no attempt to pros le adverti pros lettize, and -- whether he left a lasting impression on linking or not, lincoln was always interested in eye rick culture. he knew and recited robert emmitt's speech from the dock by memory. especially the closing words. when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not until then, let my epitaph be written -- i have done. his favorite balance lad was helen


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