First, let me wish George a happy 279th birthday today and Abe a happy 202nd birthday (on the 12th)- talk about a cake conflagration there!
Both of these men were progressive before their time. Mr. Washington owned slaves but he came to believe that it was wrong to do so and even at one point stated that this new country could only stay a country if the institution was abolished. Here’s the actual quote: “nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union.”
George Washington freed his slaves in his will and also had the younger ones educated or taught a trade. As well, he established a fund to take care of the old and ill. This was truly the actions of a man ahead of his time.
As to Abraham Lincoln, he was what I like to call the second father of our country as he did everything he could to keep this new country together. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The interesting thing about it was that Lincoln had wanted a gradual emancipation of slaves since around 1849. The Emancipation proclamation didn’t free the all of the slaves in the United States, it only freed those in the rebelling states. Lincoln didn’t free all of the slaves as he didn’t want to antagonize the states that had slaves but were loyal to the United States. What irony was that?
Of course, Mr. Lincoln was still working toward the freedom for all slaves. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution wasn’t ratified until 1865 in December. Lincoln was already dead by then but his work helped to get it done. If he had lived, I believe things would have moved faster and the healing of our nation would have happened sooner.
One interesting tidbit- Mississippi didn’t ratify the 13th amendment until December 5, 1995. How crazy is that?
One of my pet peeves here in my area of Florida is that the schools and state offices close for certain holidays but not this one. I mean, really, these two men gave so much for our country and also for the slaves, why can’t we honor them like we have in the past? I close my office every year to make a stand. With apologies to Scarlett O’Hara, “As God as my witness, I’ll continue to honor these men.” There ya go, my controversial statement of the week- Daisy only thought she was the one that was gonna post something to get in trouble about.
Had to sneak this in- it’s release day for my new book- Surfer Bride: http://www.bookstrand.com/surfer-bride