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A village with heart
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Civility
Hidden heroes among us
04/14/16

When my old-country Hungarian relatives get together, they tell me America is too young to have enough history to learn from, as do Europeans. My cheeky response is, "Americans had just one civil war, decided it was a bad idea, and haven't had another. How about you guys?"

So it is that I've taken to touring the Civil War sites, learning what I could first hand. One of the factoids of interest was Lincoln's proposal to avoid the Civil War.

Bear in mind that as a lawyer, Lincoln had also been an independent businessman. Notwithstanding all the lawyer jokes of today, a lawyer's calling then as now was often to be the compromiser between opposing rights.

That said, Lincoln went before Congress, speculating that a civil war could last months and cost close to $1 million/day in out-of-pocket expenses, much more if factoring in the devastation purchased for the $1 million/day.

"How about we use that money to buy up the slaves instead," he pitched, "set them free, and turn them into taxpayers?"

Importing more slaves had been illegal for many years, so this would have ended slavery. Plantation owners would have gotten bags of cash to keep from getting huffy about southern traditions, cash they would plow back into the economy.

Congress was quick to point out that such a war could never last a month nor cost that much. Years later, burning through $4 million/day ($200 million/day in today's dollars), they could've bought up all the South's slaves in 6 months.

Lincoln's pitch never found traction with politicians on a mission to compel others to their personal world views. Had Lincoln succeeded, he might have become a footnote in history, remembered for blowing through a boatload of money because he lacked the courage to fight for what was right.

Made me wonder if the world is perhaps full of secret compromisers and peacemakers we will never know because wars avoided do not sell newspapers. If we stumble upon them, we must help them.

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Spanish moss and blooming dogwood

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Philadelphia, the town of
Gene Hackman's "Mississippi Burning"


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Civil War Monument, Vicksburg

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Here brothers fought

For more pictures of Mississippi, click here.

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