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
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
Spanish moss and blooming dogwood
Philadelphia, the town of
Civil War Monument, Vicksburg
Here brothers fought
|For more pictures of Mississippi, click here.