Despite attacks by left-leaning revisionists, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, two of the nation’s greatest leaders, are able to overcome the cancel culture ideologues by their enduring legacies.
Lincoln knew what it was like to preserve the country at a time in our history when it was literally falling apart. His accomplishments as our Civil War president included the death of American slavery and the preservation of the Union and of democracy.
Lincoln was not racist. Before emancipating the slaves in 1862, Lincoln was a self-taught lawyer, legislator and vocal opponent of slavery. He had accepted black clients in his Illinois law practice and had a friendship with the abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
During the war he proved to be a shrewd military strategist and a savvy leader, qualities that set him apart from the other presidents. In 1982, the Chicago Tribune asked a panel of 49 historians and political scientists to rate all the presidents through Jimmy Carter in five categories: leadership qualities, accomplishments/crisis management, political skills, appointments, and character/integrity.
Lincoln topped the list, followed by Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman. The historians determined that no president in American history ever faced a greater crisis – or ever accomplished as much – as the “Great Emancipator.”
What made Lincoln unique in handling each trial was an ability to energize and mobilize the nation by appealing to its best ideals while acting “with malice towards none” in the pursuit of a more perfect, more just, and more enduring Union. Other famous Lincoln quotations such as – “last full measure of devotion” and “better angels of our nature” – will live as long as America survives.
Today, cancel culture and revisionists such as the 1619 Project are attempting to destroy the legacies of Lincoln, Washington and other influential American leaders. In recent years, the cancel culture/wokesim movement have removed the statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the Museum of Natural History (an effort spearheaded by former New York mayor Bill de Blasio); and stripped the names of dozens of historical figures – including Lincoln – from area schools. One San Francisco school board member explained that the action was a “moral message.”
In 2020, students at the University of Wisconsin called for the removal of Lincoln’s statue from the Madison campus. Five years earlier a survey conducted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni revealed that Lincoln – and much of his legacy – was being lost to the ages.
The study found that a third of college graduates did not know when the Civil War took place and only 28 percent knew about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which led to the abolition of slavery in the nation.
ACTA President Anne Neal said at the time that the results are tragic witness to the alarming level of historical illiteracy in this country. Given what is being taught – or not taught – at our campuses, she said we should not be surprised. According to the study, just 18 percent of the 1,100 liberal arts colleges and universities surveyed required graduates to have even a single survey course in American history or government.
Ironically, Lincoln had warned citizens about ignoring or trying the erase our history, the likes of which we are seeing today.
“Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history,” Lincoln said in 1862 as Civil War raged across the nation. “The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”
This article originally appeared here.