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Monday, June 07, 2004

Lincoln and Reagan

Since we're all over the Lincoln thing today, we might as well show some relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. I'm sure there are a lot of similarities and parallels than can be drawn, and are being drawn as I write this, but it looks like the final one will take place when Reagan's body arrives in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol later this week. "Reagan's casket will be placed on a special platform called a 'cataphalque,' the same one built for Abraham Lincoln in 1865."

VIA WCPO in Cincinnati.

Posted by Marie at June 7, 2004 4:06 PM


As a fellow Illinoisan and someone who's been passionately interested in Lincoln's role in our history, I have to say I find the comparisons being drawn between him and Reagan to be absurd. The Great Emancipator vs. the Great Communicator? Come on. Lincoln confronted a situation where the demise of the United States was not just imminent or a theoretical possibility -- it was under way before he even took office. The outcome of the struggle he undertook was very much in doubt from day one; three years into the war, he still faced powerful opposition at home that advocated suing for peace and letting the South have its way; and militarily at that point, he presided over the bloodiest, most brutal phase of any American war. Victory and the survival of the Union was anything but inevitable even then. Yes, the United States faced dangers when Reagan took office. But he took office at the head of the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world who's only serious opponent whose only option if it decided to take on the U.S. was to commit suicide (and as it turned out, it was committng a sort of slow-motion suicide). Beyond the fact I detested Reagan's politics, he was a creature of the media age who was a genius in the role of president and left the details of government to others; I don't believe there's anything in his legacy to compare to the genius of Lincoln in grasping and expressing the principles that are supposed to define the nation. Reagan is to Lincoln as Frank Capra is to Thomas Jefferson.

Posted by: Dan at June 9, 2004 12:37 AM

Sorry for my usual hasty errors!

Posted by: Dan at June 9, 2004 12:38 AM