On this day in 1858, Abraham Lincoln, then a Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat, delivered his famous House Divided speech in Springfield, Illinois. Calling attention to the problems that slavery would cause in the future, the speech included these famous words:
“A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”
~ Abraham Lincoln, 1858
Today in History —> In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper became the first African American cadet to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A former slave, he served with distinction but then was dismissed on trumped-up charges of embezzlement.
Horseback polo, or “the game of kings” dates back to sixth-century BC Persia and remained unchanged for thousands of years…until Americans got hold of it. Swapping out the horses for cars in 1902, drivers steered automobiles with one hand while swinging a mallet at balls with the other. The sport even made its way to the 1913 Texas State Fair and to the tip of Florida. A fan told the Miami News in 1924, “If you don’t die of fright, you’ll laugh yourself to death.”
Politics 1920’s edition:
“The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.
The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
~ H. L. Mencken (Baltimore Evening Sun: “Bayard vs. Lionheart” 26 July 1920)
#Quotes #Elections #Politics
Today in History —> On June 5, 1883, the first regularly scheduled train of the Orient Express left Paris for Istanbul. Sadly, the train stopped running in 2009, although you can still buy a Paris to Istanbul trip on the original carriages from a private company. Here’s a poster for the original route.
Born on this day —> Dorothea Lange (1895)
Lange was famous for photographing the American dispossessed, including farmers during the Depression and Japanese-Americans moved to internment camps during World War II. Here’s her at work atop her car:
Today in Holocaust History —> On this day in 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ended with about 15,000 Jews killed, the rest deported to the camps, and the end of the massacre announced in this way:
The suppression of the uprising officially ended on 16 May 1943, when Stroop personally pushed a detonator button to demolish the Great Synagogue of Warsaw. Stroop later recalled:
“What a marvelous sight it was. A fantastic piece of theater. My staff and I stood at a distance. I held the electrical device which would detonate all the charges simultaneously. Jesuiter called for silence. I glanced over at my brave officers and men, tired and dirty, silhouetted against the glow of the burning buildings. After prolonging the suspense for a moment, I shouted: Heil Hitler and pressed the button.”
~ Jürgen Stroop, Conversations with an Executioner