WBEZ | Abraham Lincoln http://www.wbez.org/tags/abraham-lincoln Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How Chicago Celebrated the end of the Civil War http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/how-chicago-celebrated-end-civil-war-106526 <p><p>Peace!&nbsp;Victory!&nbsp;My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!&nbsp;</p><p>It was April 1865. After four bloody years, America&rsquo;s Civil War was over.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lee%20surrenders.jpg" title="Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House. (Author's collection)" /></div><p>General Robert E. Lee had surrendered his army in Virginia.&nbsp;There were still some rebel forces fighting in other places.&nbsp;But now that Lee had given up, the rest of the South would surely accept defeat.</p><p>Chicago had&nbsp;been&nbsp;on edge for days, waiting for Lee to capitulate.&nbsp;Then,&nbsp;early on&nbsp;Sunday evening&mdash;April 9&mdash;the joyous tidings flashed over the telegraph.&nbsp;And the city celebrated.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lee%20Surrender.jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 212px; float: right;" title="How Detroit celebrated the news of the war's end. (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>People took to the streets, shouting and firing guns into the air.&nbsp;An impromptu parade started marching down Lake Street.&nbsp;As night fell, bonfires were lit.&nbsp;Straw-filled dummies labeled with the names of rebel leaders were tossed into the fires.&nbsp;Other dummies were hung from trees, where they served as handy targets for&nbsp;revelers flinging horse dung.</p><p>At midnight the hundred guns of the Dearborn Light Artillery boomed.&nbsp;The noise continued through the night and into the dawn.&nbsp;Whether any of the city&rsquo;s 200,000 residents got&nbsp;much sleep was doubtful.</p><p>Monday came.&nbsp;Nobody felt like going to work, and most businesses remained closed.&nbsp;The Court House, the newspaper offices, and other important buildings were decorated with bunting.&nbsp;Street vendors selling tiny American flags on sticks couldn&rsquo;t keep up with the demand. Another night of&nbsp;celebration followed.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Trib%20offices.jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 176px; float: left;" title="Tribune offices (Andreas, 'History of Chicago')" /></div><p>As the sun rose on Tuesday, Chicago finally started getting back to normal.&nbsp;Though the war had not always been popular in the North, the <em>Tribune</em> had supported it whole-heartedly.&nbsp;Publisher Joseph Medill was a leader in the Republican Party and a close friend of President Abraham Lincoln.</p><p>Now that war was over, the <em>Tribune</em> reminded readers that many Democrats had defended the evil of slavery. Those Democrats had thought that compromise was possible. They had urged the North to make peace with the rebels. And as long as the North had fought the war&nbsp;in a half-hearted, &ldquo;Democrat&rdquo; way, the&nbsp;South could not be conquered.</p><p>Then the government had decided to fight in a &ldquo;Republican&rdquo; way: total war.&nbsp;&ldquo;There was no more foolery or conciliation,&rdquo; the paper declared.&nbsp;&ldquo;The war was made on the principles of coercion and subjugation.&rdquo;&nbsp;Victory had followed.</p><p>But Chicago&rsquo;s postwar joy was brief.&nbsp;Before the week was over, President Lincoln was killed by an assassin.</p></p> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/how-chicago-celebrated-end-civil-war-106526 The Lincoln Effect: Are we taking advantage of Honest Abe’s good name? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-02/lincoln-effect-are-we-taking-advantage-honest-abe%E2%80%99s-good-name-105682 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 12.09.09 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Tbzfvef0aE0" width="853"></iframe></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F80375342" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>This month many Americans celebrated what would have been the 204th birthday of Abraham Lincoln.</p><p>But if recent popular culture is any indication, our 16th president is still alive and well.</p><p>Daniel Day Lewis&rsquo; strong performance as the president in <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTA5rdz51XI"><em>Lincoln</em></a> may help Steven Spielberg&rsquo;s film sweep the Oscars -- it&rsquo;s up for 12 awards.</p><p>Ford brought him back to sell cars. In <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NklipvTBf64">the ad,</a> which premiered at the Superbowl, Lincoln strides out of the mist, wearing tinted shades, with his coat tails flapping in the wind.</p><p>And in a <em>Saturday Night Live</em> skit, comedian Louie C.K. depicts Lincoln as a henpecked husband, running late for the theatre. You can watch the entire segment above.</p><p>Now maybe it&rsquo;s just the view from Illinois, but doesn&rsquo;t it feel like we&rsquo;ve gone too far?</p><p>Do we really appreciate Honest Abe? Or are we taking advantage of him?</p><p>&ldquo;The fact that he&rsquo;s in the public domain doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean we should use him as a poster child for, you know, a sale for clothing or furniture in February,&rdquo; says Carla Knorowski, CEO of the <a href="http://alplm.org/">Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.</a></p><p>As a person charged with protecting his legacy, Knorowski said Lincoln needs an agent, and in fact she already considers herself the &ldquo;self-appointed agent of Abe.&rdquo;</p><p>But Knorowski says it&rsquo;s not just her. Everyone can find something to like in Lincoln, the everyman.</p><p>She gave me a laundry list of his attributes: That he was &ldquo;self-taught, had a sense of fairness, and honesty&rdquo;.</p><p>She also referenced his skills as a poet, inventor and &ldquo;one of our greatest humorists&rdquo;.</p><p>Still, some of our tributes to Lincoln can seem kind of funny, like we&rsquo;re just adding his name to something to make it sound better.&nbsp;</p><p>I&rsquo;ve deemed it the &ldquo;Lincoln Effect.&rdquo;</p><p>Here&rsquo;s an example.</p><p>In 2004, Donald Peloquin, the longtime Mayor of Blue Island, tried to get a bunch of southwest suburban municipalities <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2004-10-28/news/0410280320_1_home-rule-municipalities-sales-tax">to actually secede from Cook County.</a></p><p>He and his band of rebels thought Cook was too big, too wasteful, and neglecting suburban taxpayers.</p><p>So they wanted to break off and create a new county. To help sell this controversial idea, he decided to call it Lincoln.</p><p>I asked Peloquin why, and he told me the answer was simple.</p><p>&ldquo;The State&rsquo;s motto is the land of Lincoln. And there&rsquo;s no Lincoln County. 103 counties and not one of them named Lincoln&rdquo;.</p><p>So naming his county Lincoln would help people get on board with the idea?</p><p>&ldquo;Well, I...yeah sure, partially,&rdquo; Peloquin said &ldquo;But the big thing is the credibility and the honesty and integrity that go with the name&rdquo;. He added, &ldquo;I think the ability to say we&rsquo;re going to start a new county and create it on the basis of what Lincoln promised and that&rsquo;d be honest and truthful government&rdquo;.</p><p>Peloquin&rsquo;s secession bid was a non-starter. But another effort he supports, which also has a Lincoln connection, is still up in the air.</p><p>For decades people have been talking about building a third airport in the southern suburbs.</p><p>But politics, environmental concerns, and competing airport proposals always got in the way.</p><p>Then in 2005 it became the pet project of former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.</p><p>Last year, Jackson Jr. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/water/will-county-pushes-peotone-action-while-jacksons-absent-101654">led a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site</a>, even though no plans for the airport have been finalized.</p><p>Still, in his comments Jackson Jr., said &ldquo;Today&rsquo;s turnout clearly shows that the will of the people is to build our own future by constructing the Abraham Lincoln National Airport.&rdquo;</p><p>Well, we all know what happened to Jackson, and so far, invoking Honest Abe hasn&rsquo;t helped the airport either.&nbsp;</p><p>So is it a stretch to keep Lincoln&rsquo;s name attached to it?</p><p>When I put the question to Donald Peloquin he said &ldquo;I guess if you look at it that way. You know I look at it as it&rsquo;s for the people. And he was always for the people&rdquo;.</p><p>Sure. <a href="http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/gettysburgaddress/pages/default.aspx">And of the people and by the people.</a></p><p>But arguments for airports or state pension fights are a long way from Lincoln&rsquo;s high ideals and stirring oratory.</p><p>When you look at the state of Illinois politics you have to wonder are we really hitting the Lincoln bar all that often?</p><p>Maybe not but Peloquin says it&rsquo;s still worth conjuring the spirit of Lincoln &ldquo;because we have to turn it around.&rdquo;</p><p>Peloquin is not the only one looking back to Lincoln for a political fix. Spielberg&rsquo;s movie projects the same fantasy.</p><p>But maybe, even in the land of Lincoln, it&rsquo;s time to move on.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow Alison Cuddy on <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison">Facebook</a></em></p></p> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 11:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-02/lincoln-effect-are-we-taking-advantage-honest-abe%E2%80%99s-good-name-105682 Abraham Lincoln gets an app! http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-02/abraham-lincoln-gets-app-105489 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F78978108&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7005_photo%20%283%29.JPG" style="width: 300px; height: 300px; float: right;" title="Happy 204th Abraham Lincoln!" />In the 21st century there&#39;s only one appropriate way to celebrate Lincoln&rsquo;s birthday - with a smart-phone app of course.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><p>Carla Knorowski is CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.&nbsp;She was at the AT&amp;T store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago today to introduce the museum&#39;s new &quot;Abe App&quot;.</p><p>Watched over by a Lincoln impersonator, she demonstrated some of the app&#39;s features, including a Lincoln quiz and a virtual tour of his home.</p><p>Sample questions in the quiz included:</p><p>&quot;Booker T. Washington thought Lincoln&rsquo;s personal battles helped him what?&quot;</p><p>Out of three possible answers, Knorowski deliberately chose the wrong answer: A) Get in shape. The right one was C) relate to other people.</p><p>As you play the quiz, a clock&#39;s tick tock winds down the time. The sound comes from an actual clock in the Lincoln and Herndon law office in Springfield, Illinois.</p><p>The app is free, and was developed in partnership with AT&amp;T, which has already apparently donated one hundred thousands dollars to the museum to help with their Lincoln &quot;digitization project&quot;.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7004_abe%20app.jpg" style="height: 224px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Even Abraham Lincoln can use a smart-phone app" />Chicagoans are also finding other reasons to celebrate Abe.</p><p>Eric Washington chalked it up to local pride. &quot;I&rsquo;ll be honest it&rsquo;s really, really cool to have someone from Illinois to have made such great strides in American history.&quot;</p><p>Outside on Michigan Avenue, Pete Stacker says we don&rsquo;t celebrate Lincoln enough.</p><p>&quot;He gets some credit but not as much credit in history for what he accomplished in really such a short period of time,&quot; Stacker said.&nbsp;</p><p>Many mentioned Steven Spielberg&#39;s recent film for having ramped up the &quot;Lincoln effect.&quot; Carla Knorowski said she thinks Lincoln is actually &quot;the nation&#39;s number one export.&quot;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 16:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-02/abraham-lincoln-gets-app-105489 Best Picture breakdown: 'Lincoln' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/best-picture-breakdown-lincoln-104878 <p><p>Abraham Lincoln is a filmmaker&rsquo;s favorite. He&rsquo;s been the subject of almost as many movies as Al Capone.</p><p>The reason for this is clear. Honest Abe is America&rsquo;s secular saint. Everybody wants a piece of him. Republicans have used the Spielberg film to remind the public that their party ended slavery. The Democrats&rsquo; response has been, &ldquo;What have you done for us lately?&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-12--Lincoln%20and%20Tad%20%28LofC%29.jpg" style="width: 270px; height: 242px; float: right;" title="Abraham Lincoln and son Tad, Brady photo (Library of Congress)" /><em>Lincoln</em> (the movie) takes place during a few weeks in January 1865. Lincoln (the president) has just been re-elected to a second term. The rebels are on their last legs, and the Civil War will soon be over. Now is the time to end slavery, once and for all.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Lincoln had already issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This said that all slaves in the rebel states would become free, as soon as the Union reconquered those states. Since he was commander-in-chief of the army, Lincoln felt he had authority to do this.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But once the fighting ended, maybe some court would throw out this executive order. The only way to guarantee emancipation was to put it in the Constitution. The Senate has already passed the proposed 13<sup>th</sup> Amendment.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The&nbsp;screenplay tells the story of how Lincoln worked to round-up the needed two-thirds of the House. He had to keep all his Republicans on board, and he had to get some Democrats as well. I was reminded of the movie <em>1776</em>, where John Adams is trying to gather enough votes to pass the Declaration of Independence.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Here we see a master politician at work. Lincoln will persuade by evoking eloquent altruism. He will also persuade by telling half-truths and lies. Meanwhile, he has agents working among the wavering Democrats, basically offering bribes for their support.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">There are other complications. The rebels are sending a delegation to talk peace, which will end the war immediately and spoil everything. The president&rsquo;s son wants to leave Harvard and join the army. The First Lady is being a pain, too.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">We know how it will all end. So let&rsquo;s look at a few other aspects of the movie.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-12--13th%20%28FL-2-18-65%29.jpg" title="The House celebrates passage of the 13th Amendment ('Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper'--February 18, 1865)" /></div></div><p>As a historian, I&rsquo;ve seen many actors portray Lincoln. Daniel Day-Lewis is as good as any of them, and maybe the best. He captures all the complexities of his subject. But better you watch him do it than have me try to explain it.</p><p>(Much comment has been made about DD-L&rsquo;s voice. Because he&rsquo;s such a commanding figure in our history&mdash;and because he was as tall as a basketball player&mdash;we assume Lincoln sounded like James Earl Jones. However, contemporary reports say the real Lincoln&rsquo;s voice was high, thin, and sometimes shrill. DD-L has nailed it.) &nbsp;</p><p>Like DD-L, Sally Field is up&nbsp;for an Oscar, though in a supporting role. For my money, she&rsquo;s a bit over the top in her playing of Mary Lincoln. Or maybe Mary Lincoln is just a disagreeable character.</p><p>Tommy Lee Jones is a nominee for Best Supporting Actor. As radical Republican leader Thaddeus Stevens, he has the kind of flashy role an actor can really sink his teeth into. Personally, I preferred David Strathairn&rsquo;s restrained, un-nominated performance as Secretary of State Seward.</p><p>John Williams again does the music for a Spielberg project. Williams made his name with swashbuckling scores. But here, befitting the movie, he&rsquo;s more Copland than Korngold.</p><p>Though the subject matter is serious, the movie has humor. Many of the chuckles come courtesy of Honest Abe&rsquo;s funny stories. The tale of Ethan Allen and the British privy is alone worth the price of admission.</p><p>In the hands of a lesser director than Spielberg, a 150-minute movie about high-level political maneuvering might be a disaster. I&#39;m thinking here of another &ldquo;President&rdquo; film from 1944, <em>Wilson</em>. I love watching that movie because it recreates historic events I&rsquo;ve read about, dreamed about, and taught in class. I also recognized that <em>Wilson</em> is overlong and boring. &nbsp;</p><p>I can&rsquo;t say whether <em>Lincoln</em> deserves the Best Picture Oscar. I haven&rsquo;t seen all the other nominees. All I can say is that&nbsp;this movie is&nbsp;one of the best history lessons you&rsquo;ll ever enjoy. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 12 Jan 2013 11:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/best-picture-breakdown-lincoln-104878 Lincoln: The man and the film http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/lincoln-man-and-film-103799 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_lincoln_poses_with_son_tad_ap_photofile.jpg" style="width: 368px; height: 500px; float: left;" title="Abraham Lincoln Poses with son Tad (AP PhotoFile)" /></p><p>There have been over 16,000 books written about every aspect of Abraham Lincoln&rsquo;s private and professional life. In 2009 alone, the bicentennial of Lincoln&rsquo;s birth, 249 Lincoln biographies were published. The total number of Lincoln biographies, 5,796, is nearly double the number of biographies written about George Washington, 2,972. And, according to Lincoln aficionado Andrew Ferguson, there have been more banks, bridges, schools, streets, roads and highways named after Lincoln than any other single president. As one political commentator put it, we love Lincoln because &ldquo;he saved the dream, and he lived the American dream.&rdquo;</p><p>Personally, Lincoln has long been one of my cultural heroes. He was a man of the people and a man of the soil, who rose from pioneer poverty to the presidency. And, he did this all with the power of his mind. Lincoln was a man who fell in love with the importance of words and the impact of ideas. For him, the life of the mind was the key to human progress and prosperity. His rise to power was based not on a large campaign war chest or the unwavering endorsement of his political party. Lincoln&rsquo;s success was propelled by the strength of his ideas, which he presented as a lawyer in his debates with Stephen Douglas, in his Cooper Union Speech, in the 272 words he uttered at Gettysburg and in his two Inaugural Addresses.</p><p>My absolute favorite book on Lincoln is the one that the newe Steven Spielberg film is partially based on &mdash; Doris Kearns Goodwin&rsquo;s <em>Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.</em> I have read Goodwin&rsquo;s words, and Lincoln&rsquo;s, and the words and wisdom of some of the best Lincoln scholars. But until I saw this film, I has no visceral connection to Lincoln the man. Oh, I had been moved by many of the Lincoln photos, how could you not be? In four years he went from being a man in full, to this tired eyed, exhausted and worn out old man. But the movie made Lincoln kinetic and alive. His face, his movements, his voice, his smallest gestures seemed to be spot on. On screen, Daniel Day-Lewis becomes Lincoln.</p><p>This is a story of ideas and idealism, and of Lincoln&rsquo;s commitment to save the union and to end slavery. This &ldquo;gentle-man,&rdquo; who possessed a sly wit and an indomitable will, never confused his mission with himself and never let pride overcome principle. This is also the story of a political pragmatist who knew how to &ldquo;horse trade&rdquo; and play &ldquo;hard ball&rdquo; in order to achieve his desired ends.</p><p>After seeing this movie I now think that Leo Tolstoy was not guilty of excessive exaggeration and hero worship when he said, &ldquo;The greatness of Napoleon, Caesar or Washington in only moonlight by the sun of Lincoln&hellip; He was bigger than his country &mdash; bigger than all the Presidents together. And as a great character he will live as long as the world lives.&rdquo;</p><p>Thank you Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg for breathing life into a man who, as <em>Time Magazine</em> beautifully phrased it, &ldquo;everyone and no one knows at once.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Tue, 13 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/lincoln-man-and-film-103799 Who's behind the parody campaign Lincoln 1864? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/whos-behind-parody-campaign-lincoln-1864-103169 <p><p><em>Updated on 10/22/12 at 2:02 pm:</em></p><p>I&#39;ve been contacted by &quot;info@lincoln1864.com&quot;, who sent me this email this morning:</p><p><em>Dear Ms. Dries,</em></p><p><em>It has come to my attention that your publication -- an obscure journal with a peculiar moniker -- has published a rendering of Mr. Lincoln&#39;s campaign.</em></p><p><em>On behalf of the president, I express my gratitude for your taking interest in our matters. However, as I am unable to acquire a copy of your publication--not even Hamilton Papers &amp; Drugs carries it--I am unaware of the content of your piece.</em></p><p><em>If you the time, would you forward along a back issue in which the article appears? We in the headquarters are on pins and needles to read it. You may post a copy to:</em></p><p><em>Lincoln for the Union</em></p><p><em>413 South Eighth Street</em></p><p><em>Springfield, Illinois 62701</em></p><p><em>Should you consider the publication of an additional piece on our affairs, do not hesitate in contacting yours truly.</em></p><p><em>For the Union,</em></p><p><em>A.M. Chauncey</em></p><p><em>Deputy Campaign Superintendent</em></p><p><em>Lincoln for the Union</em></p><p>The address listed is the address for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. As far as I can tell, A.M. Chauncey was not actually a person that Lincoln palled around with. Since I fear that snail mail might take a little too long (and end up in the wrong hands), I&#39;ve emailed them this piece. We&#39;ll see how the saga continues. In the meantime,<a href="http://www.lincoln1864.com/%E2%98%85%E2%99%AC%E2%98%85%E2%99%A4%E2%98%85ultimate-%E2%98%9E%E2%98%9E%E2%98%9Edebate%E2%98%9C%E2%98%9C%E2%98%9C-tonight1%E2%98%85%E2%9A%A1%E2%98%85%E2%98%BA%E2%98%85/#.UIWapMXA-gY"> they&#39;re pretty excited</a> about the final presidential debate tonight.</p><p>----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------</p><p>The day started like any other: with <a href="http://www.lincoln1864.com/a-bull-dog-grip/#.UH25-cXA-gY">an email</a> in my inbox from one Ulysses S. Grant, Commanding General of the United States Army, imploring me to vote for Abraham Lincoln and his vice presidential nominee Andrew Johnson in the 1864 presidential election.</p><p>Wait, what? This email looked familiar -- the letterhead was the same style as those <a href="http://heygirlobama.tumblr.com/">oft-maligned messages</a> from the Obama campaign. But Grant, a man who has been dead for over a century, was asking me to support Lincoln in his debate against&nbsp;George McClellan Tuesday evening, because McClellan was, in Grant&#39;s words, &quot;a real ninnyhammer if I&#39;ve ever met one.&quot;</p><p>A glance at the site linked in the email (<a href="http://www.lincoln1864.com/">lincoln1864.com</a>) took me to a website that also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Obama campaign website:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.lincoln1864.com/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lincoln%20johnson.jpg" style="height: 378px; width: 620px; " title="" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/buttons_0.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 176px; float: right; " title="" />Don&#39;t swap horses midstream is a reference to a speech Lincoln gave in 1864 when he said, &quot;I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that &#39;it was not best to swap horses when crossing streams.&#39;&quot;&nbsp;It became his campaign slogan and implied that the country should stick with him and with his principals.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>But back to the modern day: dig around the website and it quickly becomes clear there&#39;s something up here. The &quot;Store&quot; button takes you to the Wikipedia page for &quot;consumerism&quot;, &quot;Donate&quot; takes you to a page to help keep up the National Mall in Washington D.C. (where the Lincoln&#39;s Memorial lives). The top right corner links of &quot;Log Cabins&quot; and &quot;Stovepipe Hats&quot; takes you to the magazines <em>Log Cabins Home</em> and a video on how to make your own stovepipe hat. Perhaps the best part is the button that implores you to &quot;Quick Donate 5 cents.&quot;</p><p>The rest of the site includes blog posts mimicking the style seen on the Obama campaign website,<a href="http://www.lincoln1864.com/battleground-states-need-you/#.UH26QcXA-gY"> like this one</a>, which claims that &quot;Battleground states need you&quot;, and requests I give my help and resources towards &quot;Opium administration, miscellaneous wound dressing,&nbsp;minnie ball extraction (bring saws).&quot; Bylines with old-timey names crop up, like S.L. Wiley on this one,&nbsp;though most appear to be random and not actual Civil War-era people.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/johnson%20twitter_1.jpg" style="float: left; width: 255px; height: 269px;" title="" />A few other links seem to indicate that a group or Super PAC interested in campaign finance reform might be behind the site, as the headers on it for &quot;Get the facts&quot;, &quot;Get the latest&quot; and &quot;Get involved&quot; take you to a <em>Washington Post </em>interactive on the details behind campaign finance, an <em>Atlantic </em>article called &quot;The Last Best Chance for Campaign Finance Reform: Americans Elect&quot;, and the Google search results for the term itself. &quot;Are you registered?&quot; takes you to Rock the Vote, and &quot;Sing a Song!&quot; to a video about Lincoln&#39;s 1860 campaign song. The button to take you to Facebook is just an image, though Lincoln 1864 does have a Twitter account.</p><p>And a well done one at that: check out who they&#39;re following right now. The 800-plus head count consists of primarily, with few exceptions, Andrew Johnsons and Abraham Lincolns. The account&#39;s followers as of now hover around 60, and are mostly random -- people they follow who have followed them back, a few political nerds who have clearly found the site through their close network (including Obama staffers), and spam bots.</p><p>One exception is <a href="http://imjustcreative.com">Graham &quot;Logo&quot; Smith</a>, a self-described &quot;logo design pioneer, and gun-for-hire&quot; living in England. He&#39;s the first person <a href="https://twitter.com/lincoln1864">@Lincoln1864</a> followed, so I reached out to him to see if he knows anything about the account, but have not heard anything back yet. The domain name for the website is<a href="http://www.networksolutions.com/whois-search/lincoln1864.com"> registered as &quot;private&quot;</a>, though whoever set it up used Dreamhost as their server.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lincoln twitter_0.jpg" style="float: right; width: 255px; height: 296px;" title="" />A colleague also suggested the website might be tied to&nbsp;<a href="http://newsweek.tumblr.com/post/33644049223/this-weeks-cover-features-abraham-lincoln-the">this week&#39;s <em>Newsweek </em>cover</a>, which has Lincoln on it, painting him as &quot;the Great Campaigner.&quot; But usually, on stand-alone sites started by media companies, there&#39;s some tie back to the original creator in question, so that they don&#39;t lose publicity. And the only thing I&#39;ve found in the media about Lincoln and campaigning is this post on the <em>New York Times</em>&nbsp;Campaign Stops blog<a href="http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/vote-lincoln-in-2012/"> from last week called &quot;Vote Lincoln in 2012.&quot;</a></p><p>Whoever is behind the campaign, and whatever their reason, is capitalizing on the popularity of our former president that doesn&#39;t seem to be going away. The nation caught the<a href="http://www.springfield.il.us/"> ever-present Illinois Lincoln fever</a> long ago, though President Obama&#39;s fascination with the man has definitely helped &quot;The Great Emancipator&#39;s&quot; popularity. The creator&#39;s intent could be to give Obama boost in the polls, though it&#39;s difficult to say exactly what candidate, if any, they&#39;re supporting, except the cause of humor (and campaign finance reform).</p><p>The site readily admits it&#39;s satire (a link to &quot;What is this?&quot; takes you to the domain name satire.com), but we still don&#39;t know actually for what purpose -- if any. So if you&#39;re out there campaigning on the Lincoln 1864 trail, take a moment, <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org.">hit me up</a>, and reveal thyself.</p><p><em>Many thanks to Lauren Chooljian, for bringing this to my attention and also being a huge history dork.</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Oct 2012 13:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/whos-behind-parody-campaign-lincoln-1864-103169 Dirty tricks at the Wigwam: Chicago's first convention http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/dirty-tricks-wigwam-chicagos-first-convention-101880 <p><p>Republicans staged Chicago&rsquo;s first national political convention in May of 1860. And for the first time ever, a citizen of Illinois was nominated for President of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln. &nbsp;</p><p>In 1860 the Republican Party was a new, dynamic, anti-slavery party. Four years before, in their first presidential campaign, they&rsquo;d run a surprisingly strong race. Now the Democrats were split on the slavery issue. The Republicans would likely be picking the next occupant of the White House.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-28--The%20Wigwam.jpg" title="The Wigwam (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>The Chicago convention site was a big wooden barn at Lake and Market (Wacker) called The Wigwam. Local boosters bragged the building could hold 10,000 people, making it the largest auditorium in the country</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-28--Seward.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 200px; float: right; " title="Candidate Seward (Wikipedia Commons)" />As the delegates and party faithful arrived, Lincoln looked like a longshot, one of a half-dozen minor candidates. He had served a single term in Congress, then gone back to practicing law in Springfield. He&#39;d also waged a spirited &mdash; but losing &mdash; senatorial campaign against Stephen Douglas.</p><p>The favorite for the nomination was William Seward, Senator from New York. He was known and respected throughout the country, and had the largest number of delegates. His people exuded a confidence that bordered on arrogance.</p><p>What Seward and his followers didn&rsquo;t know was they were about to be present at a historic event. They were about to witness the birth of Chicago&rsquo;s reputation for hardball politics.</p><p>Balloting was to begin on May 18<sup>th</sup>. That morning, thousands of Seward fans marched through downtown. They waved banners, they shouted, they sang. But when they got to The Wigwam, they couldn&rsquo;t get in. Lincoln&rsquo;s supporters had printed counterfeit tickets and packed the hall.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-28--candidate Lincoln.jpg" style="height: 302px; width: 200px; float: left; " title="Nominee Lincoln (Library of Congress)" />First ballot. As expected, Seward led. Yet whenever a speaker mentioned Lincoln&rsquo;s name, the audience exploded into cheers that shook The Wigwam. Uncommitted delegated were impressed. Honest Abe seemed to be the people&rsquo;s choice!</p><p>The Seward delegates were in shock. Meanwhile, Lincoln&rsquo;s people wheeled and dealed. On the third ballot, Lincoln was nominated.</p><p>The <em>Chicago Press and Tribune</em>, owned by Friend-Of-Abe Joseph Medill, was ready. A special souvenir edition was rolled out, with a discount price for bulk purchase. The paper also offered the delegates a variety of mail subscriptions, so they could follow the campaign once they returned home.</p><p>Following tradition, Lincoln had not attended the convention. He stayed in Springfield and got his news by telegraph.</p><p>If Lincoln had come to Chicago, he might have walked a few blocks from The Wigwam to McVicker&rsquo;s Theater, to see the hit comedy &ldquo;Our American Cousin.&rdquo; Five years later, when he was president, Lincoln finally caught the play in Washington&ndash;and was assassinated during the performance.</p></p> Wed, 29 Aug 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/dirty-tricks-wigwam-chicagos-first-convention-101880 Santorum spending Illinois primary night in Gettysburg http://www.wbez.org/story/santorum-spending-illinois-primary-night-gettysburg-97459 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-20/AP120319128936.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As Illinois Republicans vote in the state's presidential primary, GOP hopeful Rick Santorum is reconnecting with a son of Illinois who's remembered for an afternoon spent in Pennsylvania.</p><p>Santorum plans to watch Tuesday's results from Illinois at a campaign party in Gettysburg, Pa., the venue for President Abraham Lincoln's famous Civil War address.</p><p>Santorum had campaigned in Illinois and looks to continue his trend of doing well in rural, conservative areas while largely ceding urban areas to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.</p><p>Santorum aides cast his decision to return to Pennsylvania as a nod to Illinois' famous son. It's also a political move, too. Santorum represented Pennsylvania in the House and the Senate, and his aides have said he must do well there to continue a campaign that lags behind Romney's.</p></p> Tue, 20 Mar 2012 14:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/santorum-spending-illinois-primary-night-gettysburg-97459 List: Ancestors of Barack Obama’s Presidential Power Suit http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-10/list-ancestors-barack-obama%E2%80%99s-presidential-power-suit-95423 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-10/abraham lincoln.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-10/abraham lincoln.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 258px; height: 300px; " title="">Abraham Lincoln’s Invisible Mustache of Machismo<br> <br> Franklin Roosevelt’s Rocket-Powered Wheelchair<br> <br> John Adam’s Tiny Ruffly Bit of Legacy-Lace<br> <br> James A. Garfield’s Fury Beard<br> <br> William McKinley’s Vest of Strength<br> <br> Woodrow Wilson’s Pince-Nez of Prowess<br> <br> George Washington’s Shoe-Buckle of Glory<br> <br> Ronald Reagon’s Most-Virile Wing-Tip<br> <br> Lyndon Johnson’s Dynamo Hankie</p></p> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 15:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-10/list-ancestors-barack-obama%E2%80%99s-presidential-power-suit-95423 Chicago memorials: My visit to Stephen Douglas' tomb http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-10-28/chicago-memorials-my-visit-stephen-douglas-tomb-93576 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-28/douglas-2-edit.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>I pass by Stephen Douglas’ tomb -- or about a block from it, on East 35th Street -- about once a week. The sky high tower always beckons but it seems lost from Cottage Grove, buried between train tracks, highrises and the confident limestone houses that line the streets down that way.</p><p>But the other day, with time on my hands and a beautiful afternoon in full bloom, I made the trek down to the end of 35th Street and the memorial dedicated to Illinois’ “Little Giant,” as the man who debated Abraham Lincoln was known in his time.</p><p>The memorial is, well, just weird. Set in a well-kept little park from which you can hear the rumble of the Metra train, it’s peaceful and inviting. There were picnic tables resting against a fence in the back that suggested maybe folks do come here in warmer temps, though the emptiness was striking. A flagpole held two flags, both faded and frayed, at half-mast: the stars and stripes and the Illinois state flag.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/douglas-5-edit.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 851px;" title=""></p><p>The long 96 foot column that I can see from blocks is so high up close, though, that Douglas’ figure on top is obscure when you’re looking up at it from its base. In fact, it makes you feel like you’re looking up the man’s britches.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/douglas-1-edit.jpg" style="width: 493px; height: 700px;" title=""></p><p>Around the base of the memorial are scenes of European expansion, like a train scene (Douglas was big on trains), and upside down torches, a Greek symbol, I’m told, signifying both great learning and the end of life. Douglas was a Mason, though, and these are also frequently used in Masonic tombs.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/douglas-4-edit.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 649px;" title=""></p><p>There are also four statues of muse-like women, voluptuously wrapped in loose robes, at each corner of the tomb, each topping a word that, I presume, is meant to describe Douglas, because they don’t otherwise go together particularly well: History, Eloquence, Illinois, Justice.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/douglas-3-edit.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 732px;" title=""><br> &nbsp;</p><p>Douglas himself is buried here, his sarcophagus open to visitors on the side of the memorial. A bust of Douglas sits atop it, a little furrow-browed, a little disembodied and eerie. The legend below reads: “Tell my children to uphold the laws and obey the Constitution.”</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/douglas-2-edit.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 334px;" title=""></p><p>Dry guy, this Douglas.</p></p> Fri, 28 Oct 2011 17:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-10-28/chicago-memorials-my-visit-stephen-douglas-tomb-93576