18 Jun UNDER THE OAKS
“A PEOPLE WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF
THEIR PAST HISTORY, ORIGIN, AND CULTURE
IS LIKE A TREE WITHOUT ROOTS.”
On July 6 1854 a group of anti-slavery men gathered under the trees in Jackson Michigan. The reason that they were meeting was that they were members of two political parties. It was two years after the publishing of UNCLE TOM’S CABIN. The political parties of the day the Democrats and Whigs were continuing the tradition of stepping around the issue of slavery in the United States.
The founding fathers have been misrepresented many ways and continuously by those who refuse to study the history of the Republic and read in opinions. True history is not about injecting opinions it is the recording of fact. Too many times the interpretation is done by those who want to read in things that are not there and bend the meanings to fit their agenda. Today’s society is no different than at that time.
Today it is thought that the political rancor is the worst at anytime in history. It may seem that way since the riots, demands, and violence that have taken place about today’s issues. But there was one other president that was attacked by the opposition and by his own party in the same fashion that is happening today. His name was Abraham Lincoln.
One of the men who ‘stood under the oaks’ was a man who came to Kansas and was involved in railroads, mining, politics, homesteading, and business. Going by his most known name of the day Cottonwood Davis was the first settler in Viola Township in Sedgwick County Kansas. He was the first to build a frame house in Viola Township, was a part of Pittsburg Kansas coal history, and was part of the railroading industry. And he was an Abolitionist. By ‘standing under the oaks’ he was one of the original founders of the Republican Party, he was a delegate to the Republican Convention and cast his vote for Abraham Lincoln who was the first Republican elected to the Presidency of the United States.
The rancor of the times and election of Lincoln caused the same levels of hate and division in the country as we have today. The result of the determination to de-legitimize Lincoln resulted in the Civil War. As a student of history will tell you the origins of the war and tearing the country apart was many faceted. But the factors, combined with the hate of those opposed to the other persons beliefs, ended in a war that pitted state against state, brother against brother, families against themselves. The election of Lincoln was the people fed up with the way the government was being run and ignoring the wishes of the people.
When the talk of revising the entire process and texts of our history was suggested in the 1970’s I was just in disbelief that the government with the support of political groups would allow the revision of history. The real need of history text improvement back then was the companies political beliefs of the time and the truth was a casualty as was the education. As inspired as I was by my history teachers in high school I am constantly irritated by the things that were wrong, I learn today that were taught as fact back then were subverted.
So here we are today. There are groups that will not except the legitimacy of the elections and will support anything that can be invented to enable the removal of the president. Yet the same people for the last eight years told everyone that were aghast at the workings of the presidency, that it was just something that had to be lived with and the office had to be respected. I don’t hear that right now from those same people.
Even after a deranged man decided that assassination was a proper course of action, there are those who are not backing down from advocating the same thing. Is this the same thing that Lincoln faced? Yes, we just have instant information now. Can the level of hate continue? If it does the country will be tearing itself apart in the manner that our founders feared.
Isn’t it time to try working together, talking with each other rather than ‘to’ each other? And stopping the violent advocacy who seem to get all the attention today. Just as in Lincoln’s day, the acts and hatred of today will end up in a violent society that has enough of that already.
The hate of Lincoln’s day ended in pain, death, and a nation torn apart. Do you really expect different results today?