Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States

Abraham Lincoln said, "America will never be destroyed
from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms,
it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”


Abraham Lincoln said, “Both sides pray to the same God.”

                    In his "I have a dream" speech, Martin Luther King rightly invoked Abraham Lincoln and quoted the Declaration of Independence,
                    predicating his powerful call for equal treatment under law on "the true meaning of America's creed: 'We hold these truths to be
                    self-evident: that all men are created equal.'" The promise of equal treatment without regard to race was one that that lay deep
                    in the grain of the American creed and the civil rights tradition.

                    Equal treatment without regard to race remains the enduring promise of the American creed. As Abraham Lincoln wrote in 1864
                    in response to prominent Democrats who urged him to rescind the Emancipation Proclamation: "The promise, being made, must
                    be kept."



9-2-06 - I had a dream this morning in which the man in my dream world who represents IEOSOUS (Jesus in Greek) gave me a gift of combat boots with military blue socks in them and on each sock was a large picture of Abraham Lincoln. I was told that when I wore those boots with the socks, the photos of Abraham Lincoln had to show while I worked.

That dream gives a lot of responsibility to go with whatever I write about Abraham Lincoln because whatever I say points to him and his ideas which changed our country. I have a feeling that something is happening or going to happen with regard to Civil Rights that we have to look to Abraham Lincoln for guidance.

On the internet, there are over 3,000,000 sites dealing with Abraham Lincoln and Civil Rights, so what can I possibly say that will improve on what has already been said - not just add to the number of pages already there.



Lyceum Address

As one of Abraham Lincoln's earliest published speeches, this address has been much scrutinized and debated by historians, who see broad implications for his later public policies. Lincoln was 28 years old at the time he gave this speech and had recently moved from a rough pioneer village to Springfield, Illinois.

William Herndon, Lincoln's law partner, describes the event this way: "we had a society in Springfield, which contained and commanded all the culture and talent of the place. Unlike the other one its meetings were public, and reflected great credit on the community ... The speech was brought out by the burning in St. Louis a few weeks before, by a mob, of a negro. Lincoln took this incident as a sort of text for his remarks ... The address was published in the Sangamon Journal and created for the young orator a reputation which soon extended beyond the limits of the locality in which he lived."

The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions:
Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois
January 27, 1838

As a subject for the remarks of the evening, the perpetuation of our political institutions, is selected.

In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People, find our account running, under date of the nineteenth century of the Christian era.--We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them--they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Their's was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; 'tis ours only, to transmit these, the former, unprofaned by the foot of an invader; the latter, undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

How then shall we perform it?--At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?-- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!--All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

I hope I am over wary; but if I am not, there is, even now, something of ill-omen, amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice. This disposition is awfully fearful in any community; and that it now exists in ours, though grating to our feelings to admit, it would be a violation of truth, and an insult to our intelligence, to deny. Accounts of outrages committed by mobs, form the every-day news of the times. They have pervaded the country, from New England to Louisiana;--they are neither peculiar to the eternal snows of the former, nor the burning suns of the latter;--they are not the creature of climate-- neither are they confined to the slave-holding, or the non-slave- holding States. Alike, they spring up among the pleasure hunting masters of Southern slaves, and the order loving citizens of the land of steady habits.--Whatever, then, their cause may be, it is common to the whole country.

It would be tedious, as well as useless, to recount the horrors of all of them. Those happening in the State of Mississippi, and at St. Louis, are, perhaps, the most dangerous in example and revolting to humanity. In the Mississippi case, they first commenced by hanging the regular gamblers; a set of men, certainly not following for a livelihood, a very useful, or very honest occupation; but one which, so far from being forbidden by the laws, was actually licensed by an act of the Legislature, passed but a single year before. Next, negroes, suspected of conspiring to raise an insurrection, were caught up and hanged in all parts of the State: then, white men, supposed to be leagued with the negroes; and finally, strangers, from neighboring States, going thither on business, were, in many instances subjected to the same fate. Thus went on this process of hanging, from gamblers to negroes, from negroes to white citizens, and from these to strangers; till, dead men were seen literally dangling from the boughs of trees upon every road side; and in numbers almost sufficient, to rival the native Spanish moss of the country, as a drapery of the forest.

Turn, then, to that horror-striking scene at St. Louis. A single victim was only sacrificed there. His story is very short; and is, perhaps, the most highly tragic, if anything of its length, that has ever been witnessed in real life. A mulatto man, by the name of McIntosh, was seized in the street, dragged to the suburbs of the city, chained to a tree, and actually burned to death; and all within a single hour from the time he had been a freeman, attending to his own business, and at peace with the world.

Such are the effects of mob law; and such as the scenes, becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of law and order; and the stories of which, have even now grown too familiar, to attract any thing more, than an idle remark.

But you are, perhaps, ready to ask, "What has this to do with the perpetuation of our political institutions?" I answer, it has much to do with it. Its direct consequences are, comparatively speaking, but a small evil; and much of its danger consists, in the proneness of our minds, to regard its direct, as its only consequences. Abstractly considered, the hanging of the gamblers at Vicksburg, was of but little consequence. They constitute a portion of population, that is worse than useless in any community; and their death, if no pernicious example be set by it, is never matter of reasonable regret with any one. If they were annually swept, from the stage of existence, by the plague or small pox, honest men would, perhaps, be much profited, by the operation.--Similar too, is the correct reasoning, in regard to the burning of the negro at St. Louis. He had forfeited his life, by the perpetuation of an outrageous murder, upon one of the most worthy and respectable citizens of the city; and had not he died as he did, he must have died by the sentence of the law, in a very short time afterwards. As to him alone, it was as well the way it was, as it could otherwise have been.--But the example in either case, was fearful.--When men take it in their heads to day, to hang gamblers, or burn murderers, they should recollect, that, in the confusion usually attending such transactions, they will be as likely to hang or burn some one who is neither a gambler nor a murderer as one who is; and that, acting upon the example they set, the mob of to-morrow, may, and probably will, hang or burn some of them by the very same mistake. And not only so; the innocent, those who have ever set their faces against violations of law in every shape, alike with the guilty, fall victims to the ravages of mob law; and thus it goes on, step by step, till all the walls erected for the defense of the persons and property of individuals, are trodden down, and disregarded. But all this even, is not the full extent of the evil.--By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become, absolutely unrestrained.--Having ever regarded Government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations; and pray for nothing so much, as its total annihilation. While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a Government that offers them no protection; and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose. Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocractic spirit, which all must admit, is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any Government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed--I mean the attachment of the People. Whenever this effect shall be produced among us; whenever the vicious portion of population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity; depend on it, this Government cannot last. By such things, the feelings of the best citizens will become more or less alienated from it; and thus it will be left without friends, or with too few, and those few too weak, to make their friendship effectual. At such a time and under such circumstances, men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity, strike the blow, and overturn that fair fabric, which for the last half century, has been the fondest hope, of the lovers of freedom, throughout the world.

I know the American People are much attached to their Government;--I know they would suffer much for its sake;--I know they would endure evils long and patiently, before they would ever think of exchanging it for another. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.

Here then, is one point at which danger may be expected.

The question recurs, "how shall we fortify against it?" The answer is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;--let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children's liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap--let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;--let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise, for the redress of which, no legal provisions have been made.--I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say, that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force, for the sake of example, they should be religiously observed. So also in unprovided cases. If such arise, let proper legal provisions be made for them with the least possible delay; but, till then, let them, if not too intolerable, be borne with.

There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. In any case that arises, as for instance, the promulgation of abolitionism, one of two positions is necessarily true; that is, the thing is right within itself, and therefore deserves the protection of all law and all good citizens; or, it is wrong, and therefore proper to be prohibited by legal enactments; and in neither case, is the interposition of mob law, either necessary, justifiable, or excusable.

But, it may be asked, why suppose danger to our political institutions? Have we not preserved them for more than fifty years? And why may we not for fifty times as long?

We hope there is no sufficient reason. We hope all dangers may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise, would itself be extremely dangerous. There are now, and will hereafter be, many causes, dangerous in their tendency, which have not existed heretofore; and which are not too insignificant to merit attention. That our government should have been maintained in its original form from its establishment until now, is not much to be wondered at. It had many props to support it through that period, which now are decayed, and crumbled away. Through that period, it was felt by all, to be an undecided experiment; now, it is understood to be a successful one.--Then, all that sought celebrity and fame, and distinction, expected to find them in the success of that experiment. Their all was staked upon it:-- their destiny was inseparably linked with it. Their ambition aspired to display before an admiring world, a practical demonstration of the truth of a proposition, which had hitherto been considered, at best no better, than problematical; namely, the capability of a people to govern themselves. If they succeeded, they were to be immortalized; their names were to be transferred to counties and cities, and rivers and mountains; and to be revered and sung, and toasted through all time. If they failed, they were to be called knaves and fools, and fanatics for a fleeting hour; then to sink and be forgotten. They succeeded. The experiment is successful; and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so. But the game is caught; and I believe it is true, that with the catching, end the pleasures of the chase. This field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?--Never! Towering genius distains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.--It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us? And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.

Here, then, is a probable case, highly dangerous, and such a one as could not have well existed heretofore.

Another reason which once was; but which, to the same extent, is now no more, has done much in maintaining our institutions thus far. I mean the powerful influence which the interesting scenes of the revolution had upon the passions of the people as distinguished from their judgment. By this influence, the jealousy, envy, and avarice, incident to our nature, and so common to a state of peace, prosperity, and conscious strength, were, for the time, in a great measure smothered and rendered inactive; while the deep-rooted principles of hate, and the powerful motive of revenge, instead of being turned against each other, were directed exclusively against the British nation. And thus, from the force of circumstances, the basest principles of our nature, were either made to lie dormant, or to become the active agents in the advancement of the noblest cause--that of establishing and maintaining civil and religious liberty.

But this state of feeling must fade, is fading, has faded, with the circumstances that produced it.

I do not mean to say, that the scenes of the revolution are now or ever will be entirely forgotten; but that like every thing else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the bible shall be read;-- but even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it heretofore has been. Even then, they cannot be so universally known, nor so vividly felt, as they were by the generation just gone to rest. At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or brother, a living history was to be found in every family-- a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of wounds received, in the midst of the very scenes related--a history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned.--But those histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done; the leveling of its walls. They are gone.--They were a forest of giant oaks; but the all-resistless hurricane has swept over them, and left only, here and there, a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage; unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few gentle breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs, a few more ruder storms, then to sink, and be no more.

They were the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.--Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken our WASHINGTON.

Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler.



Excerpt from E. Dirksen Notebook, n.d.
Written: 1964

It is time to answer some of the political venality, the innuendo, the false implications which have sprung up in connection with the Civil Rights proposals. In my judgment, they are as deliberate as they are false; they are as calculated as they are shameful. It is incredible that men in high places would stoop to initiate such things.

As an example, I cite the cartoon in the New York Herald Tribune of July 9, 1963, showing the Republican Party as a character on his death bier with lilies in his hand labeled [sic] "Lily Whites." The cartoon bears the caption "Voice Of The Future?" The insinuation is equally clear also. Unless the Republicans conform to the demands of the Administration and provide the votes necessary to approve the Administration program it will mean and odious tag for the Party and it's demise. That may be the view of Mr. Whitney, Mr. Thayer and their associates even as it might have been the view of their predecessor Horace Greeley a 100 years ago and it might well be that they are as short-sighted, as erroneous and as uncomprehending as Mr. Greeley.

First, let me point out that in this Senate are 67 members bearing the Democrat label. It takes only a majority to enact the Administration bill, namely 51. It takes 67 to impose cloture if cloture is needed. I say to the President, that his Party has enough members to do both jobs. If as he said to me, the job cannot be done without Republicans, perhaps he should turn the reins of gov't over to Republicans. With such a top-heavy majority, we would not find it necessary to turn to his Party for results.

Secondly, let me refresh the liberal Democrats on some of their own traditions. You would brand us as the Lily White Party and sow cleavage in our country, even though are record on Civil Rights will stand up beside your record at anytime. But go back a little. In June of 1860, you convened at Baltimore and nominated Stephen A. Douglas from my own state for the Presidency on your ticket. This is the same Stephen A. Douglas who stood at Charlestown, Illinois on Sept. 18, 1858 in one of the great debates with Abraham Lincoln and said:

"I say that this gov't was established on the white basis. It was made for white men, for the benefit of white men and for their posterity forever and never should be administered by any except white men."

There is your tradition and yet you would have the effrontery to speak of Republicans as the Lily White Party. Who may I ask freed the slaves? Who may I ask set in motion the Emancipation Proclamation? Who may I ask initiated the 13th,14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution to provide the safeguards for their freedom and equality? Who initiated the first meaningful and substantial Civil Rights legislation in 80 years if it was not done by President Eisenhower? Who gave impetus to the School desegregation cases if it was not a Republican Attorney General?

But you would have us throw conviction overboard and ignore the Constitution in the same blythe [sic] way in which you are willing to ignore it if and when it suits your purpose. And you would have us do it by making it appear that we betray the patron saint of your party, Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps you should read your history a little more carefully. You might find another PROFILE IN COURAGE. That impatient, angry old man Horace Greeley, operating thro a White House grapevine -- and refusing to go to Washington and see President Lincoln -- used his notorious "PRAYER OF THE TWENTY MILLIONS" to berate Lincoln, to express his pain and disappointment that greater progress was not being made in the liberation of the slaves. That open letter of Greeley's appeared while the Emancipation Proclamation was already written. But Lincoln chose to answer Greeley by direct letter on August 22, 1862 and set forth his estimate of his official duty. In that letter he said,

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not to save or destroy slavery... What I do about slavery and the colored race I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. . . I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free."

We have a duty and a view of our duty. For one thing, it is to respect the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court as the law of the land, especially so when uttered in a line of cases involving a construction of the Constitution of the United States. Is it for us to legislate on a speculation as to what this instant Court will do, as the Attorney General seems to be doing. Is our regard for the Court a betrayal of Lincoln? Is our devotion to the Constitution a betrayal of Lincoln? Is our conviction that Title II of the Administrations Bill is unconstitutional a betrayal of Lincoln?

All this gives point to one thing -- an election if coming. What can be done to smear the Republican Party? In a paraphrase of one of your leaders long ago, you shall not press a false crown of thorns upon us; you shall not crucify us upon a cross of color. On this issue, we shall be glad to go to the people, not in the streets as you would have it but at the Ballot box for this is still a government by all of the people, for a all of the people and by all of the people.



Everett McKinley Dirksen's Finest Hour: June 10, 1964

NOTE: The following article was published originally in the Peoria Journal Star on June 10, 2004.

Forty years ago marks a civil rights milestone. On June 10, 1964, the Senate voted to end a five-months-long debate on what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Between February and June, Senate opponents of the bill had proposed over 500 amendments designed to weaken the measure. Yet after 534 hours, 1 minute, and 51 seconds, the longest filibuster in the history of the United States was broken. Pekin's Everett McKinley Dirksen, then Senate Minority Leader, provided the votes that made cloture, the procedure for ending debate, possible. It was his greatest moment as a legislator.

The nation teetered on the edge of a racial divide in the mid-1960s. Frustrated by decades of second-class treatment, African-Americans were losing patience with their country's legal and political institutions and turning to direct action to secure their rights. Only 12,000 of the 3,000,000 African-American students in the South attended integrated schools. African-American life expectancy was seven years fewer than white, infant mortality twice as great.

Nineteen sixty three and 1964 were the years of civil rights marches in Birmingham, Alabama, the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in Mississippi, the March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, "I Have a Dream" speech, John F. Kennedy's assassination, and the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. "To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious," James Baldwin asserted in 1961, "is to be in a rage all the time."

At long last, the White House and Congress awakened to the need to strength civil rights law. Beginning in June 1963, first Presidents John F. Kenney and then Lyndon Johnson cajoled and threatened Congress into action. The House of Representatives passed a bill, known as H.R. 7152, in early 1964 and sent it to the Senate on February 17 where the real battle would take place. Senate rules had allowed southerners in the past to mount filibusters, effectively killing nearly all civil rights legislation. Passage depended on getting the Senate to vote for cloture, a procedure to end debate and bring a bill to a vote. Cloture required the votes of two-thirds of the Senate. Democrats numbered 67, exactly two-thirds of the one hundred-member Senate. But 21 of the 67 came from southern states. This so-called "southern bloc" would oppose the measure vigorously and lead the filibuster. The White House and the Senate Democrats needed support from at least 22 of the Senate's 33 Republicans.

From the beginning, the pro-civil rights forces knew that Dirksen was the key to achieving cloture. When the Senate received the House-passed bill, Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT) issued the challenge. "We hope in vain," he said, "if we hope that this issue can be put over safely to another tomorrow, to be dealt with by another generation of senators. The time is now. The crossroads is here in the Senate." He then turned to face Dirksen. "I appeal to the distinguished minority leader whose patriotism has always taken precedence over his partisanship, to join with me, and I know he will, in finding the Senate's best contribution at this time to the resolution of this grave national issue."

The senator from Illinois replied: "I trust that the time will never come in my political career when the waters of partisanship will flow so swift and so deep as to obscure my estimate of the national interest. . . . I trust I can disenthrall myself from all bias, from all prejudice, from all irrelevancies, from all immaterial matters, and see clearly and cleanly what the issue is and then render an independent judgment."

Dirksen played the central role in steering the civil rights bill along its twisting parliamentary path through the Senate. The wily, hard-working Republican leader used his personal charm, legendary knowledge of Senate rules, and finely honed political instincts to convince enough Republicans to vote for cloture and the bill's passage to overcome southern Democrats' opposition. He was asked to deliver Republican votes in support of a Democratic president who could not bring along enough of his own party to seal the deal.

Seal the deal he did. And the capstone to that effort occurred forty years ago on June 10, 1964. Time Magazine reported the historic details. Dirksen arose at 5:00 a.m. on that Wednesday, and, after a light breakfast, went out to his garden to clip some long-stemmed roses to take to the office. Leaving his farm in Virginia shortly after 8:00 in his chauffeur-driven limousine, Dirksen arrived at the Senate just as Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) was completing his marathon address of 14 hours and 13 minutes, the longest speech in the entire debate. It ended at 9:51 a.m, just nine minutes before the Senate was scheduled to convene for the pivotal vote on cloture.

Dirksen had the last word. In poor health, drained from working fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen-hour days, his words came quietly. Twice he gulped pills handed him by a Senate page. In his massive left hand, he held a 12-page speech he had typed the night before on Senate stationery . "I have had but one purpose," Dirksen intoned, "and that was the enactment of a good, workable, equitable, practical bill having due regard for the progress made in the civil rights field at the state and local level."

He warned his colleagues that "we dare not temporize with the issue which is before us. It is essentially moral in character. It must be resolved. It will not go away. It's time has come." He quoted Victor Hugo, the historian and French philosopher who, on the night he died, entered these words in his diary: "stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come." Dirksen declared, "The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied. It is here!" His last words were these: "I appeal to all Senators. We are confronted with a moral issue. Today let us not be found wanting in whatever it takes by way of moral and spiritual substance to face up to the issue and to vote cloture."

Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only once in the thirty-seven years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure. The clerk proceeded to call the roll at 11:00 a.m. At 11:15 a.m., Republican Senator John Williams of Delaware replied "aye" to the question. It was the 67th vote; cloture had passed by a vote of 71 to 29. The final count showed 44 Democrats and 27 Republicans voting for cloture with 23 Democrats - 20 from the South -- and only 6 Republicans opposed.

The formal Senate vote on the bill took place on June 19th. It passed overwhelmingly, 73-27. Majority Leader Mansfield said of Dirksen, "This is his finest hour. The Senate, the whole country is in debt to the Senator from Illinois."

Editorial opinion saluted Dirksen. For example, the Chicago Defender, the largest black-owned daily in the world, which had pilloried Dirksen for weeks, changed its tune and praised him "for the grand manner of his generalship behind the passage of the best civil rights measures that have ever been enacted into law since Reconstruction." Bill O'Connell, the Peoria Journal Star's political writer, suggested that Dirksen might join the Republican ticket in the Fall as the vice presidential candidate partly because of his performance on the civil rights bill.

Among the many private letters Dirksen received, one stands out. Two days after the historic cloture vote, Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, wrote a two-page letter to the Republican leader. "Let me be the first to admit that I was in error in estimating your preliminary announcements and moves," Wilkins noted. He and other civil rights leaders had feared that Dirksen would gut the bill through amendment during the Senate debate. Wilkins allowed that "there were certain realities which had to be taken into account in advancing this legislation to a vote. Out of your long experience you devised an approach which seemed to you to offer a chance for success." He called the final vote tally, with the majority including 27 of the 33 Senate Republicans, a "resounding vote" which "tended mightily to reinforce your judgment and to vindicate your procedure."

After commenting on particular sections of Dirksen's June 10th speech, Wilkins concluded with these words: "With the passage of the bill . . . the cause of human rights and the commitment of a great, democratic government to protect the guarantees embodied in its constitution will have taken a giant step forward. Your leadership of the Republican party in the Senate at this turning point will become a significant part of the history of this century."

Dirksen appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on June 19th. When asked by a reporter why he had taken the lead, Dirksen replied, "I come of immigrant German stock. My mother stood on Ellis Island as a child of 17, with a tag around her neck directing that she be sent to Pekin, Illinois. Our family had opportunities in Illinois, and the essence of what we're trying to do in the civil rights bill is to see that others have opportunities in this country."



No correlation: Civil rights and illegals' rights
By Herman Cain
Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens and their supporters voluntarily stepped out of the shadows last week by waving the Mexican flag and marching in the streets. The blatant flaunting of their illegal status in cities across the nation was in protest of legislation passed by the U.S. House that, if enacted, will create felons out of the approximately 11 million illegal aliens currently residing on American soil.

The arrogant sense of entitlement displayed by many illegal aliens has caused some of them to demand protection of constitutional rights guaranteed to legal U.S. citizens. Many of them even equate their situation to the civil rights struggle by black Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers Union (UFWU), said last week at a rally, “We’re here celebrating a new civil rights movement, and it’s headed up by Latinos.” Ms. Huerta is deliberately misleading her followers. There is no parallel between the struggle by legal black U.S. citizens to secure their constitutionally guaranteed protections and the claim on non-existent civil rights made by millions of illegal aliens. Illegal is not a civil right.

Leaders of the long struggle for civil rights aspired to secure and protect rights based on an ideal written in the Declaration of Independence and later codified in the U.S. Constitution. That is, that all men and women are created equal, and in the U.S. all legal citizens will be guaranteed equal protection of the laws.

The 20th Century civil rights movement was preceded by nearly 250 years of slavery, followed by nearly a century of discrimination, segregation and Jim Crow laws. The movement ultimately achieved a number of legal and legislative victories, including the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The key difference between the civil rights movement of the 19th and 20th Centuries and the call today for protection of non-existent rights by leaders of illegal aliens is that the leaders of the civil rights movement were fighting to secure and protect the rights of legal citizens. If illegal aliens were conferred the same constitutional rights as legal U.S. citizens, the benefits and uniqueness of U.S. citizenship would cease to have meaning and our nation would lose its sovereignty.

The leaders of the civil rights movement did not seek extra-constitutional rights or benefits. They merely sought the protection of their right to participate fully in society and government with the vote, and they sought to overturn the discriminatory laws that prevented them from participating fully in the economy. Conversely, leaders of the movement to secure rights for illegal aliens – as well as their supporters in Congress – want to undermine and destroy the Constitution and the rights it guarantees legal U.S. citizens.

Just as Ms. Huerta is misleading her followers on the facts of the 20th Century civil rights movement, she is deliberately deceiving them about Cesar Chavez’s views toward illegal aliens. Steve Salier, in the February 27, 2006 issue of The American Conservative, writes that the late Mr. Chavez was a successful labor organizer and union leader who fought for reforms in wages and working conditions for farm workers. Chavez keenly understood the basic relationship between wages and labor supply in a market economy – more supply equals lower wages. To protect the interests of his UFWU members, Chavez had to insure that illegal aliens willing to toil in harsh conditions for low pay did not dilute the domestic labor supply.

Cesar Chavez was surely proud of his Hispanic heritage but, like civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., he fought to protect the rights and interests of legal U.S. citizens.

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln delivered his “House Divided” speech to the Illinois Republican State Convention. Regarding the issue of slavery Lincoln stated, “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.”

Similarly, a nation divided between its laws and lawlessness cannot stand.

President Bush and Congress are sending a message to legal U.S. citizens and the world that they are willing to tolerate a “house divided” by allowing 11 million illegal aliens to openly break the law. They are then willing to stand by and watch the illegal aliens flaunt their lawbreaking in our streets while waving the flag of their native country.

We are a nation of legal immigrants, and there is a road to citizenship. Along that road are legal entry, our Constitution, the rule of law and the flag of the United States of America.


This is the flag we salute and honor.
No other flag flies above this one.


1860 - In November, Abraham Lincoln is elected President. On the 20th of December, South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the Union.

       In Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303 (1880), the Supreme Court holds that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from excluding
       blacks from juries

Black disenfranchisement unfolds through a typical pattern in many states at the turn of the century. Black participation in elections is reduced through force and fraud. Legislatures controlled by Democrats enact complex voter registration requirements that reduce the number of black votes. Amendments to state constitutions impose poll taxes and literacy tests.

In Giles v. Harris, 189 U.S. 475 (1903), the so-called "black disenfranchisement" case, the Supreme Court effectively acquiesces in these practices and upholds Alabama's voter registration scheme. Justice Holmes rejects the claim that the state is trying to prevent blacks from registering to vote. More importantly, even if that was the goal, Holmes argues, there is nothing that the Supreme Court can do to prevent it: "Apart from damages to the individual, relief from a great political wrong, if done, as alleged, by the people of a state and the state itself, must be given by them or by the legislative and political department of the government of the United States."

The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing women the right to vote.

Beginning in the early 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan experiences a revitalization. The Klan attracts over 100,000 members across the nation and dominates state governments in Indiana and Oregon

Between 1889 and 1941, approximately 3,842 lynchings are recorded.

President Roosevelt establishes a Fair Employment Practices Commission. In a series of Executive Orders during the War, the Roosevelt administration expands the employment of blacks in the federal bureaucracy and writes "no discrimination" clauses into war contracts.

The United States enters World War II after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor.

Congress passes 18 U.S.C. §1509, making the obstruction of federal court desegregation orders a crime.

On the 1st, four freshmen from all-black North Carolina A&T College sit down at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, vowing to stay until the management agrees to desegregate it. No one serves them, and the store closes half an hour early. Eventually, lunch counter sit-ins take place across the state as well as in other parts of the South. The sit-in eventually becomes a vital tactic for civil rights protesters. A new organization, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), grows out of the sit-ins.

John F. Kennedy is elected President.

In Boynton v. Virginia, 364 U.S. 454 (1960), the Supreme Court holds that a black patron of a restaurant located in an interstate bus terminal has a federal statutory right to be served without discrimination.

The percentage of white students attending predominantly white schools drops from 78% in 1968 to 61% in 1980. The percentage of black students attending schools that are at least 90% minority drops from 64.3% in 1968 to 33.2% in 1980.

The Supreme Court upholds an affirmative action program for federal contractors in Fullilove v. Klutznick, 448 U.S. 448 (1980).

Ronald Reagan is elected President

Florida abolishes affirmative action in public schools and public contracting.

The Tulsa Race Riot Commission recommends to the Oklahoma state legislature that reparations be paid to the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921.

The South Carolina Senate passes a compromise bill that would remove the Confederate battle flag from above the state capitol and place it next to a confederate war memorial. The flag is finally lowered from the capitol dome on July 1st.

The U.S. Civil Rights Chronology

Civil Rights Policy Statement


As Secretary of Agriculture, I am firmly committed to ensuring the civil rights of all of USDA's customers and employees. Each person shall be treated with respect, dignity and equality. It is a standard I will continue to follow, and I expect each USDA employee to embrace this important commitment.

All employees and customers of USDA shall be free from reprisal or discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, political beliefs, parental status, receipt of public assistance, or protected genetic information.

By our words and actions, each of us must demonstrate a commitment to equal opportunity for all individuals. We must strive for a workplace that respects differences and embraces diversity. Our programs and services must be accessible and delivered to all of our customers fairly and with dignity. There can be no exceptions or excuses. Together, we will continue to make the "People's Department" truly worthy of Abraham Lincoln's great vision.

Mike Johanns



Editor's note: In my research, I came upon a really negative statement that Abraham Lincoln said before he was elected President. These days, we would call someone like this a 'flip flopper' in modern terms, but if someone can change their minds from the negative to the positive, then we should give people credit for it.  Personally, I was stunned to see the following statement that Abraham Lincoln made, but if I ignored it and a scholar wrote me later and accused me of only saying the 'good' stuff and ignoring the 'bad', then I wouldn't be considered a good researcher. Thus, I am sharing what Abraham Lincoln said, 'before' he came to his senses as well.
End note:

Prior to his presidency, Abraham Lincoln was a racist through and through. He believed in white supremacy and said so publicly. Just two years before winning the White House, Lincoln told a cheering crowd in 1858:

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races — that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people, and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the black and white races which I believe will forever forbid the
two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Later, Abraham said,  "I believe this Government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free."

When the world accepted slavery as a justifiable and necessary institution, Abraham Lincoln said, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master."

Abraham Lincoln said when they accused him of changing his position, "I'd rather be right some of the time than wrong all the time."

Abraham Lincoln said, “The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation should be one uniting working people of all nations and tongues and kindreds.”

Abraham Lincoln was making his way by train to the inauguration in Washington. On February 22nd, 1860 he was in Philadelphia and at Independence Hall and he stopped to say a few words for the festivities honoring the first President, George Washington.

"Finally, my fellow citizens, it is not the Presidents, not the Congress, not the office seekers, but to you whom the question remains, "Shall the liberties be preserved until the next generation?"

Abraham Lincoln said: "Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all."

Abraham said, "I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true, I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."

He said," A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have."

Abraham Lincoln said, in Independence Hall, February 22nd, 1861: "I never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence."

Abraham Lincoln said, "As a nation of free men we must live through all time, or die by suicide . . . We shall meanly lose or nobly save the last hope of man."

Abraham Lincoln said it best when he stated: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

Abraham Lincoln said, "We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny."

Abraham Lincoln said, "Whatever you are, be a good one."

James Madison said, "The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience, be in any manner, nor on any pretext, infringed."



Abraham Lincoln said, "Study the Constitution and let it be preached from the pulpit,
proclaimed in legislature, and enforced in the courts of justice!"

Abraham Lincoln said, "Freedom is as necessary to the health and vigor of commerce,
as it is to the health and vigor of citizenship."