A park ranger dressed in a greenish-grey uniform came out to address the crowd lined-up outside Ford’s theater in Washington DC. The park ranger said audibly, “All those with 1:30pm tickets come on in!” My brother and I had those tickets, and we inched forward to enter the theater where Abraham Lincoln was shot.
While in the theater, another ranger stood up to give a historical presentation. The ranger taught that Lincoln loved to go to plays, because plays helped distract him from the war. Also presented, after Lincoln’s assassination, the theater was condemned by the public, and the public wanted to burn the theater down. The government stepped in to save the theater and use it as a headquarters. Several years later, the building would be converted back into a theater for its historical nature.
After the presentation, my brother and I went down to the museum on Lincoln and we went across the street to the Peterson house. As I read up on the life of Lincoln, I couldn’t help but be impressed with Lincoln. Lincoln despised slavery and seemingly made it a personal mission to end slavery. With the looming secession of the south and civil war, Lincoln philosophized about how essential it is for the Union to stay together, no matter the differences. As well, Lincoln was a kind gentleman to the people around him. With everything that I learned, I personally believe that Lincoln was perhaps “too old for his time”.
There is one additional reason why I was impressed with Lincoln. I know that Lincoln did act like a tyrant during the Civil War. There were civil liberties that he disregarded during the war, and he, in one perspective, trampled on the economy of the south. But, I further gained the perspective on Lincoln that, in a time of desperation, he needed action. Also, he had lived his life with upstanding morals as a result of reading books and appreciating the content he read. With the lense of analyzing history, Lincoln probably acted all in good conscious during his tenure as president.
But I do wonder about if I had lived in Lincoln’s time period. He wasn’t generally popular by any means. The South hated him and his despotic actions. Not all of the north was in love with him. Some northern people were more focused on ending the war, and they had no regard for slavery. Had I been in the day, would I have supported Lincoln? I hope that I would have risen over the culture of the day and support him and his actions.
My brother and I ended the day by walking down to the Lincoln Memorial. While walking around that temple to Lincoln, I could observe on the northern and southern walls important speeches that Lincoln gave: the Gettysburg and his second inaugural addresses. In those speeches, Lincoln shared how important a democracy and liberty is, and a hope towards a better future where all could live under those banners. I hope that Lincoln’s true legacy continues, and his actions are revered rather than used as a talking point. Liberty is essential for all people, because we are all created equal.