It would not seem a safe time to critique the wisdom, motivations, and character of Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg’s reverential motion picture epic Lincoln fills screens across America. The public increasingly accepts him as America’s greatest leader.

Yet, such a pursuit is ever more important for a people hurtling forward into an uncertain future, to learn from past mistakes or merely become aware they made them. One growing consensus regarding Lincoln seems credible: He has exerted more influence over the development of this nation than any other person, including the Founders. If Washington be the father of our country, surely Lincoln is its stepfather.

The American Civil War was a dark chapter in America's history. Yet it did produce those who merited respect and honor. David O. Dodd was one such individual, though only a boy. He refused to betray his native Arkansas, and as a consequence was hanged as a spy by Union forces.

One hundred and fifty years ago, on September 30, 1862, Bismarck defended big military expenditures and military aggression in defense of statecraft. The result has not been good.

Fifty years ago, Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring. The politically correct pseudo-science therein was largely responsible for the banning of DDT in much of the world, resulting in perhaps hundreds of millions of deaths.

September 19, 2012 marked the 216th anniversary of George Washington’s Farewell Address. Deservedly so, this speech has become renowned for its prose and principles — including national unity, tolerance of political differences, and neutrality in the endless foreign conflicts. To avoid the plague of perpetual war, Washington warns against “foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues.” Sadly, our modern proclivity is to surrender sovereignty to international bodies whose members are not elected and thus not accountable to the American people, and to send monetary and military support to “freedom fighters” in the Middle East.

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