April 16, 2015

PLAYING FOOTSIE WITH THE CONFEDERATES WAS DESPICABLE:

Abraham Lincoln assassination: How Britain mourned 150 years ago (Professor Richard Carwardine, 15 Apr 2015, The Telegraph)

This was no local American tragedy. Booth's shot ricocheted around the world. Nowhere did it prompt more profound emotions abroad than in Britain. As reports of the "odious wickedness" spread, grown men wept openly in the streets. American consulates were deluged by a blizzard of condolences, from Aberdeen to Waterford, Anglesey to York.

Official voices - Lords and Commons; town and borough councils - were only part of the story. An anguished people spoke out through a striking range of voluntary agencies, including working men's clubs, church bodies, antislavery societies, Sunday schools, freemasons, rifle volunteers, chambers of commerce, temperance associations, universities, secularists, literary societies and theatre groups.

Their expression of intense loss was not summer snow. Lincoln had lastingly touched the nerve of British progressive sentiment. Here was the humane emancipator of his country's slaves, the re-unifier of the broken American republic, the advocate of democracy and representative government, and the man of the people. Here, in sum, was the welcoming doorkeeper to the modern world.

He inspired liberals, radicals, socialists and all those who challenged ancestral privilege, celebrated the dignity of labour, and worked to widen life chances. In a typical lament, Bristol suffrage reformers grieved at the loss of a leader who sought to confer "the blessings of equal rights and privileges on all, without distinction of party, creed, or colour."

Posted by at April 16, 2015 7:29 PM
  

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