On this day, November 19th, 149 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln gave one of the most famous speeches in United States history– the Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln read his inspiring speech at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The cemetery was where, months earlier, over 50,000 American (Union and Confederacy) soldiers died. The Civil War claimed over 620,000 American lives – a number that is estimated because not all of the bodies were recovered. This war resulted in families being torn apart and cities being burned to the ground; but yet, the talk of Civil War has emerged again… all because President Barack Obama was reelected.
All fifty states have started petitions about having their state seceding from the United States, but the top seven states (Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) are all from the South. Texas boasts of a petition of over 100,000 signatures; though in a state where the population is over 25 million, the petition only represents .0039% of the population. These petitioners actually believe that their state can stand alone, yet it was the original settlers of Texas who chose to be a part of the United States. These petitioners believe that they can protect themselves from other countries, but the Texans needed help from the United States during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s. These people believe they can make a profit, yet six of these seven states account for 23% of aid received from the federal government. Most of these states have tried to leave the United States before and it resulted in a bloody battle; as the philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.” The possibility of the states seceding from the United States is slim as the Civil War showed.
As talk of secession continues, the talk of a possible Civil War has appeared in discussions amongst the social media websites. The people talk as though Civil War is needed in order to demonstrate how corrupt the United States has become…yet do they realize how over 620,000 Americans died in the last war. And in a world of planes, bombs, and drones, that number would only be greater. Are these petitioners willing to risk their lives to fight against their fellow countrymen because President Obama was re-elected? The first Civil War resulted after decades of issues, including: states’ rights, slavery, confusing territory outlines, international trading, and differing economy. The election of a Republican president was the final straw for the South since the states soon seceding after President Lincoln was elected. The fact that the petitioners want their state to leave the United States because someone they didn’t like was chosen as president is insulting to the original Southerners who had more than one reason to want to leave the country. The petitioners also argue that the United States is a corrupt country, even though the American people participated in democracy and chose their leader – a type of government that is uncommon worldwide. There are other countries where the people have no say in electing their countries’ leaders, but here in the United States, the White House has to waste time reviewing these petitions.
When people delightfully talk about a Civil War being probable, it appears as though they have never were taught about the Gettysburg Battle, the bloodiest battle on the American soil that took place during the original Civil War. The Gettysburg Battle took place in three days (July 1-3, 1863) but resulted in over 50,000 soldiers dying. Months later, President Abraham Lincoln was asked to attend and speak at the dedication of the cemetery. The speech was small, but yet it sent a message. President Lincoln said “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here” yet it seems as though people have forgotten how horrible war is. They forgot about the sight of blood, the smell of dead bodies, the tears of family members – they forgot how soldiers risked their lives to bring back the Southern states. “These dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” said President Lincoln, stating how the Civil War was a test on the United States’ strength and that it would survive the war… and he was right.
The United States is a land of freedom where every adult can vote for president. Instead of signing their names on a piece of paper, the petitioners should be productive and focus on what they can do to better the country or if they want, they can leave the United States on their own. But acting as though a possible Civil War is justified through the reelection of President Obama – it is insulting to everyone who fought in the Civil War.