I believe the United States has as its chief value in the world its aspirational qualities, and I believe that those qualities are best expressed in the Constitution and its supporting documents, particularly the Federalist Papers. The Constitution, a living document, is, like all scripture, flawed.
The 3/5ths Rule, for starters was the seed for the horrors of the war I’ve spent the weekend thinking about, but we spent the next century plus– up to and including now, today– addressing the problems created by the country’s economic dependence on chattel slavery in an incomplete and unsatisfactory manner. It’s great that we have the 14th Amendment, but it would be a far better thing if we had more Supreme Court Justices that believed that the 14th Amendment means what it says.
It occurred to me that both the strength and weakness of the United States is that some of its people believe that ideals are achievement.
So this is an overly broad, open-ended question: How can America achieve its stated ideals? What does that look like?
President Lincoln gave an address at Gettysburg, which, contrary to his prediction, was greatly noted and long remembered.
After my brother-in-law and his family went to that education rally last month, as did The Wife, we all, including the Daughter, went to the State Museum, one of my favorite places. My wife and her brother took all the kids to the carousel, and his wife and I actually got to see the exhibits.
The pivotal display, one that will also be there until September 22, 2013, was An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War. “As the wealthiest and most populous state, the Empire State led all others in supplying men, money, and materiel to the causes of unity and freedom. New York’s experience provides significant insight into the reasons why the war was fought and the meaning that the Civil War holds today.”
The part on the Civil War itself has information on each year of the conflict. The picture above is from the July 1-3, 1863 conflict known as Gettysburg. There were at least 23,000 casualties on each side, with 6,800 coming from New York. Over 3,100 Union and 4,700 Confederate soldiers were killed, with more than 5,000 on each side captured or missing. It was a pivotal, though not decisive, battle in the Civil War.
The third part of the website addresses the Reconstruction.