Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Lincoln’
With the tragic bombing of the recent Boston marathon, there is talk of curtailing civil liberties in the U.S. Prominent people have called for the remaining bomber to be treated as an enemy combatant.
However Yahoo News has reported that:
“The White House announced Monday that the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will be tried in federal court for his alleged crimes. Press secretary Jay Carney flatly rebuffed demands from many Republicans that Tsarnaev be designated an “enemy combatant” in order to interrogate him without constitutional safeguards like access to a lawyer.” (By Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News | The Ticket – Mon, Apr 22, 2013, http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ti
Civil liberties were a consideration for Abraham Lincoln during the US Civil War. His administration suspended the writ of habuis corpus and he was critized for doing so. In an excellent September 11, 2012 interview through C-SPAN, historian Elizabeth Leonard pointed out that Lincoln basically said, should I protect one law, and at the same time have the whole nation collapse? (http://www.c-spanvideo.org/pr
This was also a consideration when trying those involved in the conspiracy to murder Lincoln and other high ranking government officials. Eight, including Mary Surrratt, were tried in the summer of 1865 by a military tribunal. This has been critized from that time up to today but I believe it was entirely proper. As I point out in my book, at the time of the 16th President’s murder, the United States was still at war. The last battle of the Civil War was fought at Palmito Hills, Texas by southern troops who were unaware of Lee’s surrender more than a month earlier. It wasn’t until August of 1866 that President Johnson proclaimed the insurrection to be at an end in the last of the Secessionist states, Texas. There were other good reasons for the trial by military commission.
John Surratt was finally caught and brought to trial two years after Lincoln’s assassination, after being sheltered by Catholic officials and in Catholic institutions. Charles Chiniquy essentially said that, like what happened to him, there was a Catholic plan to pack the jury and tamper with justice and there is good evidence that happened with Surratt. In her book, The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln, Kate Clifford Larson declared: “much more evidence was introduced shedding light on the extensiveness of the conspiracy, as well as new details about Mary’s complicity in it. But despite the new evidence, John’s case ended in a mistrial – the civilian jury was packed with Southern sympathizers.” Yes, southern sympathizers – read Catholics.Elizabeth Leonard was a historical consultant of the Redford Lincoln film on Mary Surratt and she and I corresponded regarding this movie. Her input was apparently ignored by Redford and she does not have high regard for this film, a view I share.
Re: N. R. Ward’s Oct 12 letter. Mr. Ward writes from a position of relative ignorance, I suggest. I researched Charles Chiniquy’s claims over a period of twenty-two years in libraries, archives, etc, across the U.S.and found no significant mistakes. His papers include an 1885 letter from Robert Todd Lincoln, who declared that he was his father’s best friend. I also discovered that Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who headed the official US government investigation into Lincoln’s murder, and who effectively ran the United States in the days after the assassination, believed the murder was the result of a Catholic plot.
Regarding whether Chiniquy and Stanton were right, whether it’s relevant today and what’s “disingenuous”, one thinks of Robert Redford’s 2011 movie, The Conspirator. It concerns Mary Surratt, a devout Catholic, who became the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, for her participation in the conspiracy to murder Lincoln. I suggest Surratt remains an embarrassment to the Catholic Church. Funded by a Jesuit educated millionaire, I believe this explains why the movie the public widely saw portrayed her as innocent while the historians consulted for the movie, and a feature length documentary, said she was guilty.
Mr. Ward, are you foolish enough to think you know better than the only remaining member of Lincoln’s immediate family in 1885, as to who his friends were? Do you really think you know better than Edwin Stanton, as to who was ultimately responsible?
My findings are published in a book entitled, Who Killed Abraham Lincoln? You should get one and see if you can find some historical mistakes. The US Parks Service who run Ford’s Theatre bookstore which rejected Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Lincoln, haven’t found anything wrong with my work.
My letter was printed in the National Post this weekend. Below is my portion. And here is the link for reference http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/12/todays-letters-freedom-of-speech-for-all-even-pastor-terry-jones/
“Conrad Black penned an accurate and complimentary portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Many, however, do not know that there is an important Canadian connection to this towering American figure.
Lincoln’s best friend, according to his oldest son, was a citizen of Canada. A high-profile Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy persuaded roughly half of Quebec to give up drinking in the mid-19th century before accepting an invitation to go to Illinois to establish a French-Canadian Catholic colony, where he met Lincoln.
Chiniquy however, later committed the crime of leaving the Catholic Church and becoming an extremely effective critic of this religious organization. Though world famous in his lifetime, memories of him have been carefully suppressed by the mainstream media.”
Paul Serup, Prince George, B.C.,
So Joe Ricketts bankrolls a movie about Mary Surratt. “The Conspirator,” recounted the story of Mary Surratt, the only woman charged in the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. Directed by Robert Redford, “The Conspirator” was released in 2011. The movie alleges that Mrs. Surratt, the devout Catholic who holds the distinction of being the first woman ever executed by the US government, was really innocent. I believe she remains an embarrassment for the Roman Catholic Church today, so why would Mr. Ricketts bankroll this movie? Could it be that he is a Roman Catholic and he wants to help out his church? He certainly was educated Catholic, getting a degree from Creighton University at Omaha, Nebraska. According to the institution, “Creighton is a Jesuit university, rooted in the Catholic tradition. At Creighton we live this mission are guided by our identity”. Interesting.
What remains amazing about this film is that is the first movie by Rickett’s American Film Company and therefore according to the company’s mission statement, would “accurately portray extraordinary characters and events from American history”. The two DVD set comes with the movie on one DVD and also a feature-length documentary “The Conspirator: The Plot to Kill Lincoln” on the other one. The movie that the vast majority of the viewing public would have seen asserts that Mary Surratt was innocent, yet on the documentary, all the historical experts that were used as consultants for the film said she was guilty.
One of the historians consulted by the filmmakers was distinguished historian Elizabeth D. Leonard, John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History and Chair of the department atColbyCollege. Ms. Leonard is also the co-winner of the 2012 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. On the UNC Press Civil War 150 site, she made very interesting comments on the movie.
Professor Leonard stated: “My own experience of having most of my advice be dismissed by the filmmakers indicates to me that they had their own agenda, which overrode all other considerations about historical accuracy.” Fascinating. She also expressed her “concern that the emphasis on Stanton and Holt’s apparent malice and steely manipulation seems to crowd out any real possibility that Mary Surratt, who is depicted, in contrast, as a pious and long-suffering mother, was rightly found guilty!” You can visit here for a full review: http://uncpresscivilwar150.com/2011/05/elizabeth-d-leonard-a-historians-review-of-the-conspirator/
Yes, unfortunately there appears to be an interest in smearing the memory of the great patriot, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, to try to excuse Mary Surratt’s actions and depict her as being innocent but it is, of course, not based on historical fact.
A couple of days ago, I went to see Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter, as it was in my hometown. I had been interviewed by the CBC Radio Daybreak North (B.C.) show about the movie last week so I thought I would view it so at least if I was asked about it again I could answer with personal knowledge of the movie.
I went with a friend who described the show as a colossal waste of time. I have a hard time disagreeing with that. At the 5 pm screening we attended, there was a total of six of us in the theatre for the showing.
This was July 3rd though, some time after originally opened. I found it to be quite violent and gory at times. You could also make the case that it trivializes this extremely important time in American and world history and the sacrifices that were made, including the deaths of more than 600,000 Americans. As we left the theatre, I had the thought that hopefully, the people who have seen the show came away with the question, “it obviously wasn’t about vampires, now what was the Civil War really all about?”.
Who is Charles Chiniquy?
He died more than a hundred and ten years ago and most people in Canada and the United States have never heard of him. Why would he be relevant today? He continues however, to have significance and the events that he lived through and were part of remain a subject of great interest to Americans, Canadians and others around the world.
The curator of the Lincoln Collection, Dr. James Cornelius, who I interviewed in 2008, contacted me last year and updated the amount of titles on Abraham Lincoln. He said that he had re-analyzed the amount of imprints on Abraham Lincoln and now gave the amount of titles on Lincoln at about 17,000. An average of more than a hundred books a year on the 16th President since his death, so the ongoing interest is amazing!
We are now in the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War.In June, 1862, events of the Civil War included the great general Gen Robert E. Lee taking command of the Confederate army. Lee took command as the battle of Seven Pines/Fair Oaks in Virginia continued. The battle of Memphis was a victory for the Union Navy. Confederate cavalryman Jeb Stuart rode completely around McClellan’s army, which was gathering around Richmond. Stuart gained important information with only one of his men killed.
There is also strong evidence that Canadian Charles Chiniquy, (born in Quebec, died in Quebec), was President Lincoln’s best friend. Chiniquy became world famous during his lifetime and was also an extremely effective critic of the Roman Catholic Church so it is not surprising that people are still commenting on him and attempting to dismiss him and what he said. Over the next blog posts, I plan to examine a recent article criticizing the celebrated clergyman and also look at the Conspirator, the 2010 movie on the Lincoln assassination directed by Robert Redford. I have significant problems with it, as do serious American historians.
Although it came out last year, it is still relatively new and relevant. I have the 2 disc DVD and perhaps will get the Blu-Ray edition. As other productions appear, including a movie on Lincoln directed by Stephen Spielberg, to be released next year, the Conspirator’s portrayal of the extremely important events that were the Lincoln assassination and aftermath, are still worth a close, careful examination. There is much to look at as we move through the 150th anniversary of the events of the Civil War and toward the sesquicentennial of the murder of America’s greatest President.