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Lesson 1: Abraham Lincoln

Updated: Jan 13

Loose Ramblings

If you’re looking for truth, I wish you luck; the odds are stacked against you. “Not true”, you say. OK lighten up; I’m on your side, honest. Put down your “intelligent device” and silence the internet provider currently controlling your life. “Relax”, this is not going to take long and “yes”, you can keep your mobile phone at arm’s length. What’s that you ask? Alright, alright; take it easy; you can hold your phone on your lap.

In 1450 a German inventor and political exile named Gutenberg was behind in his alimony payments. Looking for a quick buck, he invented the printing press. After negotiating a business loan in England for “three pounds of flesh”; he began to print and sell bibles. As a result everyone soon learned God sent his only begotten son to enlighten and save mankind but when dealing with human beings, “no good deed goes unpunished”. Naturally inquiring minds wanted to know, what the hell happened?! Sadly, ancient governments, politicians, media moguls and lobbyists were no different from the ones we endure today. The dictator of Judea and the Roman emperor, told their media toadies our Lord’s death was a suicide. Ironically, despite the media’s best attempts to diminish, exaggerate, falsify, minimize, omit and/or deny what happened; the truth prevailed. It prevailed because history only recognizes reality, factual truth. As a result, government and the media hate all forms of documented history. If you are not completely “digitized” and any of the above is “cause for you to pause”; why not open the door a crack and let some light in? Consider the following narrative and how it might affect you and your loved ones.

While discussing current events a grandfather touched on the possibility one or more of his teen age grandchildren might be drafted. Their response surprised him; they were adamant the military draft was a thing of the past and none of them would ever be drafted into the armed forces. Realizing his loved ones had swallowed a large dose of Washington DC Jell-O; he decided to administer a tiny dose of brutal reality and introduce them to “things not known to kings”; history lessons seldom, if ever, covered in school. Since the topic was the military draft, he began with President Abraham Lincoln and the civil war. Everyone is familiar with the boilerplate taught in Public School; President Lincoln was a great President; he saved the Union, freed the slaves, spoke in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and healed our nation. Tragically, he was assassinated while attending a performance at Ford’s theater.

The young men and women listening were certain they knew everything American history had to offer regarding President Lincoln. However, their confidence began to wane and they fell silent as the old man began to paint a lesser known Abraham Lincoln. They found out President Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus by executive order on April 27th, 1861. In the American legal system habeas corpus protects citizens from arrest and imprisonment without a trial. By suspending it; Lincoln gave his military authorities the power to silence dissenters and to arrest and detain individuals who he deemed threatening. (Makes you wonder how his political adversaries were treated during elections.)

On March 3, 1863 President Lincoln signed a new conscription act called the “Civil War Military Draft Act. It required all males between the ages of 20 and 45 to serve in the military. However Lincoln himself never saw combat; he did not fire a single shot to preserve the Union or put an end to slavery. Presidents are exempt from conscription and at 54 years of age Lincoln was too old for the draft. His situation differed from other Presidents who fought with honor prior to being elected into office. The President’s 22 year old son Robert Todd Lincoln briefly served as a “Captain” in Grant’s Army late in the civil war from February 1865 – June 1865.

Next he created the “Enrollment Act of 1863 which allowed a “draftee to pay a substitute the sum of $300.00 to enlist in his place. As a result, all the Fortunate Americans such as John D Rockefeller and Grover Cleveland quickly paid others to fight for them. Although protected from his own “Civil War Military Draft Act”; Lincoln wanted to encourage other ineligibles to voluntarily hire a substitute to fight in their place. The President deputized Nobel D. Larner to find his personal substitute. Strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue Mr. Larner found a 5’ 3” tall nineteen year old, with blue eyes and brown hair, named J. Summerfield Staples. Mr. Staples was experienced; he had already served as another man’s replacement earlier in the war. After a government official swore that Staples was sober, of draft age, free from all bodily defects and mental infirmity (American Presidents, mostly lawyers, excel at covering their legal rear ends.); Lincoln gave Mr. Staples his “Presidential seal of approval” and paid him $500.00 (The required payment was only $300.00. No, I don’t know why he forked over $500.00; conscience perhaps?). Before he left the white house

President Lincoln told Staples, “I hope you will be one of the fortunate ones.” Sadly Mr. Staples contracted typhoid fever during his first enrollment and claiming to be disabled applied for a Civil war pension in 1882. His application was denied and he died from a heart attack at the age of 43. Turns out neither the President nor Mr. Staples were very fortunate.

Pausing long enough to finish his adult beverage, the old man looked around the table then posed a few questions. The grandchildren were not certain how to answer and chances are you’re not sure either.

Why was “Honest Abe” so anal retentive about protecting fortunate Americans from being drafted and forced to fight for their country?

Why is it, everyone is aware President Lincoln saved the union and freed the slaves but “who the hell” ever heard of J. Summerfield Staples?

Who deserves our Nation’s respect; elected officials who order our military into combat around the world or the service men and women who do the fighting?

Was Lincoln’s Military Draft Act fair minded and just for all Americans?

Was Lincoln’s Enrollment Act of 1863 nondiscriminatory and evenhanded for all Americans?

Why was President Lincoln’s son not drafted at 20 years of age? He quietly remained in college (except for the last 5 months of the war) from 20 to 22 years of age.

How did Robert Todd Lincoln rise to the rank of “Captain” before joining General Grant’s Army at the war’s end? Why was he promoted ahead of lower ranking officers who fought for the Union from Antietam to Appomattox?


Dinosaur on an Island by Christina Romeo and Walter Mc Auliffe Growing up during and surviving the Vietnam Conflict.

Mac Namara’s Follies by Hamilton Gregory The induction of low IQ troops, unfit men, criminals and misfits during the Vietnam Conflict.

“Fortunate Son” performed by Clearance Clearwater Revival “When the band plays hail to the chief they point the canon at you…”


Slate, The Vault, 1/10/2013 “The Man who fought in Lincoln’s name.” by Rebecca Onion

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