Here’s to the Ladies Still Making History

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (photo via Wikimedia Commons public domain)

Just when I thought I knew everything about Abraham Lincoln, I found out something new while watching the fabulous CNN documentary on his life. Now, we all know that history is often tinged with various interpretations of events. No surprise there. But my “a-ha“ moment was truly a revelation, and a source of great pride as well. I learned that it was the women, not Lincoln, who first proposed the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery and forced servitude. Those suffragette ladies had it right all along. They were not only for women’s rights but for human rights long before the 19th Amendment. Of course, it is true that Lincoln spent every nickel of his political capital shepherding the 13th through Congress. That’s what gives me the notion that when Lincoln spoke about our “better angels,” he might have been thinking about the ladies, young and old, black and white who, like him, believed “that a house divided against itself cannot stand.” That being said, Lincoln (and for all his imperfections) articulated for us the American dream of a government for the people and by the people. And he also gave us fair warning on another matter. He said that “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”