On Inauguration Day last Friday, the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, was sworn into office using what is known as the Lincoln Bible. He is the third president to have done so. An interesting tradition is that presidents are given the opportunity to choose which Bible they will use for their swearing in. Trump chose the Lincoln Bible, as well as a Bible his mother gave him.
The Lincoln Bible, published in 1853, is a King James Version covered in burgundy velvet. It was first used at the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The Lincoln Bible was not considered to be anything special at the time of Lincoln’s swearing in. Similar Bibles are valued at only $30 to $40. Thomas Carroll, clerk of the Supreme Court, loaned the Bible to Lincoln for the inauguration ceremony. After Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, the Bible was passed down to his family. In 1928, it was donated to the Library of Congress.
The second president to use the Lincoln Bible for his inauguration was Barrack Obama. During his 2009 inauguration, a spokesman said Obama chose to use the Bible because he thought it represented American unity. Obama also used the Bible in 2013.
Prior to last Friday’s ceremony, a spokesman for Trump said the newly-elected president was inspired by Lincoln’s words. “In his first inaugural address, President Lincoln appealed to the ‘better angels of our nature,” said Tom Barrack, chairman of Trump’s presidential inauguration committee. “As he takes the same oath of office 156 years later, President-elect Trump is humbled to place his hand on Bibles that hold special meaning both to his family and to our country.”
Election Day is now upon us. It goes without saying that this has been an unusual election year. First, a woman is running for president, and she was previously a First Lady. Second, a business tycoon is running for president. He has no political experience but says he is running “to make America great again.” Both candidates have expressed their concern over rising health care costs, immigration policies, college loans, and foreign policy. Both have unique plans for the country, and so far, the vote is tied. It will be interesting to see the outcome and how the American people react and unite afterward.
Over the course of the country’s history, many unusual elections have taken place. The musical Hamilton has brought to light the bizarre duel in 1801 between Thomas Jefferson’s vice-president, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton, who died in the duel. The conflict was brought about when Hamilton decided who would be president: Jefferson or Burr.
When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, he represented the very first candidate of the Republican Party. Lincoln did not win in any southern state, and yet, he won 40% of the popular vote and most of the electoral vote. Prior to his inauguration, he was ushered into Washington D.C. (then known as Washington City) via train, under cover of night, and in a disguise because death threats had been made against him. Lincoln’s election lead to the Civil War, which would ultimately claim more than 620,000 lives over the course of four years.
In 1872, Victoria Woodhull became the first female presidential candidate. Her running mate was Frederick Douglas, an outspoken freed slave and abolitionist. Also in 1872, President Grant, previously General Ulysses S. Grant, who had led the Union army to victory, ran against newspaper mogul Horace Greeley. Oddly, Greeley died before the electoral votes could be dispersed. Grant attended his rival’s funeral.
In 1884, Belva Lockwood ran under the Republican ticket. Her running mate was Marietta Stow, the first female vice-presidential candidate.
Eugene Debs ran for president five times. In 1918, he delivered an anti-war speech, claiming “the ruling class” sent “the working class” to war. He was convicted of espionage and sentenced to ten years in prison, where he conducted his presidential campaign. He didn’t secure enough votes to beat out Warren G. Harding, but the following year, on Christmas Day, Harding commuted Debs’ sentence.
In 1948, Harry S. Truman was predicted to lose to Thomas Dewey. This famous photograph was taken after Truman won the election.
The first televised presidential debates took place in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Kennedy secured the African-American vote when he helped free Martin Luther King Jr. from prison weeks before the election.
The election of 1964 centered on race and the Civil Rights movement, and pitted Republican Barry Goldwater against Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. The Democrats’ mudslinging campaign effectively portrayed Goldwater as a racist, which he staunchly denied.
In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first major party black candidate for president, and the first woman to ever run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. And in 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the first African American president.
As you can see, America has had an illustrious and, at times, strange history of elections. Many of these examples occurred because of flaws in the electoral system. Unfortunately, for the American people, corruption is still rampant. Last week, my husband saw a woman stuffing an election box. Is Trump correct by saying the election is rigged, or is he paranoid? It will be fascinating to find out tomorrow and in the coming weeks.
Voice your choice. Vote!
For a list of female presidential and vice-presidential candidates, check out:
The ten most bizarre elections in American history:
It has been brought to my attention that a group in Montgomery, Alabama, calling itself the Southern Poverty Law Center, is in the process of mapping out all Confederate monuments and statues in the United States. Their intention, I’ve been told, is to eradicate these markers and monuments, and thus do away with any reminders of the Confederacy. The S.P.L.C. is not a government agency, and therefore, does not have any legal right to do what they are doing.
I find it alarming that such behavior is being allowed. Talk about discrimination! If they were targeting any other group in America, I’m sure everyone would be up in arms. But since they are attacking Confederate monuments, suddenly everyone thinks that those monuments and statues are “racist.” This is purely ignorant, to say the least. Confederate veterans were declared American war veterans, and a law was passed to establish this in 1958. Desecrating their graves and markers is a federal offense, and should be dealt with accordingly.
Hate groups such as the S.P.L.C. and the N.A.A.C.P. are trying to take away Southern heritage, and to me, that’s just plain wrong. They claim that the Confederate battle flag is racist, but that is merely an excuse to accomplish their hidden agenda, which is to take away heritage reminders. By doing this, history can be erased and new symbolism can be put in its place. There has been more racial unrest in the past year and a half than there has been in fifty years since the 1960’s. It’s shameful that our illustrious president has nothing to say on the matter. It’s almost as if he wants to stir up social unrest by remaining silent. The groups that are crying racism need to take a serious look in the mirror. They are the biggest bigots.
The South has every right to retain its own rich, unique, and diverse history. Our politicians need to stop backing down and start standing up for these rights. One person eloquently referred to it this way, and I agree. What’s taking place in America is a modern day witch hunt.
Many racehorses were used during the Civil War. My new book, Horses in Gray, discusses this topic. At the start of the war, Southern gentry thought that thoroughbreds would outperform other breeds, and thus assure victory for the Confederacy. Southern soldiers brought their steeds with them, and most were nimble, well-bred stock from Virginia and Kentucky. However, it didn’t take long for both armies to figure out that thoroughbreds were too flighty and unpredictable under gunfire, so they switched primarily to Morgans, Percherons, and Saddlebreds, and used various other breeds as well.
Thoroughbreds were mostly ridden by commanding officers after that, to give them the appearance of dignity and nobility. General Grant’s horse, Cincinnati, was a descendant of Lexington, a record-breaking thoroughbred. Grant was supposedly offered $10,000 in gold for Cincinnati, but he declined the offer. President Lincoln rode the horse on occasion, and reportedly enjoyed riding him very much. After Grant was elected president, Cincinnati went with him to the White House.
General Lee’s horse, Traveller, also had royal racing blood in his veins. His lineage stretched back to English racehorses; from Diomed, to Sir Archy, to Grey Eagle, which was Traveller’s sire. Grey Eagle was a famous, full-blooded thoroughbred, and set many records. Traveller’s dam was a half-bred grade mare named Flora. After the war, Traveller accompanied Lee to Washington and Lee University in Alexandria, Virginia, where Lee served as president. The general gave rides to the town’s children on Traveller, and everyone could set their timepieces to the punctuality Lee displayed when riding Traveller through town.
On this date in 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby. It was the first of Secretariat’s Triple Crown victories. It should be interesting to see how American Pharoah, last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby winner, does in his two upcoming Triple Crown races. Thoroughbred racing was a very popular sport in this country since its birth, and fortunately, still is today.