Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lincoln and Labor: Part III

In America's 1800's. labor and living were synonymous.  No one, not even children, had the luxury of sloth.  Plenteous fields, ripe with crop had to be harvested before  inclement weather came; locking entire households close to fireplaces where they awaited the return of Spring's  planting season.

As landholdings grew larger, the need for laborers beyond that of the family grew as well.  Slaves--the "S" word--became  the appropriate and acceptable answer.

Slavery did not begin in America's Dixie Land.  Egypt, Babylon and places still untold, realized  profits from one human's unpaid-for-service to another's unyielding-taskmasters.  No race of people can accuse another of having enslaved their forefathers without admitting its own history in replicating the same inhumane off-putting. But this was the America where Abraham Lincoln offered his presidency.

Was a human property  once a price had been paid for that human's ownership? Were humans--black humans, born in America--also guaranteed  'certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"?

He declared in his December 3, 1861 First Annual Message to Congress:

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is of the fruit of labor and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.

We struggle today to bring work to all Americans.  Work to care for our families and our country, we have discovered, is to be appreciated as much as the  breath we inhale.

Wednesday-- Lincoln and Labor Part III

More tomorrow.

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