Seeing the Round Corners

November 6, 2017


      Abraham Lincoln was known for his “humble beginnings,” and lack of education. Thus, it is not difficult to understand why Lincoln, with his political aspirations, would choose someone such as Henry Clay to admire. Henry Clay was idolized through Lincoln’s entire political life: “During my whole political life, I have loved and revered Henry Clay as a teacher and leader.”

Henry Clay was appointed as the ninth Secretary of State (1825-1829) by President John Quincy Adams. Clay also served in numerous governmental positions – House of Representatives (two separate terms), two separate terms as Senator from Kentucky, U. S. House of Representatives and Speaker of the House.

Clay’s long-term experience in government and service as Secretary of State proved unsuccessful as a platform when he sought the Presidency in 1824. Most relevant to the time in history was what made Clay famous and well known – his contributions to domestic policy and his emphasis on economic development.

Clay was highly instrumental in foreign policy, and prevented Great Britain from gaining free navigation on the Mississippi River. Clay’s foreign policy plan, the so-called “American Plan” “emphasized federal support of national economic development.” Of course, “national economic development” meant neutralize or eliminate the American Indians.

Along the way, Clay made this statement while Secretary of State”  “The Indians’ disappearance from the human family will be no great loss to the world. I do not think, as a race, they are worth preserving.”

With Abraham Lincoln’s limited education and lack of experience in various areas of government, it is easy to see why he would “love and revere Henry Clay as a teacher and leader.”

Lincoln was credited with implementing Henry Clay’s political philosophies, even delivering the eulogy at Clay’s funeral in 1852 (nine years before Lincoln became President in 1861).

Reams could be written about the early days of America, but there is always the one theme:  neutralize or eliminate the American Indians by whatever means.

Until next week when Seeing the Round Corners will return to Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, slavery and the American Indians, consider this contradiction from today’s standpoint:  Why is Lincoln’s image included in the images on Mount Rushmore, the most sacred land of the Sioux Indians?

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