From Lincoln to Obama, the Value of Peace TalksRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln
(CNN) -- As negotiations with Iran are about to resume in Vienna, some of President Obama's friends, not to mention his enemies, are appalled by the very idea of what they consider a deal with the devil.
One congressman called November's interim agreement a betrayal "worse than Munich" before he had even seen it. Incapable of joining forces on anything else, some Democrats, Republicans and Iranian hardliners refuse to give peace a chance. A century and a half ago, a recalcitrant alliance of the same improbable ilk caused literally fatal consequences.
On February 5, 1865, Abraham Lincoln designed a simple compromise to end the Civil War. It would have saved thousands of lives, abolished slavery and enticed the departed states to disarm and return voluntarily in exchange for fair concessions. It never made it out of the White House. The purists in his Cabinet rejected it, and the moderates would not cross them.
A few days earlier, Lincoln and his secretary of state, William Seward, a liberal former senator and a defeated candidate for president, had welcomed a rebel peace delegation to the presidential steamboat River Queen, the Air Force One of her day....
comments powered by Disqus
- ‘No Vacancies’ for Blacks: How Donald Trump Got His Start, and Was First Accused of Bias
- New Yorker profiles activist who's drawing attention to lynchings
- Wisconsin GOP senator wants to replace history professors with Ken Burns videos
- UT removes Confederate inscription that it previously said would stay
- The man behind the Smithsonian’s new African-American history museum
- NYT publishes historians' plea for the revival of political history
- Some Ohio University professors ditch the textbooks, and the prices
- Renowned Israeli Holocaust Historian: ‘If I Were a British Jew, I’d Be Worried’
- Heather Ann Thompson pries loose the long-kept secrets of Attica in her new book
- Lonnie Bunch remembers his first day on the job as director of the new black history museum