Gould a Lincoln be President in Our Day?
A Sunday Discourse
RABBI JOSEPH KRAUSKOPF, D.
SERIES XXV FEBRUARY 11th A, 18th, 1912 Nos. 14&15
THE SUNDAY DISCOURSES are distributed Free of
Charge in the temple, to all who attend the Services.
An extra edition is printed for those wishing to have them
mailed to friends outside of the City. Apply to the Sexton,
Mr. Oscar Klonower, care of Keneseth Israel Temple.
THE SERVICE HYMNAL used at the Sunday Services
can be purchased at the Temple from the Sexton or from
SERIES XXV. 1911— 1912.
By Rabbi Joseph Kruuskopf, D. D.
Every Citizen To Do His Duty.
Ghosts I HaTc Met.
Start The Child Right.
" As Tke Twig Is Bent."
Farting of Ways between U. S. and Russia
War on Earth and Ill-will Toward Men.
Some Epochal Bvents^in 191 1.
City Congestion & Farm Desolation.— I.
City Congestion & Farm Desolation. — II.
14 Gonld a Lincoln be Pres. in Oar Day?— I.
15 Could a I,incoln be Pres. in Our Day ? — 11.
By Rabbi Isaac landman.
5 The Je wiish Conception of Righteousness.
10 Re-intr*ducing the Jew.
12 What's the Matter with the Bible?
SERIES XXIV. 1910—1911.
By Rabbi Joseph. Krauskopf, D.D.
For the Children's Sake.
"Multiply and Replenish the Earth."
Patriotism Begins At Home.
Universal Peace Service.
My Visit to Tolstoy.
My Vifit to Tolstoy.— Continued.
My Visit to Tolstoy.— Continued,
My Visit to Tolstoy.— Continued. "
My Visit to Tolstoy. — Concluded.
I,incoln — Master and Martyr.
" My Country 'Tis of Thee."
Why Go To Church ?— I.
16 Why Go To Church ?— II.
18 The Real Beauty of Young- Womanhood.
19 The Real Strength of Young Manhood.
20 The Need ol Uniform Divorce I,aws.
When Israel Will Come To Its Own.
/ A Sane Fourth of July.
[ A Plea for Labor and a Plea for Rest.
By Rabbi Isaac Landman.
The Square Deal for Religion.
The Square Deal for Judaism.
The Russian Jew.
The Quest for Love.
Sunday Discourses by Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf, D. D.
SERIES XXI II. 1909—1910.
1 The Children In Place of The Fathers.
2 "Who Is J\Iy Co-Religionist?"
3 The Martyrdom of Francesco Ferrer.
4 Dr. Eliot's "Keligion of the Future.
6 Js the Jen- Disintegrating or Rejuvenatmi
7 Lives of Great Men.
to When Will the Messiah Come?
II I —The Jew-Wliat He Is and What He-Is ^ot,
15 What Ails Our Churches?
IS Tiaining For (iOjOd-Cftizenslup.
19 T:;e Patriotic League of I'hiiadelphia.
20 Industrial Arl itratlon.
22 The Child's Kislit to Religion.
By Rabbi Isaac Landman.
5 Pitixed IMarriages. .
9 Rnuls That Are Sick.
1" The Wav We Look At Things.-
"- efore Not Understood.
12 II -The ,Tew-What He Is and What He Is Not. 17 Untoo^vn, Therefore. Not Lmlei-sto
11 What Ails Our City. 21 The Jewish Conception of Messiah,
15 What Ails Our Sclioola? . -
SERIES XXII. 1908—1909.
1 Penn and Religious Liberty.
2 The Jew at the Founding of the Republic.
3 I— The Ascendency of Womanhood.
4 II— The Ascendency of Womanhood.
5 Modern Serpents and Modern Eves.
7 I— The Marring of the Marriage P>ond.
8 II— The Marring of the Marriage Bond.
9 Has Christendom Accepted Jesus?
11 If Jesus Were to Attend Church.
12 Fnyeiling of Wise Memorial W'indow.
-13 If Moses Were To Attend Synagogue.
15 The Centenary of Lincoln's Birth.
Ifi The (ireat White Plague.
17 Taft's Inauguration.
19 Tlie Responsiliiity of Fatherhood.
2J The Responsil ility of MoJi^rhood.
21 The Hunger for I-!ri);herlioo:-l.
23 The Optimistic Suhit of the Passover.
21 "Not Ouiity!" Saith 'the .Tew.
25 The Alumni of Keneseth Israel.
26 The Progress of Religious Ld-cralism.
By. Rabhi Isaac Landman.
6 Culture and S'lirituality.
10 The Great Idea. '
The Moderness of Bible Heroes.
11 I— The Heroes of the I'ent'teuch.
18 II— T'e Hemes Of Jorhua, Judnr-s et Sam 1
22 III— The Heroes of Kings and Chronicles.
17 Rocks On Which Our Republic Rests
1 Dr. Krauskoj-if's Twentieth Anniversary.
2 Sword In ( )ne Hand, Trowel in the Other.
3 Fondling the Dead, Neglecting the Living.
4 A Morning at EHis Island.— I.
5 A Morning at Ellis Jsland.— II.
7 Back to f4od.
8 P. ck to Eden.
9 Christmas All the Year Round.
From Jesus, the Man, to Christ, the Deity.
11 The Jews and Jesus.
12 Hi"el and Jesus.
13 Philo and .lesus.
14 Paul and Jesus.
13 The Gentiles and Jesus.
13 Rocks On Which Our Reiniblic Rests.— II:
Prejudlce^ts Genesis and Exodus.
21 - I— I'reiudice Ascribed to Soi'ial Diflcrc-.ife.
22 II— Prejudice Ascribed to Religious Di'iei'ence
23 III— I'reiudice Ascribed to National DiiTere;:'e
21 IV— Prejudice Ascribed to Economic Differc-c
25 V— Prejudice, How to be Cured by Christian.
26 VI— Prejudice, How to be Cured by Jew.
By Rabbi Isaac Landman.
6 The Merit of the Fathers.
in Pagans All.
16 S'lectres of the Past. ■ -
19 The Point of View.
20 Our Moral Crisis.
SERIES XX. 1906-1907.
1 Libels of Religion.
2 Rise of Religious Liberty in the United States.
3 Sectarianism in Public Institutions.
4 Distance Lends Enchantment.
5 Unveiling of John Hay Memorial Window.
Some Modern Beatitudes.
6 Blessed Are They That Remember.
7 Blessed Are Tliey That Forget.
8 Blessed Are They That Believe.
9 Blessed Are They That Doubt.
10 Blessed Are They That Labor.
11 Blessed Are They That Rest.
12 Blessed Are Thev That Love.
13 Blessed Are They That Hate.
14 Blessed Are They That Succeed.
15 Blessed Are They That Fail.
16 Life-A Tradgedy to Them That Feel.
17 Lite-A Comedy To Them That Think.
18 I. Some Ideals of the' Jew..
19 II. Some Ideals of the Jew.
20 The Legacy of I. M. W^ise.
21 Why We Are Not Christians.
22 I. Fobiedonostzeff— Grand InquisitoT.
23 II. Pobiedonost;^efi:'— GrPnd Inquisitor,
24 "Valiant— But a Leper."
25 "There Is Hope In Thy End."
SERIES XIX. 1905-1906.
1 "Seeing Evil, I Yet Have Faith."
2 The Election— And After.
3 Exeunt Irving and Jefferson.
4 The .Tewish Pilgrim Fathers.
5 Much Profession— Little Practice.
6 The Fallacy of "Rich as a Jew."
7 What to do with the Russian Refugee.
8 If a Messiah Had Been Born.
9 The Brain versus The Heart.
19 Th& Private versus The Public School.
11 The Club versus The Home.
12 Society versus Religion.
1 The Simple Life.
2 Remember the Week-day to Keep it Holy.
3 "Turn Not Back."— I.
4 "Turn Not Back."— II.
5 Kindle the Hannkkah Lights.
6 Zionism as a Cure of Anti-Semitism.
7 If I W^ere a Christian.
8 Complaints and Remedies.
9 Parsifal— the Triumph of Innocence.
10 Amfortas— the Torment of Guilt.
11 "Still Throbs the Heart."
13 Lincoln, the Chosen of God.
14 The Poverty of the Rich.
15 The Wealth of the Poor.
16 Washington, the Great.
17 Signers of the Decalogue:
18 Esther— An Old Stor^'. Yet Ever Now-.
19 Too Much and Too Little Parent:
20 More Beyond.
21 The Shekinah.
22 Christs That Would Be Crucified To-Day.
23 Bi-Cente»^ary of Beniamin Franklin.
24 "Learn To Labor and To Wait.."
12 Does Religion Pay?
13-"Made Wise Through Pity."
14 Lincoln— an. Inspiration.
16 I.— Israel— a Nation, Race or Peonip?
17 JI,— Israel— a Nation, Race or People?
19 Religious Training in the Home.
21 I.— The Jew JMilitaht.
22 II.- The Jew Militant.
23 Tlie Seder Evening. ■
21 Pharo.ih and the C/ar.
25 Some Questions in Morals.
SERIES XVII. 1903—1904.
1 The Demands of the Age on the. Church.
2 The Higher and the Lower Pleasures.
3 Is God or Man Unjust?
4 Canst Thou by Searching Find Out God?
5 "Mary of Magdala," ■ ^
6 "The Battle Not to the Strong."
7 A Backward Look.'
The Problem of the Ghetto.
11 I.— Not Congestion but Coioni^^atioh. .
12 II.— No Morality Without Spirituality:
14 \Vhat Sh.an Our Children Ttead?
15 WH-iat Shall Our GhiVren Believe?
16 The Russo-Japanese War.
Some Isms of To-Day, ^-
17 .1.— Egoism. -
18 II.— Altrriism.
19 III.— Pessiriiishl.
20 IV.— Optimism;
21 v.— Realism:
23 VI.— Idealism.
24 VII.— Dowieism.
■25 A'lII. -Mysticism: '
26 IX.— Trade-Unionism.
(Enuli a IGinrnln br Prrstbrtit tn ®ur Say ?
A Discourse, at Temple Keneseth Israel,
Rabbi Joseph Kkauskopf, D. D.
Philadelphia, February nth, 1912.
We are again upon the threshold of a Presidential cam-
paign, and already the shadows of the fast approaching excite-
ment and bitterness and business-unrest are
On the threshold
upon US. The candidates for the highest office of a Presidential
, r r 1 A • 1 campaign,
in the girt or the American people are many,
and the parties and interests back of some of them are mighty.
The fitness of most of these for the exalted position is con-
ceded. Two of them have filled the office before, and to the
entire satisfaction of their friends. Others have exhibited
splendid executive powers and statesmanship — ability either
in the Congress of our Nation, or in their respective states.
One of them, besides being a scholar of renown, has creditably
filled the presidency of one of the oldest and most celebrated
of our universities. Not one of them but has back of him
name and fame, and at his side : powerful influences, and in
front of him : loud proclamations that he alone can save the
Nation from threatening ruin, that he alone can establish and
maintain industrial peace and commercial prosperity and
political purity within our borders.
Remembering that to-morrow will mark another anni-
versary of the birth of Abraham Ivincoln, and reflecting upon
his obscurity before nominated for the presidency
Could a Lincoln
of the United States, upon his poverty and want be President in
of polish and lack of influential friends, and bear- ""' ^^ '
ing in mind that the fate of our Nation was then hanging in the
balance, that its dismemberment seemed inevitable, that North
and South stood opposed to each other in bitterest hatred, and
ready for mortal combat at any moment, the one side to check,
at any cost, the spread of the curse of slavery, the other side
to extend, at all hazards, an institution on which it believed
the life of the Nation depended, remembering all this, and
remembering also whom the people chose at that critical time,
we cannot but wonder whether political parties and political
machines, public press and financial interests and present-day
love of the spectacular would allow even in these quieter
times of ours a man to be chosen President who had no more
to recommend him to public favor than had Abraham Lincoln,
at the time of his first nomination ?
Whether we admit it or not, it is a fact nevertheless that
we have changed much since the days when the first of our
martyr-presidents entered the White House. It
People now no
longer rule as was the people who Selected and elected lyincoln,
then. , ,. . . . ,^,
not the politicians nor the corporations. The peo-
ple in our day wield no longer the power they at one time
wielded. We are no longer the kind of a Republic we were
half a century ago. Then the people governed themselves, now
we are largely dictated to. Powerful politicians or interests pick
out for us the man they want, furnish to political machines
the means for his election, and, by graciously allowing the
people to vote for him, flatter them into the belief that it is
they who elect their President. We, in our day, would in all
likelihood regard it a shameful reflection on our Nation to
select for our President a man as poor as Lincoln was, a man
who, notwithstanding twenty-six years of creditable law
practice, and years of honorable public service had to borrow
the money necessary for his inauguration journey to Wash-
The majority of the Northern people made Lincoln their
banner-bearer not because there were not then men of more dis-
tinguished ancestory and of greater wealth, men
The people divined
of larger culture and more attractive presence, the greatness of
- ,,,.,, . . Lincoln.
of greater scholarship and larger experience in
statesmanship, but because what they had seen and heard of
him, especially during his public debates with Stephen A.
Douglas on the slavery question, convinced them that in him
they would have a leader of rare wisdom, of incorruptible
honesty, of unfaltering courage, of matchless goodness, of
rugged simplicity, qualities which they divined to be the need
of the hour, qualities which alone could hold out the promise
of freeing the slave and preserving the Union.
If ever there was a time that proved the truth of the old
adage The Voice of Ihc People is the Voice of God that time was
the year i860, when the majority of the American
people dared to pass by such men as Stephen A. people was the
voice of God.
Douglas, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase,
Edwin M. Stanton, and select a man born in obscurity, reared
in penury, unfamed to all, unknown to most, self-taught,
self-trained, self-mastered, self-commissioned with one of the
noblest charges that ever inspired the mind and heart of man.
Stephen A. Douglas was fairly idolized by men of light
and leading of that day. They bestowed upon him the title
of "Intellectual Giant," an appellation not un-
Greal was Douglas.
deservedly bestowed. He had filled the posts of
State Attorney, State Legislator, and State Secretary. He
had served his state as Judge of the Supreme Court, and
his Nation as member of the House and of the Senate. When
competing with Lincoln, in those celebrated public debates,
for re-election to the Senate, he was heralded and hailed every-
where as a conquering hero. The railroads placed their private
cars at his disposal, honored him with the escort of their chief
officials, accorded him every right of way, while poor
Lincoln was often obliged to travel on freight cars, and con-
tent himself with the meagre accommodations of the caboose,
had often to waste hours on side tracks, waiting for the
special train to pass that conveyed his rival, or waiting to give
him ample time to enjoy his sumptuous meals or to receive
ovations from the people along the line, or to make his frequect
and elaborate changes of wardrobe, delays that frequently
meant for Lincoln missing his engagements, or arriving in the
nick of time without having had a moment's chance for rest
or food or change of clothes.
But giant that Douglas was to the mighty, he was a
pigmy to the people who knew Lincoln. They judged the
Yet the "giant" "giant" according to his true measure. They
of the leaders was ^^^-^ discerned that he was all' mind, that there
a pigmy to the -'
people. ^as little heart or soul within him, that he was a
trimmer and a time-server, that his was the subtlety of the
serpent without the harmlessness of the dove, that boundless
in his ambition, he recked little what means he employed to
attain his ends. And even though with the aid of corporate
interests he succeeded in defeating Lincoln for the senatorship,
and this he did only through the vote of the state legislature, for
the majority of the people's vote was in favor of Lincoln — that
defeat proved more than a victory in the end. The voice of
the i)eople of Illinois became the choice of the Nation. In-
stead of a Senator he became President of the United States.
When on Inauguration Day Douglas held the hat of Lincoln
while the latter read his Inauguration Address, from the
Eistern portico of the Capitol at Washington, those who
observed it could probably not help thinking that truly " T/ie
l^oice of the People is the Voice of God^
William H. Seward would serve as another refutation of
a supposition that the reason why Lincoln was nominated for
Miqhty was the presidency was because there were no better
Seward. vcl^w to choose from. This favorite son of New
York had twice served his state as legislator, twice as governor,
twice as senator. He was regarded as profoundly erudite, a
master in state craft, learned in the law, a clever writer and
speaker, a gentleman of refined tastes and gracious manners,
just the kind of a man, it was held, who would lend distinction
to the White House, and win respect for our Republic among
royalty abroad. Next to Lincoln he was the most surprised
man in the land when he learned that the nomination had not
come to him, having regarded himself as easily in the lead over
all the other candidates. He and his friends had consulted
only their party leaders, had wholly overlooked the people,
only to find to their consternation that the will of the people
when courageously and righteously exercised is mightier than
all the manipulations of bosses, mightier than courtliness of
manner and boasted erudition, mightier than all the pledges
and promises of platforms and parties.
The only explanation and consolation Seward could find
for his defeat was that his greatness constituted his weakness,
and Lincoln's weakness his greatness, that the Yet compelled to
world always envies the superiority it can not o^i^orpeoX's'
attain, and contents itself with the mediocrity choice,
that is nearest to its own level. Graciously he resolved to
continue true to his party and its principles. He even con-
descended to accept the position of Secretary of State which
Lincoln generously offered to him, attributing his readiness to
serve in the cabinet to a sense of duty to save his country from
the blundering hands of a raw Western hoosier, who, as said
a writer of that day, "had been freakishly picked out of a
frontier town to take charge of the destinies of the United
States." Not content with thinking of the newly elected
President as a numskull, he even undertook to communicate
to him a plan of procedure which was intended to give Lincoln
clearly to understand that he was expected to be no more than
a figurehead, that the governing of the Nation was to become
the concern of those who knew how. In an answer that
showed marv^ellous self-control and magnanimity of soul yet
firmness of character, that revealed who the real gentleman
was of the two, who possessed the true inner culture of the
heart and soul, however deficient external graces and manners
may have been, Lincoln gave the chief of his Cabinet to under-
stand that he had selected him to be his counsellor whenever
needed, and to discharge the duties appertaining to his office,
that, as for himself, as President, he would exercise all the
prerogatives of that office. Not yet abashed, this overweening
cabinet officer tried once or twice more to teach the President
a few lessons in the science of government. And in doing this
he gave expression to ideas so egregiously absurd and danger-
ous that the Nation had more than ever good reason to thank
God that it had escaped the election of Seward. Though the
latter was the elder of the two, I^incolu fatherly overlooked
the insolence and the blunder, and, degree by degree, so awed
him by his innate superiority of knowledge of the science of
government and of the art of dealing with diflicult men and
with complicated situations, that the would-be-teacher became
willingly a pupil, and the one-time insolent carper became one
of the closest friends and sincerest admirers of the President.
If not yet satisfied that there was no lack in Lincoln's
days of people of ability and distinction and culture from whom
Learned was to select a Suitable candidate for the office of
^''^^®' President, we need but mention Salmon P. Chase,
who like Seward, and half a dozen others, had competed with
Lincoln for the Presidential nomination. The rank that
Seward held in New York, Chase held in Ohio. Twice had
he been governor of that state, twice had he represented it in
the national senate. Earlier in his career he had been a
teacher and a lawyer of renown. In addition to his other
talents he was a classical scholar, a brilliant writer, a man of
commanding presence, of courtly manners, and of high social
prestige. But the people liked him not. He was cold, proud,
unsympathetic, censorious, a stickler for forms. He detested
the naturalness and want of artificiality of Lincoln, and labeled
them "uncouth," "vulgar," and other such epithets. Wrapped
up in his own importance and artificialities, he could never
grasp a character like that of Lincoln nor fathom its depths.
Lincoln, however, saw more in Chase than the people saw,
and, therefore, offered him the position of Secretary of the
Treasury in his cabinet, which the latter condescendingly
accepted "for the good of the country."
Having little knowledge of finances and less love for it,
Lincoln gladly turned the whole matter over to the vSecretary,
with the result that the latter's imperious nature
Yet wiser had the
would brook no interference on the part of the peope been in their
rejection of him.
cabinet, not even suggestions on the part of the
President. Nothing daunted, Lincoln began to study finance,
and acquired such a mastery of it within a short time that he
could safely pass from suggestion to demand. Repeatedly
Chase handed in his resignation, and repeatedly the President's
good nature succeeded in calming him down. Even when
Chase came out, a second time, as Presidential candidate in
opposition to Lincoln's candidature for re-election, the latter
continued friendly with his rival. When, however, the
resignations continued coming at every trifle, and the Presi-
dent consented at last to his withdrawal, no one was more
surprised and disappointed than Chase. The good nature of
the President soon found a way for healing the wound, he
appointed his Ex-Secretary of the Treasury, Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court of the United States. And he it was, the
defeated Presidential candidate, who a few month's later,
administered, by virtue of his office, the oath to Abraham
Lincoln at his second inauguration. Thus do the fates spin
their threads into strange meshes. Had politicians had their
way in those days as they have now, the influence which
Chase commanded, as well as his commanding ability might
have made him the choice of the convention, and the President
of the Nation. A more fatal error than this would have been
can scarcely be conceived. A temperament such as his, at such
a critical time as then, might have hopelessly rent the Nation
asunder. With all his learning and brilliancy and culture,
and with all the apparent lack of it on the part of I^incoln, the
people instinctively knew who was the superior of the two,
and they chose the wiser and the better. Instinctively they
felt that their voice was the voice of God. Fortunately, in
their da3^ they had the power to do what God bade them do.
They were not obliged, as we so often are in our day, to do
the bidding of political machines and of the vested interests
back of them.
And then there was Edwin M. Stanton, who had held the
ofl&ce of Attorney General during part of President Buchanan's
Powerful was administration, a lawyer of wide repute, a re-
stanton. publican of commanding influence, a patriot of
the highest order. It was his legal profession that had brought
him in contact with lyincoln, some time before the latter's
Presidential nomination, and the opinion he formed of the
Hoosier lawyer was so contemptuous that he deemed it beneath
his dignity to measure strength with one so far beneath him,
and succeeded in crowding him out of the case. What Stanton
thought of lyincoln in those early days may be seen from the
following description he gave of him, a "long, lank creature
from Illinois, wearing a dirty linen duster for a coat, on the
back of which the prespiration had spotted wide stains that
resembled a map of the continent."
And Stanton's opinion of Lincoln's fitness for the Presi-
dential office was quite in keeping with the description he had
given of his appearance. He considered his nomination a
national calamity. That he permitted himself to accept the
office of Secretary of War in Lincoln's cabinet was wholly due
to his consideration for his country's best interests. A more
disgruntled man than he never entered a President's cabinet.
His contempt for T^incoln continued for some time. He is
said to have spoken of him as a "low, cunning, clown,"
as the "original gorilla," and "often said that Du Chaillu was
a fool to wander all the way to Africa, in search of what he
could so easily have found in Springfield, Illinois." * Under