Abraham Lincoln Democrat

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Abraham Lincoln Democrat

Weasel Zippers broke the story that the above plaque is affixed to the Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies on the campus at Northeastern University in Chicago.  The historical ignorance is appalling but unsurprising.  After all, dead Republicans have been voting Democrat for generations in Chicago!

Update:  Northeastern responds:

 

The Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University is housed in a building that bears historical significance. From time to time, the integrity of a plaque honoring the memory of Abraham Lincoln is questioned. Installed in the building for its opening in 1905, the plaque includes an inscription of the word “democrat” following Abraham Lincoln’s name. According to building archives, the word democrat was used because Lincoln was an advocate for democracy—the political or social equality of all people. The word was not chosen to reflect a political affiliation.

The building was initially designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his uncle, the Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones. Jones and Wright disagreed about the building design, which was handed off in 1902 to Dwight Perkins, who made several changes to Wright’s original design.

The building was designed to house a comprehensive social service agency called the Abraham Lincoln Center. According to documents by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, John Lloyd Wright, the building was named for his father’s hero.

The Abraham Lincoln Center was purchased in 1969 by the Illinois Board of Governors of State Colleges and Universities for Northeastern Illinois University. Since that time, the building has housed Northeastern’s Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies. Now in its 47th year, Northeastern’s Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies is an academic center for students and scholars to examine the political, economic, cultural and social forces that impact inner city communities. Nearly 150 graduates have gone on to earn doctoral degrees and pursue careers as professors, instructors and administrators in higher education.

The academic programs housed in this building promote political and social equality, the same values espoused by Abraham Lincoln. Northeastern Illinois University recognizes the context that this plaque was created and intends to uphold its integrity.

Jones, who founded the Abraham Lincoln Center, was a Unitarian, and something of a flake.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Small correction: Chicago (technically, Evanston) is the home of Northwestern University, not Northeastern. Northeastern is in Boston.

  2. Did some digging on this plaque, and it turns out that “small d” democrat is what is meant. At the same time, this sort of myopia does exist, which is what made the “big D” interpretation plausible in the first place. Also, the whole misunderstanding is worth it for closing gag alone, in my opinion.

  3. Small d democrat is the last thing Lincoln would have wished to have been called. Democrat state parties in Lincoln day were called democracies, and Lincoln would have shuddered at the term being applied to him. He cleverly turned the term against the Democrats on August 1, 1858: “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is not democracy.”

  4. Oh, I wouldn’t myself make the argument that “small d” applied either, Mr. McClarey, but it is certainly an easier mistake to make.

Comments are closed.