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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 17, 2012/ 29 Menachem-Av, 5772

Republican Conventions: Born in a Wigwam

By Roger Simon




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Abraham Lincoln stood before the delirious crowd in Chicago's "Wigwam" and swept the stovepipe hat from his head in one grand, yet at the same time humble, motion. The year was 1860, and Lincoln had just been nominated for the presidency by the Republican National Convention.

It was only the party's second convention, yet it would turn out to be the most famous in its history. The wooden halls of the squat but gigantic two-story building reverberated with the shouts of the 12,000 people crammed inside (said to be the largest gathering in one building in U.S. history up to that time).

Men, dressed in dark suits and ties, threw their hats into the air. Women, clad in long dresses and bonnets, did the unthinkable and climbed upon chairs to cheer "Honest Abe." Marchers elbowed their way through the throngs with banners championing "The Rail Splitter Candidate for President."

A rail-splitter turned logs into fence rails using an ax, a wooden mallet and iron wedges. It was backbreaking work and came to symbolize the American pioneer spirit that carved a nation out of the dense forests of the West. (When Illinois entered the union in 1818, it stood on the extreme northwestern edge of the country.)

Lincoln had, indeed, split thousands of rails. But he hated the nickname "Rail Splitter," he hated being reminded of his impoverished roots and, in fact, hated being called "Abe." He had worked very hard to become the Honorable Abraham Lincoln, Esq., a former congressman and lawyer. The only rails he liked to be reminded of were those of the powerful railroad companies that he represented in court.

But even by 1860, conventions were about creating appealing images that could be sold to the American people. They were also about deal-making and dirty tricks, another American tradition that goes way back.

While history tells us Lincoln instructed his campaign lieutenants to "make no deals that bind me," they moved through the convention floor and in the backrooms of Chicago's downtown making whatever deals they needed to get to the 233 votes required for the nomination.

In 1860, there was no civil service in America, and the president controlled every federal appointive office from secretary of state to the postmasters of the smallest towns. (This still amounted to only about 900 jobs. The federal bureaucracy has grown a bit over the years.)

William Seward, a senator from New York, beat Lincoln on the first ballot, but came up 60 votes short of what he needed for the nomination. And his supporters had come up short of seats in the hall.

According to one account: "One thousand Seward men marched behind a smartly uniformed brass band. They wound their way noisily through Chicago's streets, playing the song 'Oh, Isn't He a Darling?' and finally arrived triumphantly in front of the Wigwam. To their horror, they found that they could not get in: the Lincoln men, admitted with their counterfeit tickets, had taken their seats."

On the second ballot, Seward gained only slightly while Lincoln surged. On the third ballot, Lincoln swept past Seward, but as delegates madly totaled the results by pencil, a silence fell over the convention as the incredible news spread: Lincoln was still one-and-a-half votes shy of the nomination. Seward clung to second, and Salmon Chase of Ohio was a distant third.

But D.K. Cartter, chairman of the Ohio delegation, a large man with black, bristling hair, his face marked by smallpox and his voice laboring under a speech impediment, entered history by standing and saying: "I arise, Mr. Chairman, to announce the change of four votes from Mr. Chase to Abraham Lincoln."

"There was a noise in the Wigwam like the rush of a great wind," an eyewitness wrote, and the crowd erupted with the "energy of insanity."

After a semblance of calm prevailed, Lincoln would walk calmly across the stage and, reading from notes, make his acceptance speech.

All of this is true, except for one thing. (And I am indebted to several sources, including "A History of the National Political Conventions of the Current Political Campaign by an Eye-Witness of Them All" by M. Halstead, published in 1860, "How Lincoln Won the 1860 Republican Nomination" by Gordon Leidner, published in 1996, and "Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction" by Allen C. Guelzo, published in 2012.)

Abraham Lincoln never attended the 1860 Chicago convention. He never set foot in the Wigwam. He made no acceptance speech.

Lincoln learned of his nomination by telegraph in Springfield. He could have made the trip to Chicago; at some 200 miles it was not an arduous railroad journey. And history might have been altered if he had. A few blocks from the Wigwam, the hit play "Our American Cousin" was being performed at the McVickers Theater. Lincoln, a theater buff, might have stopped in to see it and therefore might have skipped its performance in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. At Ford's Theater.

But presidential nominees did not go to conventions back then. The presidency was too grand an office for men to publicly scrabble after it. Instead, emissaries traveled by rail, boat and horseback in what came to be known as the "notification" ceremony to tell the thoroughly unsurprised nominees that they had been nominated.

While the notification ceremony was very civilized — if a little silly — it robbed the conventions of the crescendo they needed. In the old days, the purpose of the convention was to nominate a candidate. But as the years went by and that function was taken over by primaries, the purpose of the convention was to unify the party behind one standard-bearer.

That need for unity — and the demands of modern media — led to a daring act in 1932 by a daring man. After winning the nomination on the fourth ballot, Franklin Roosevelt climbed aboard a "flying machine" (to the horror of his friends who begged him not to risk his life in such a foolish contraption) and flew from Albany to Chicago to become the first man to accept a presidential nomination in person.

Roosevelt entered Chicago Stadium — the Wigwam had been demolished in the late 1860s or early 1870s — and told those assembled before him and those listening by radio, "You have nominated me, and I know it!"

He knew it, America knew it, and Roosevelt now drew his party and the nation around him.

And by that one act, he assured that conventions would always have a purpose.

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