Tuesday, 5 May 2015

honest abe

It’s a fact: without the senatorial votes (before the odder system of the electoral college was rigged) of the applicant organised territory of Nevada, who were Republican and staunchly Unionist, Abraham Lincoln would not have secured a second term as president of a divided nation at war.

The fledging state had satisfied all other requirements, except that in order to formalise ascension, Carson City had to send an plenipotentiary to the national capital, a journey that could not be undertaken in time to met statutory deadlines prior to the election. Thus, Orion Clemens, one and only secretary of the territory and brother of one who went by the nom de plume Mark Twain, negotiated what was taken to be an acceptable alternative at the time, though now the use of the auto-pen raises controversy, in the form of the new-fangled telegraph. At considerable effort and expense, the Nevada constitution and articles of confederation was sent painstakingly by Morse code via the wires. One can learn more about this crucial improvisation and other bits of profound and challenging curiosities on the brilliant Futility Closet, which treats all trivia with appropriate and due awe. This seems to me to be quite a story and at the very least would have deserved the treatment of a Star Trek episode or two, like when Mister Data meets Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) and Mark Twain in old New Orleans and preserves the time-line as we know it. At minimum, it strikes me as one of those epic cross-over episodes with special guest-stars, like the Harlem Globe-Trotters on Gilligan’s Island. Learning of such an unlikely chain of events (plus thinking about how any detail might have been out of place) makes me wonder if there are not some journeymen-embellishers correcting history. Let’s do celebrate this tweaking. What event do you think is too well orchestrated to be left up to contemporary-hands?