A dress rehearsal of 'Watching with Lincoln', a play written and performed by Michael
We join Lincoln in the Telegraph Office of the War Department to wait for returns.
It is the evening of November 8th, 1864. Election night. The outcome will determine
not only the fate of Lincoln’s presidency, but also the fate of the nation. Victory at the polls will not be enough to save his government. If less than a mandate, the immediate dissolution of the Union, the extension of slavery into new territories and an independent south will undoubtedly be the outcome. And a war that cost over 600,000 lives and countless wounded would be for nothing.
Initially ignited over the right of southern states to secede from the Union, the real issue was slavery. Can a government, founded on the proposition that all men are created equal, deny that equality to men and women held in slavery and survive? That question plagued the founding fathers of America and continued to plague subsequent administrations. Despite decades of debate and compromise, it could not be resolved. And it has not been resolved to this day.
“The Gettysburg Address” defined America. It evoked the Declaration of Independence as a unique set of principles that established the country on a moral foundation of equality among men. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Although most know the outcome of that election, hopefully this play gives an insight into the man that wrote that document. His fears and hopes for the country.