Episode 6.1 Bonus Content: Checks, Balances, and Trains

Thanks to generous donations from our supporters, we created “Q & Abe” – a podcast that investigates real questions from visitors to the Cottage. This bonus episode accompanies the first episode of Season 6, “Does anybody know what Lincoln’s next big idea was?” 

While we’re talking to a variety of experts for the show, we sometimes end up with interesting bits that don’t quite fit in the main episode, but we don’t think that should keep you all from hearing them. Kate Masur explained more about Lincoln’s willingness to collaborate with Congress, and Shannon Janean Currie made an intriguing connection between his time and our own.

In addition to the embedded media player below, you can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts or wherever you get podcasts. You also can read below for a transcript of the episode.

Transcript Bonus 6.1

Callie Hawkins: Hi everyone – This is Callie and Joan from Q&Abe, a podcast by President Lincoln’s Cottage.

Joan Cummins: While we’re talking to a variety of experts for the show, we sometimes end up with interesting bits that don’t quite fit in the main episode, but we don’t think that should keep you all from hearing them.

CH: This bonus episode accompanies episode 6.1, Does anybody know what Lincoln’s next big idea was?, so if you haven’t listened to that one yet, it might be a good place to start.

JC: Historian Kate Masur shared a great example of Lincoln’s willingness to collaborate with other parts of the government:

Kate Masur: I always like to point out, when I’m teaching the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, that the last clause of each of them is “Congress shall have the power to enforce the amendment,” right? And that is actually so important and gets not nearly enough attention. So by supporting the 13th Amendment, Lincoln was not only supporting a constitutional amendment that abolished slavery, but also supporting the idea that Congress had the power to enforce it, which gave Congress a huge amount of new power. You know, it’s kind of telling that in the case of the 13th Amendment he certainly thought, you know, in this situation where the nation is transformed, we’ve got to secure certain rights for Black Americans, that he is comfortable changing the balance of power between the federal government and the states on this issue, and it suggests that he was with a program of transforming the nation in the wake of the Civil War, rather than trying to kind of go back to as much of the status quo as possible.

CH: And consultant Shannon Janean Currie drew a connection between our time and Lincoln’s that was really fun to think about:

Shannon Janean Currie: Preparing for this interview, I was thinking about the weird similarities between what Lincoln wanted to do post-war and what Biden did post-COVID – it was a focus on infrastructure. It was, you know, Lincoln wanted to bring the nation up into the future with the telegraph. Well, we’re trying to do that with broadband and, you know, electric cars. Because doing those things, focusing on infrastructure creates jobs, and jobs creates a stable economy. So, like, it’s obviously different, but it’s the same remedy. It was a way, the transcontinental railroad was a way to physically and economically unite the nation. And I think that’s why Biden’s infrastructure proposal looks very similar to what his was because, if you don’t do those things, if you don’t have that broader vision of strengthening the nation and the foundation of the US, our economy, and enhancing our competitiveness on a global market, and addressing some of those longstanding challenges in transportation and energy and digital connectedness, that’s how we move forward.

JC: I for one would love to take a transcontinental train ride – maybe someday!

CH: Thanks for listening, and if you’re enjoying yourself, please tell a friend about the show! We’ll see you again in a week with our next full episode.

JC: This episode was produced by me, Joan Cummins, with Callie Hawkins, Josie Barcley, and additional support from the President Lincoln’s Cottage team. Music for Q&Abe was written, performed, and is copyrighted by Clancy Newman.

CH: Q&Abe is made possible by listeners like you. You can support the show by joining Team Lincoln at www.lincolncottage.org, where you can also check out our other online and in-person programming. You can reach us at [email protected].

JC: President Lincoln’s Cottage is a home for brave ideas. Stay curious!