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The Elections of 1856 and 1992

By Editorial Staff
Published April 2, 2008

By Ron Auvil

As we approach the presidential election of 1992, I am reminded of the strikingly similar campaign of 1856. The similarities include an unresolved constitutional issue, a controversial Supreme Court decision, a caretaker presidency, and most of all, a sense of national frustration.

In 1856, the unresolved issue was that of slavery. Slavery was an explosive issue whose fuse burned shorter and shorter. Slavery was not specifically forbidden in the Constitution, although the language in the Constitution and the framers’ concept of natural law could be construed as condemning it. The result was a lack of national consensus and a division of the nation into two soon-to-be-armed camps. Each camp had some claim on the wording used by the Founding Fathers.

The unresolved issue today is abortion. The fuse on this issue is also burning shorter with each passing day. Abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution. Those who are pro-abortion have to “find” this so-called right. This view of course will not stand among those who are pro-life, who correctly see the pro-abortion lobby as having created “rights” which cannot be found in the Constitution. The result is the same as in 1856; a lack of national consensus and the division of the nation into two camps. Whether or not these camps become armed remains to be seen. However, if the historical pattern remains constant, a Harpers-Ferry type of incident can be expected to occur soon.

The overturned Supreme Court case of 1856 also mirrors a 1992 controversy. That being the Dred Scott case which upheld slavery and was undoubtedly bad law. It was turned de facto by the Civil War and de jure by the postbellum 14th amendment. In the same way, pro-lifers and many constitutional constructionists see Roe vs. Wade as bad law and one which must be overturned.

The election of a caretaker President in this election would also parallel 1856. In the same way that President James Buchanan was a time-serving do-nothing, who served neither side of a rapidly deteriorating nation, a movement toward a morally neutered, and mythical middle ground could lead to a severely crippled executive branch. Just as James Buchanan’s attempt at centrist, amoral politics could not serve as a lightning rod for the tensions which were then building, neither will the same political philosophy or lack thereof help to decide our current cultural war. This trend is both ominous and dangerous.

The most obvious parallel between the election of 1856 and 1992 is the sense of national frustration in the air. I believe the reason that politicians “just don’t get it” is due to the to the fact that they’ve lost contact with the people they are supposed to serve. If you talk to the average citizen, you will soon learn of the rapid moral decay in our land and the general frustration over the status quo. To paraphrase historian Shelby Foote, “They are being led in directions that they do not care to go.” This mood is as electric in this nation as in the humid air before a thunderstorm. I know for certain that this mood exists in this nation.

We can only hope to hear soon of a lawyer from a small town in Illinois…

Ron Auvil is a staff member of Christian Evangelistic Endeavors, a ministry dedicated to bringing a great revival to the Church and spiritual awakening throughout the nations. If you wish to receive more information about CEE, you may write to:

CEE, 35155 Beachpark Dr., Eastlake, OH 44095.


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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

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Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

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Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

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