Originally celebrated as George Washington’s birthday, the holiday morphed into Presidents’ Day in the 1980s, in part to honor Abraham Lincoln. Today, our first president has taken a backseat to the 16th, and the election of Barack Obama has only further increased Lincoln’s legend. Many are asking if Obama will govern like Lincoln. He will, just as each president who inherited an America of Lincoln’s making has done.

With the recent observation of Lincoln’s 200th birthday, it might be worth looking at what the last two centuries have wrought. Washington’s vision of a humble constitutional republic, decentralized and debt free, has been replaced by an imperial superpower, where U.S. influence not only spans the globe, but the globe foots the bill, as presidents and Congress hastily pass “bailouts” and “stimulus packages” in the hopes that China and other foreign nations will keep America financially afloat. Washington’s farewell address, in which he urged a young republic to avoid “foreign entanglements” has been rejected by an America forever searching for foreign nations to tangle with. With the nationalization of significant parts of our economy, the Founders’ attempt at republican democracy further descends into empire. Perhaps it is time Americans were honest about their Caesar?

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