A man of such physical and moral stature couldn’t be bade a final farewell without an equally monumental procession. Commencing on the afternoon of May 1, 1865, Lincoln’s body was transported from Washington DC to his home of Springfield, Illinois by a funeral train that made a point to retrace the route Lincoln took when making his way to his seminal inauguration some years prior. Not present in the funeral train was his wife, Mary Todd, who was too distraught to leave the nation’s capital.
With this map in mind, elementary school “duck and cover” commands that defined the 1960s and the Cold War almost make sense. Almost.
Forgotten American Cult Heroes: Sam Patch
Before Evel Knievel was a twinkle in his father’s eye, Sam Patch was thrilling audiences across America. As a child laborer in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Patch would entertain his friends by jumping off the mill dam. By 1827, now living in New Jersey, his increasingly higher jumps had started to attract large crowds. Wanting something more than the life of a mill worker, the 22-year-old Patch began a jumping tour across the then 24-state Union.
“Sam Patch the Yankee Jumper” quickly became a household name, and his catchphrase “Some things can be done as well as others” become popular among his fans. A whopping ten-thousand people came to watch him jump 125 feet from a cliff near the base of Niagara Falls. Shortly after, another eight-thousand came to Rochester, New York to watch him jump the 99 foot Genesee Falls.
In the mid 1960s, a never before seen counter-culture blossomed throughout the United States, inciting both the Flower Power movement as well as the general revulsion of more straight-laced, Ward Cleaver-esque Americans. No longer wanting to keep up with the Joneses or confine themselves to white picket-fenced corrals of repressive and Puritanical sexual norms, these fresh-faced masses would soon come to be known as Hippies.
Originally taken from ‘Hipster’, the term “hippie” was used to describe beatniks who found their technicolor heart in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco; children of the road who believed they should make love, not war. Their vocal opposition to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) and the increasingly rocky road to shared civil rights among all Americans led to this new, alternative form of activism.
While the intentions of prohibition proponents were often based on innocuous Christian maxims, the national outcome was markedly less holy. During World War One, the Anti-Saloon League was successful in achieving a nationwide prohibition of the sale and production of alcohol..and ushering in a new wave of organized crime. Ultimately, prohibition came to a much-needed close with the passage of the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 5, 1933. With that said, getting sloshed in public was still considered a poor sign of public decorum.