Now scrolling: The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Behold the Tecumseh Curse

So you don’t believe in curses. Consider this one. Every president elected in a zero year between 1840 and 1960 has died in office, some by assassination. Lincoln was one of these.

What’s so strange about this? Shawnee Chief Tecumseh’s brother is credited with making it happen. It all started with the Battle of 1811, when William Harrison successfully attacked Tecumseh’s village along the Tippecanoe River in an attempt to gain territory for white westward expansion.

Supposedly, Tecumseh’s brother Tenskwatawa, also known as the Prophet, set a curse against Harrison and future White House occupants who became president with the same end number as Harrison.

The result? Harrison, elected in 1840, died in office of pneumonia; Lincoln, elected in 1860, was assassinated; Garfield, elected in 1880, was assassinated; McKinley, elected in 1900, was assassinated; Harding, elected in 1920, died of a heart attack while in office; Roosevelt, elected in 1940, died of a stroke while in office; Kennedy, elected in 1960, was assassinated. But wait, what happened to Reagan, elected in 1980? Though he was attacked, he lived. According to some, he broke the curse.

This curse is also known as the curse of Tippecanoe, the zero-year curse, the twenty-year curse, and the twenty-year presidential jinx. Why in the world isn’t it called the Tenskwatawa curse, if he’s the one who pronounced it?

Also, how strange that one of Lincoln’s favorite generals, William Tecumseh Sherman, was named for the Prophet’s brother. What could that possibly mean? Nothing really, but I couldn’t resist bringing it up. If you want to know more about who really killed Lincoln (and all this time you thought it was Booth), check out The Tecumseh Curse and More Tecumseh Curse.

And remember, choose blessings, not curses.