The College Republicans of the University of Wisconsin - Madison launched a petition on Tuesday to oppose any effort to remove the historic statue of President Abraham Lincoln from its current location on campus.
A small group started a petition to remove the statue of President Lincoln from Bascom Hill in the name of perceived social justice. Criticizing our leaders, past and present, is an essential part of democracy. While we can certainly admit that President Lincoln is not perfect when examining him under today’s moral lens over 150 years later, erasing our shared history does not lead to progress. Unfortunately, this small group of individuals has garnered an unreasonably large amount of attention from members of the media.
The College Republicans of the University of Wisconsin - Madison applaud Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s quick response calling for careful inspection before the removal of important campus symbols. As noted by Chancellor Blank, President Lincoln’s support of public land-grant universities made it possible for the University of Wisconsin to exist. We continue to support the University of Wisconsin’s mission to encourage students to “sift and winnow” for the truth.
The College Republicans of the University of Wisconsin - Madison hope that students and alumni of all political affiliations and beliefs join us in support of the President Lincoln statue, and the historically unifying presence it has on campus. Support of one of our campus’s most unifying symbols should not be a political issue.
While we can certainly examine and criticize the parts of President Lincoln’s legacy that do not meet today’s standards, his support of the Union during the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment stand the test of time. It is because of these accomplishments that President Lincoln is regarded as one of the greatest, most unifying presidents in our nation’s history.
The College Republicans of the University of Wisconsin - Madison join in condemning racism and prejudice in all its forms. We hope to engage in more conversations and continue to work with the campus community to encourage a welcoming environment for students and alumni of all backgrounds.