An address given before the Phi Alpha Literary Society at Illinois Collegeon the Political Legacy of William Jennings Bryan, on November 16, 2010,by John Remington Graham of the Minnesota BarMY FELLOW CITIZENS:
I am particularly grateful to accept induction as an honorary member of PhiAlpha, because, as I understand it, Abraham Lincoln was the first to be thus inductedhonoris causa into this distinguished literary society. As a young lawyer I wasprofoundly influenced in my thinking on the United States Constitution by AlexanderStephens of Georgia, one of the greatest statesmen of the Old South, in hisincomparable treatise in two large volumes entitled
A Constitutional View of the LateWar Between the States,
National Publishing Co., Philadelphia, 1868-1870. Thosefamiliar with Stephens’ views and their impact on my thinking will perhaps forgiveme for saying that, aside from his correct and penetrating remarks on
Dred Scott v.Sandford
, 19 Howard 393 (U. S. 1857), there is not much of which I approve inLincoln’s first inaugural address; that, aside from his perfection of English as is alsofound in his letter to Mrs. Bixby, I cannot swallow the Gettysburg address; and that,aside from his remarks about the need to bind up the nation’s wounds, there is littlewith which I can favorably identify in Lincoln’s second inaugural address. And yet Ihave a deep admiration of Abraham Lincoln, albeit for personal reasons which arevery different from what is commonly felt in this part of the world.