History lesson

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The SNP government is mistaken in its “history lesson” on the timetable to Scottish independence (your report, 6 February). It wrongly quotes Abraham Lincoln as praising the founding fathers of the American Constitution and talking about a written constitution.

The quotation from Lincoln is from his letter dated 6 April 1859 to Boston Republicans in honour of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, whom he praised as the author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. That was the “revolutionary document” that Lincoln meant.

When the constitution was drafted at Philadelphia in 1787, Jefferson was absent. He was in France as United States minister. The author of the constitution was James Madison.

It is important to distinguish between these two famous documents. While the Declaration of Independence said “all men are created equal”, the constitution drawn up 11 years later involved compromise with the southern states and permitted slavery.

That is what led to the Civil War and the passing in 1865 of the 13th Amendment, the abolition of slavery, as is shown in the Steven Spielberg film, Lincoln.

Christopher Reekie

Orchard Drive