In Part II of Glenn's interview with Michael Medved, author of the new book The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic, the two radio hosts discuss the role divine providence played in Lincoln's presidency, how Sam Houston went from humiliated drunk to Texas statesman and President-elect Trump's pick for Secretary of State.
"With so many outstanding people that could have been appointed by President-elect Trump, where people would say, terrific, whether it's John Bolton or Mitt Romney, I don't know, even arguably Bob Corker or any of the other people he was talking about, why he has to pick someone who won a friendship award from Vladimir Putin . . . I think this will come out in the confirmation hearings, and that's a good thing," Medved said.
The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic, is available in bookstores everywhere.
Listen to Part II of this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: Michael Medved is with us. He has a new book out called The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic.
Michael, you were just going to talk a little bit about Abraham Lincoln.
MICHAEL: Well, Abraham Lincoln was one of the most unlikely people. In fact, probably the most up likely person to ever become president of the United States. He wasn't a billionaire. He wasn't a celebrity. He was a politician locally in southern Illinois, who had never won statewide office. Had only won one single term, a two-year term in the Congress of the United States. And he saw his own rise to the presidency as -- as an act of Providence, as something remarkable. His contemporaries saw it that way.
And he was haunted with looking for signs of the divine will. And I tell the story in the book of the most important cigars in American history, which were the three cigars that were discovered by a 42-year-old corporal, whose name was Barton K. Mitchell, who's reclining in September 17th, 1862, in an open field in Frederick, Maryland. Reaches out. Finds these cigars in the middle of a field. Has no idea why they're there. Opens them up.
And then his buddy says, "Wait a minute. What are those papers?"
The papers were the lost dispatch, general orders number 181 from Robert E. Lee, which falling into the hands of the Union allowed the Battle of Antietam to happen, which Lincoln told his cabinet was the sign from God he had been waiting for, to free the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation.
GLENN: Isn't humility required for all of this? Because I think that's what scares people when you talk about signs from God. Because Adolf Hitler, he talked a lot about God. He was anti-God. But he used all the rhetoric. And he wasn't a humble man, obviously.
Isn't humility -- you just said, he was haunted by this. He saw it as not him, but as a sign from God. All of the great statesmen, presidents, patriots in our -- in our history have all been deeply humble.
MICHAEL: That's exactly correct. And Lincoln used the term, and he used it more than a dozen times in his public statements and his private correspondence, that he was an instrument. That he wasn't the author of what he was doing. He was the instrument of -- of basically the will of history. Hegel and Tolstoy and great thinkers in the past, who, again, are religiously unconventional, nonetheless say that, "Look, if you look at human affairs and you look at some of the amazing things that have particularly surrounded this incredibly blessed country -- and in terms of America's unique blessings, it's not just Americans who think that.
I cite Goethe, the great German poet, who said very early on in our history, right after America was launched, that there was something special, destined, different about America. That's what America's exceptionalism means. It doesn't mean American perfectionism.
What it means is a very special status for this country, in terms of influencing the rest of humanity.
GLENN: Real quick, tell me one last story. It's in The American Miracle, Michael Medved's new book.
Tell me the story of Sam Houston.
MICHAEL: Well -- well, here, if -- if -- this guy whose Indian name was derisively Big Drunk, who was a Big Drunk. He may have been 6-6.
If he has a successful wedding night and he doesn't go into exile and resign as governor of Tennessee because of the embarrassment surrounding his wedding night -- he never goes to Texas. And where you are today in Dallas, Glenn, is now one of the biggest cities in Mexico.
GLENN: Hang on just a second. I don't know about his wedding night. Can you tell me about his wedding night?
MICHAEL: Yeah. He's Andrew Jackson's protÈgÈ. And he's a hero who miraculously survives battle. And he becomes a young governor of Tennessee. He's a US congressman. He's on the road to the presidency. And he marries the most beautiful young woman in Tennessee whose family is very politically prominent. Something happened on their wedding night where she told a friend the morning after, "I want to kill him." It's something -- and historians have different theories about what actually happened in privacy. In any event, his wife leaves him.
He is so humiliated by that, that he has to resign as governor. He goes into a drinking binge. Goes off to live with the Cherokees. Develops a relationship to native American spirituality. Starts seeing eagles and ravens. His Indian name was Colonneh, the raven. And all of this leads him to Texas.
This is a former governor of Tennessee. And in Texas, he becomes commander of the Texas army fighting for independence. People are slaughtered at Goliad. They're slaughtered at the Alamo, where all the prisoners, everyone is killed. The last chance for that rebellion, which, by the way, was representing a population that was 90 percent American. It was not a Mexican population, though there were Mexican people who were Spanish speakers who were fighting alongside Houston. He wins in 18 minutes this battle of San Jacinto, which remains one of the most remarkable, astonishing, illogical military victories in all of human history and gives Texas ultimately to the United States.
GLENN: He refuses to let Texas join the United States during the civil war though, does he not?
MICHAEL: No. It's quite the contrary. He was opposed to secession. He was -- he was the governor of Texas, at the -- at the time of secession. And he predicted to the South -- he said exactly what was going to happen. He said, "If you secede, you are going to see the destruction of all of your dreams."
And Houston actually was selected by John F. Kennedy as one of his profiles on courage because at the end of his life, he stood up, even though he himself was a southerner. He was from Virginia originally and then from Tennessee and then from --
GLENN: Why did he -- why did he do that? Why did he say, "You have to stay with the United States?"
MICHAEL: Because he believed that America was a God-anointed country. And that to take up arms against this country -- he was a unionist above all else. And that, it seems to me -- one of the great heroes in the Civil War, the Rock of Chickamauga, George Thomas, a Union hero, who right along with Sherman and Grant was one of the most successful generals. He was in Virginia. And, again, a people of conscience in the South understood that the union -- America was the greatest cause worth fighting for.
GLENN: Michael Medved. I'd love to have you down sometime and have you into our vault. We have about 8,000 items from American history that is just -- it's pretty mind-blowing. And I'd love to just take a tour with you and have you tell stories of the things that you find. Because you've proven yourself to be too smart for this program.
All of us are looking at each other -- you're mentioning names. We're all like, of course, that's -- yes, I know exactly who you're talking about.
PAT: I was talking about that yesterday.
GLENN: Yeah. Anyway, Michael, one last question. Can I get your thought on Tillerson? What do you think about Rex Tillerson being Department of State?
MICHAEL: Well, I look forward to the confirmation hearings. Look, I don't understand it. With so many outstanding people that could have been appointed by -- by President-elect Trump, where people would say, "Terrific," whether it's John Bolton or Mitt Romney, I don't know, even arguably Bob Corker or any of the other people he was talking about, why he has to pick someone who won a friendship award from Vladimir Putin, I think this will come out in the confirmation hearings. And that's a good thing.
GLENN: Are you as perplexed as I am on how the right is suddenly fine with Vladimir Putin and we're buddies with Vladimir Putin and, of course, Russia is not doing anything wrong and trying to disrupt our system? I mean, that's crazy talk.
MICHAEL: It is completely crazy talk. And this is not an issue of partisanship. It's an issue of patriotism. Whether you're left, right, or center, people who love America cannot abide with the idea of any foreign nation interfering or attempting to interfere with our election.
And if Mr. Trump were to do the smart thing, it would also be the right thing, which is get out in front of this and say, "Yes, I want as much evidence as I possibly can." And Putin involving himself in American elections and American policy is not legitimate.
And Trump above all saying he puts America first has to put that priority first.
GLENN: Michael Medved, thank you so much. Good friend of the program.
MICHAEL: I appreciate it, my friend. Thank you. And thanks for all of your great work. And I really mean this from my heart: Letting Americans understand that the issues here in our country today go very, very deep and deep into our history.
GLENN: Thank you very much, Michael. I appreciate it.
Michael Medved. The name of the book is The American Miracle.
PAT: Jeffy and I were just talking about the Rock of Cucamonga yesterday or the day before.
JEFFY: Oh, my gosh.
GLENN: Were you talking with Goethe?
GLENN: Yeah, me too.
PAT: Well, I mean, the Gertrude quotes are prevalent on the Rock of Cucamonga.
GLENN: Yeah. I've never heard of the Rock of Cucamonga.
PAT: That's not even what he said.
GLENN: That's not what he said? He said something like that, that I have never --
PAT: It was Chickamauga?
GLENN: I have no idea.
JEFFY: I mean, the former German chancellor Otto von (mumbling). I mean, we quote him all the time.
GLENN: He's a brilliant guy. And I will tell you, the stories we will save for another time and maybe after we cross to the other side. Michael Medved is one of the more brave people in America today.
PAT: He's a good guy.
GLENN: He is a very good guy and extraordinarily brave. Extraordinarily brave. And I am appreciative that there are people like him in the world today. Pick up his new book. The American Miracle.
Featured Image: Abraham Lincoln by Daniel Chester French