If one were to demand of me, "Quick, name two of your favorite 19th Century figures!" there's a good chance that I would name Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Sorry, James K. Polk. Lincoln and Darwin were both born on February 12th... a fact that I noted in a previous blog post. Both Lincoln and Darwin could rightfully be called progressive heroes- Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which set off the cascade which resulted in the total abolition of slavery in the United States, and Darwin was fervidly anti-slavery. Both Lincoln and Darwin are maligned by crackpots, reactionaries, and manipulative creeps. I tend to judge people by the quality of their enemies, and the often overlapping enemies of Chuck and Abe are people I find repugnant.
So here's to Lincoln and Darwin, individuals whose progressive attitudes and good deeds laid the foundation for much of the good aspects of modern society. Hopefully, we are worthy inheritors of their legacies and fight to ensure that the positive changes they enacted survive. Funny, I'm not usually a proponent of the 'great men' model of history, though I will make exceptions for these two... I'm particularly in awe of terraforming Darwin.