I have to say that I've been politically curious for a few years now but have always been historically curious. I grew up watching channel 13 and those long, long, week long, episodes of the Civil War that contain the rantings of confederate loyalists and the sad stories of those who fought on both sides. It was grueling at first, but it aided me in history classes throughout my education simply because it was burned in there. Luckily for me I had a great highschool American History teacher and in my local community college I had a great professor who reminded everyone in class, "that history is written by the victors". I conceded that this help propell me in to propetual cynicism, but I'd never change that about myself if I could. As much as some of you may think I'm a conspiracy nut I have to contest that I am not, I, like PettyFog, although very different, am here to implore that you all think critically NOW, especially about the past. I'd like start this discussion off, if any of you choose to participate with a quote from a book written by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, recently cited by Ron Paul in a discussion about Abe Lincoln. "Why invest in real estate in Council Bluffs, Iowa, of all places? Why not Chicago or even Springfield, the state capital? Because Lincoln the political insider knew that there was a very high likelihood that 1) the federal government would eventually subsidize a transcontinental railroad; and 2) the starting point for that railroad could well be in the vicinity of Council Bluffs. If so, the value of his real estate holdings would be wildly inflated and he would make a killing. When he became president legislation was immediately proposed, in a special legislative session called by Lincoln in July of 1861, to create the taxpayer-subsidized Union Pacific Railroad. “There was no firmer friend of the Union Pacific bill than the President himself,” writes Starr. (In contrast, most mainstream “Lincoln scholars” make the preposterous assertion that he had nothing to do with such legislation). The bill was passed in 1862 and it gave the president the power to appoint all the directors and commissioners and, more importantly, “to fix the point of commencement” of the Union Pacific Railroad. And guess where Lincoln chose to fix the point of commencement of the railroad. He “fixed the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad . . . at Council Bluffs, Iowa” (p. 202). His financial gains must have dwarfed Corning’s $10,000 salary offer. During the Grant administrations dozens of prominent people would go to federal prison for such criminal self-dealing but Lincoln, the ringleader of the whole enterprise, has up to now escaped scrutiny." I havent yet read this book, I'm truly intrigued that someone took the time to research Honest Abe in depth and to compare the legend that we all grew up with, with well reality or some relative of it. I'm not yet sold, as I will do my own amatuer research and draw a conclusion based on it. I look forward to some comments.