To: Abraham Lincoln, From: Republic of San Marino

Ever have a bad day and receive an out-of-the-blue, unsolicited letter (or maybe more appropriately now, an email), that uplifted your spirits and changed the day around?

Abraham Lincoln did.

In spring 1861, less then 60 days after his inauguration on March 4 and with turmoil gripping the country following the fall of For Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, the scene was anything but positive as the 16th president looked out the window of the White House.

His call for 75,000 troops to suppress the rebellion in the Deep South states had prompted another wave of Southern states to secede.

Reports from around the country talked of officers resigning commissions, Federal installations falling or being simply turned over to Confederate forces, and the country was gearing up for that one major clash that would end it all.

Into this maelstrom of spring 1861 a packet of letters arrived from Europe addressed to President Abraham Lincoln. Who sent the two communiques?

Political location map of San Marino.
Map the location of San Marino.

The oldest republic in the world, San Marino.

Or more officially, the Republic of San Marino.

The small republic, an enclave in the Italian peninsula could trace its history back to 301 AD and in the process lay claim to being the world’s oldest republic.

In the 19th century, San Marino, which has the same land mass as Washington D.C. saw the peninsula in which it is ensconced unified under Giuseppe Garibaldi as the Kingdom of Italy.

But, the effect on the small republic was marginal and two years later the regents who helped run the country wanted to send an encouraging message to the world’s largest republic.

Sent by San Marino’s Regent Captains, the joint heads of state, the letter foretold of their “mark of high consideration and sincere fraternity” for the United States. Furthermore, the Regents bestowed citizenship on the American president. Lastly, the letters ended with a wish and a prayer that God would “grant you [Lincoln and the United States] a peaceful solution.”

San Marino Postage Stamp of Abraham Lincoln, circa 1959

One small republic, which dated back centuries, was giving encouragement and support to the largest republic in its time of strife. A symbolic gesture but one with positive vibes in a time of great peril for Lincoln and the country. Minus the war and conflict that sparked the reason behind the letter, the communique shows an example of sometimes big positives come from small places.



*Source used and a great read altogether, see “The Cause of All Nations” by Dr. Donald Doyle* 

**Check out this link, here, about the coin minted by San Marino in honor of Abraham Lincoln**


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