Published on: March 18th, 2021

Washington and Lincoln Toast Reminds Us to Preserve the Republic

By Reagan Linde (’22) and Hillsdale Staff

In celebration of what is commonly known as Presidents Day, Hillsdale In DC honored the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln last month.  The Washington and Lincoln Toast is an annual event for Hillsdale alumni, faculty, current graduate and undergraduate students to gather and celebrate two of America’s greatest statesmen.

Current Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program (WHIP) participant Chloe Kersey said that the event “serves as a reminder that good company and a knowledge of our history can bring joy that shines in dark times.  It was a way to come together as a community of people, honoring and respecting the virtue of our statesmen.”

Toasts were given throughout the evening in honor of both Washington and Lincoln.  In his toast, Dr. Matthew Spalding, Vice President for Washington Operations & Dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, reminded everyone that by law the third Monday in February is not a celebration of all American presidents but a celebration of George Washington. Of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, he said,

“We are here to celebrate two great statesmen.  Washington founded this country, Lincoln saved this country, and Hillsdale College… will have something to do with its restoration.”

Mary Greco, a junior at Hillsdale College interning for Senator Tom Cotton’s office said,

“We celebrate George Washington because he was and he continues to be the ideal statesman, but he wasn’t only the ideal statesman, he was also the ideal citizen—an example for us all.  He set the standard for future citizens and future presidents.”

Hillsdale alumnus Victoria Watson said in her toast,

 “Tonight, let’s raise a glass to two of the greatest men of the modern era, to the principles they promoted… and to the friendship we formed in the study of those principles.”

In his toast, Dr. David Azerrad Assistant Professor and Research Fellow for the Graduate School of Government said,

“I propose a toast to the Father of our Country, the man who crossed the Delaware, the man who took on and defeated the red coats, the most powerful military in the world at the time, our American Cincinnatus, who not once, but twice relinquished power.  The man who presided over the convention and gave us our Constitution… the man who so eloquently warned us about the dangers of entangling alliances…the man who so beautifully reminded us of the inalienable connection between religion and morality – our first and greatest president and the greatest of all the Founders, George Washington.”

Each of the five toasts given eloquently highlighted Washington and Lincoln’s character, leadership, and prudence.  Current undergraduate student Mary Greco said she appreciated how it, “brought the Hillsdale community closer together in a time where community has been hard to find.”

As Dr. Spalding fittingly said at the end of his toast, “In the name of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, I propose a toast to the just cause—to the land of our life, our liberty, and our love.”

About Hillsdale in D.C.

Hillsdale in D.C. is an extension of the teaching mission of Hillsdale College to Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to teach the Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. Through the study of original source documents from American history—and of older books that formed the education of America’s founders—it seeks to inspire students, teachers, citizens, and policymakers to return the America’s principles to their central place in the political life of the nation.

About Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. Founded in 1844, the College has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 4.5 million. For more information, visit hillsdale.edu.