A drive from Maine to California takes approximately five hours. One of the persons I would love to accompany me on such a journey is Hannibal Hamlin. His name might not be a household name, but he served as a Vice President under one of America’s forefathers, President Abraham Lincoln. Hannibal Hamlin had direct insight and input to the development of America and its founding principles. Additionally, Hannibal was a member of the Senate, and am sure the journey would be quite intriguing.
As a senator in the 19th century, Hamlin was famous for his opposition to alcoholism in the Senate. The crude conduct and the amount of drinking that was characterized in the Congress led to his measures towards banning the consumption of alcohol. His attendance was impeccable, and he served his nation wholeheartedly. Hannibal would discourage any notion of improper conduct on the road, even where the authorities may not be on the lookout today. It would be interesting to have a conversation regarding the behavior of the Congress in the 19th century and compare it with the current house. Since the behavior of the political class is not quite savory, it would be interesting to get his opinion on measures to help govern political conduct.
Hamlin’s political career was marked by leaving his governor seat for the Senate seat, which is unique in its own right. I would love to know his reasons behind such a move, and why he would do so in an era that was entirely volatile from the divisive opinion over slavery and prohibition. His views on the globalization of society is a concept I think would be of interest to him, where news and information on vices can be posted online by individuals. Since the internet is a significant technological development, his opinion on its role in the fight for social justice would be a subject I would discuss, as in most cases the communication utility is considered as an entertainment channel.
Having worked under President Lincoln, as the 15th vice-president, it would be interesting to get his perspective of the president as a boss. The first-hand experience under Lincoln would be intriguing, as presidents do rely on assistants for both information, intelligence, and valuable advice on national matters. Hamlin facilitated Lincoln’s selection of staff, and since he shared similar opinions on slavery, it would be interesting to get his input and advice to the president on the sensitive matter. I would also ask him if the current global society is the realization of the dream of a world free of slavery.
I think the five-hour journey would not be enough to cover all the topics of interest, but the differences between the two worlds would be interesting to cover. Having lost family from illnesses that are managed in the modern world successfully, I would interest him in the marvels of medical advances. Finally, changing international relations would be a topic that I would table, as he had some diplomatic experience. Finally, I would enquire his opinion of today’s president, and how he would measure up to Lincoln, and if he would be happy to serve as a vice-president under the current president.