The Union League Club in Philadelphia is this majestic building down Broad Street from City Hall. They like to boast about being occasionally ranked as #1 in city clubs in the country, but I wonder if they will get there again with their distasteful choice of Florida’s own human trafficking politician, Governor Ron De Santis for their “Gold Award.”
The Union League self-describes on their own website as follows:
Founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the Union and the policies of President Abraham Lincoln, The Union League of Philadelphia laid the philosophical foundation of other Union Leagues across a nation torn by civil war. The League has hosted U.S. presidents, heads of state, industrialists, entertainers and dignitaries from around the globe and has proudly supported the American military in each conflict since the Civil War. The Union League continues to be driven by its founding motto, Amor Patriae Ducit or Love of Country Leads.~ The Union League on The Union League
From The Philly History Blog in 2006:
A striking building ….Union League of Philadelphia building stands at 140 South Broad Street in the heart of Center City. It was completed in 1865 and features a French Renaissance design.
The story of the League began in December 1862 when two weeks after the crushing Federal defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia, Dr. J. Forsythe Meigs held an organizational meeting for a “Union Club” at his Walnut Street home. Members dedicated themselves to upholding the Constitution and to supporting President Abraham Lincoln’s often unpopular policies. Lincoln’s vigorous measures to stifle disloyalty alienated many northerners already fatigued by a protracted war. Union Leagues (a.k.a. Loyal Leagues), including the Philadelphia chapter, lent their unwavering patriotism to a weary chief executive and to a grueling war effort. By the time of the Philadelphia Union Club’s founding, the pro-war enthusiasm of 1861 had dissipated. The peace wing of the Democratic Party enjoyed considerable strength in the city. Unconditional Unionists were disturbed….The Union Club sought to reinvigorate Unionist fervor. Originally limited to fifty members of Philadelphia’s aristocracy, the organization rechristened itself the Union League and expanded its membership to several thousand by the end of the Civil War. The League functioned as a society for the burgeoning business class being ushered in by rapid industrialization. Members supported many efforts on the home front, including the United States Sanitary Commission’s commitment to improving health conditions in military camps and hospitals. At the USSC Fair in 1864, the Philadelphia League raised money for wounded and disabled soldiers. Its Committee on Employment located jobs for thousands of veterans and widows.~ PHILLY HISTORY BLOG “In League With Lincoln”
When I was growing up, The Union League was this treat to visit for whatever the occasion. Amazing art and so beautiful inside, one of the things I remember most from growing up is one of my closest friend’s fathers used to take us to the second floor facing Broad Street every New Year’s Day for years so we could watch the Mummers’ parade from the windows of the Union League.
Other memories? Weddings, birthday parties, Orpheus Club Concerts, receptions. Tales of clubs within the clubs with men in kilts to men in diapers.
Back to Abraham Lincoln as their raison d’être at The Union League. Ron De Santis ships immigrants across state lines for shits and giggles. Ron De Santis has been described by MSNBC as a “politician unmoored from fundamental democratic principles….what makes DeSantis such a uniquely worrying character is that there is seemingly no political sewer into which he won’t wade…” He is the complete antithesis of anything decent, and has issues with the First Amendment when it comes to critics. We are also a nation of immigrants, it makes you wonder about De Santis, doesn’t it? And then there is his basic everything phobic and he should just get an award for being a general asshole and overuse of the word woke, right?
City & State: Some Philly Union League members oppose club honoring DeSantis with major award
Florida’s governor has come under fire for using government funds to relocate migrants from Texas to Massachusetts.
Some Union League members oppose club honoring DeSantis
Alec Larson TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER Sep 30, 2022
If I was feeling kind, I would say The Union League has lost it’s way. I am not feeling kind. The Union League has lost it’s damn mind.
Craig Mills is the Club President. What are his thoughts? Is he okay with this?
I am disgusted. My disgust does not matter to the Union League. I am also sad. My sadness at a Philadelphia tradition to so many generations doesn’t matter to the Union League. But this should matter to the membership. How about a vote of no confidence in their entire club leadership at a minimum? How about lots of membership resignations? After all The Union League with all of their properties has a pretty big overhead nut to crack, correct?
But think about it. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Clout Columnist Chris Brennan, Abraham Lincoln was the first recipient of the gold medal in 1863.
Clout obtained a flurry of letters from club members to Union League president Craig Mills, calling for the event to be canceled. Some members vowed to resign unless the club changes course.
One letter came from William Hangley, a local law firm founder who called DeSantis “a man who has made political and territorial disunion his stock in trade” and “has shown only contempt” for oppressed people, in direct contrast to the Union League’s original mission.
“Exactly what quality or tradition of our League is he thought to emblematize?” wrote Hangley to Mills, also an attorney….Clout had questions. The Union League did not have answers.
“The Union League is a private club,” Mills told Clout. “And this is a private event.”~Brennan/Clout/Inquirer
Yes, The Union League of Philadelphia is a private club. But this is now what they will be known for. They are to be known for going forward as how far the Republican Party has fallen and how there quite literally is no longer “The Party of Lincoln.”
Somewhere, Abraham Lincoln continues to roll in his grave. And on October 13th, I hope protestors greet people entering the event. But I predict membership will not do much more than blunder and bluster. Clubs are like the embodiment of a huge FOMO (Fear of Missing Out.) Social status for so many will always outweigh doing the right thing. It’s sad but for some, it will just be too hard.
Cheers to The Union League of Philadelphia for killing the ideals and values of President Abraham Lincoln in one fell swoop.