Regarding the Sept. 23 article “Shutdown standoff shows no sign of easing”:

“We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten . . . . If we surrender, it is the end of us.” So said Abraham Lincoln in 1860 following his victory in the presidential election.

Southern states were demanding a “compromise” on slavery in exchange for not seceding from the union. However, their proposed “compromise” required that the victorious party make all the concessions to ensure the continuation of the institution of slavery. We just completed an election in 2012 in which Democrats won the White House, the Senate and a majority of the popular vote in the House “on principles fairly stated to the people,” yet the Republicans (a large percentage of them Southerners) threaten to “break up” the government (through defunding and defaulting on debt) unless the victors surrender to the losers. Has anything changed in 150 years?

Leonard Allen Jewler, Washington