Abraham Lincoln, Emancipator

 

by Burt Dubin on September 27, 2011

Abraham Lincoln, Emancipator

 

1. Born 1809 in a Kentucky backwoods cabin to a poor family, self-educated with arduous effort and no encouragement except from his step-mother who he called his angel mother . . .

2. His entire schooling was a patchwork totaling about one year.   He became an avid reader, especially of biographies, the Bible, and Shakespeare . . .

3. A rail splitter,  a storekeeper, a postmaster, a surveyor, he studied law books, passed the bar in 1836 and became a country lawyer.  As a young man he revealed a distinctively human and humane character.  This was to serve him well in later years . . .

4. His first true love, Ann Rutledge, died of typhoid fever at 22.  This plunged him into a deep recession.  He was to mourn her all his life . . .

5. In time he married Mary Todd and fathered 4 sons.  He ran for political office again and again, was mostly defeated.  Eventually he was elected to the House of Representatives, later to the Senate . . .

6. In Congress, he was an eloquent debater.  His speeches were pithy, witty, and powerful.  He developed a knack for speaking to people in terms of their own interests.  He showed skill at smoothing over differences and at seeking the common good . . .

7. He proved an eloquent spokesman for democracy, wanted the Union to endure because it embodied a worthy ideal . . .

8. To make his points, he frequently quoted the Bible and Shakespeare.   When he spoke, which he did more and more, he embodied and reflected a rare kindliness and wisdom . . .

9. He was elected President of the United States, led the Country throughout the Civil War.  In 1865 a slavery advocate, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated Lincoln as he sat in a box watching a play in Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.

10. His two most famous speeches were the Emancipation Proclamation, delivered outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia and the Gettysburg Address.

11. His immortal legacy, for all of us who speak, was his noble and God-like approach to all he said and did.

(As a small boy, growing up in Philadelphia, I got an unforgettable thrill when I stood on the bronze plate commemorating the spot on which he stood when he delivered the Emancipation Proclamation.)

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