Then and Now: History for Today February 12 , 1809 -
Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Lincoln, one of America’s most admired Presidents, grew up a member of a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana. He attended school for only one year, but thereafter read on his own in a continual effort to improve his mind. As an adult, he lived in Illinois and held a variety of jobs, including stints as a postmaster, surveyor and shopkeeper, before entering politics. At 6′4″, he was the nation’s tallest President. As a young man, he impressed others with his sheer physical strength - he was a legendary wrestler in Illinois - and entertained friends and strangers alike with his dry, folksy wit, which was still in evidence years later.
I so enjoyed the recent motion picture about Abraham Lincoln (no not the Vampire Slayer - the other one). In fact I more than enjoyed it. I was delighted with it. There are many wonderful and wise quotes from him, hundreds in fact. Today I will just share a few….and perhaps together we can all learn from Lincoln.
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong. ~ Lincoln
“If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.” The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months at the White House by Francis B. Carpenter (Lincoln, Nebraska, University of Nebraska Press, 1995), pp. 258-259.
“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, “Letter To Henry L. Pierce and Others” (April 6, 1859), p. 376.
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, (August 1, 1858?), p. 532.
“Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” Lincoln’s Cooper Institute Address, February 27, 1860.
“I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, “Speech at Chicago, Illinois” (July 10, 1858), p. 502.
“Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.” Lincoln and the Civil War In the Diaries and Letters of John Hay selected by Tyler Dennett (New York, Da Capo Press, 1988), p. 143.
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” Lincoln Observed: The Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks edited by Michael Burlingame (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 210.
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” Lincoln’s First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861.
“Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did, five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship.” The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume II, “First Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions” (April 6, 1858), p. 437.
Today I will improve my workmanship.