Abraham Lincoln- The Thanks Giving President

26 Dec 2009, dilip Comments: | Views: 4058 | | Category: Legends, Leaders

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"If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong." - Abraham Lincoln 

Abraham Lincoln is remembered for his vital role as the leader in preserving the Union during the Civil War and beginning the process (Emancipation Proclamation) that led to the end of slavery in the United States. He is also remembered for his character and leadership, his speeches and letters, and as a man of humble origins whose determination and perseverance led him to the nation's highest office.

The Man Who St-rived for an "UNITED" -States Free of Slavery and Full Of Freedom

I can recall a small story about Abraham Lincoln which I read in sixth standard about how he used to borrow books from  people and how he used to study in street lamps. 

"Once Abraham Lincoln borrowed a book from a neighbor. He put the book between the cracks in the logs of his hut. He wanted to read it as soon as he woke up in the morning. At night it rained and water came through the cracks and damaged the book. The owner of the book made Lincoln work in his fields for three days to pay for the damage. However, this did not stop Lincoln from borrowing books to read. And before long he had read every book owned by anyone living within fifty miles. He remained hungry and thirsty to know what was hidden between the covers of books. He used to say, “My best friend is the man who’ll lend me a book I haven’t read.” This story presses the importance of honesty and the quest of passion. This story had a profound impact on me and it still lingers in my mind (about 15 years ago - I read it) . I don't know whether it had any influence or not on my life or on my thinking, but I am sure it had added value to my thoughts and understanding of life.  

Here I try to present a brief biography about the legend and a brief video on his life (Video Courtesy: National Geography).  

The son of a Kentucky frontiersman, Lincoln had to struggle for a living and for learning. Five months before receiving his party's nomination for President, he sketched his life:

"I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks.... My father ... removed from Kentucky to ... Indiana, in my eighth year.... It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up.... Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher ... but that was all."

 

Brief Video On Abraham Lincoln

Early Life

Lincoln worked as a clerk before joining the military. He ran for the state legislature and lost in 1832. He was appointed as Postmaster of New Salem by Andrew Jackson (1833-36). He was elected as a Whig to the Illinois legislature (1834-1842). He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1836. Lincoln served as a US Representative (1847-49). He was elected to the state legislature in 1854 but resigned to run for the US Senate. He gave his famous "house divided" speech after being nominated.

Lincoln debated his opponent, Stephen Douglas, seven times in what became known as the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. While they agreed on many issues, they disagreed over the morality of slavery. Lincoln did not believe that slavery should spread any further but Douglas argued for popular sovereignty. Lincoln explained that while he was not asking for equality, he believed African-Americans should get the rights granted in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Lincoln lost the state election to Douglas.

As 16th President Of US

Lincoln was nominated for the presidency by the Republican Party with Hannibal Hamlin as his running mate. He ran on a platform denouncing disunion and calling for an end to slavery in the territories. The Democrats were divided with Stephen Douglas representing the Democrats and John Breckinridge the National (Southern) Democrats. John Bell ran for the Constitutional Union Party which basically took votes from Douglas. In the end, Lincoln won 40% of the popular vote and 180 of the 303 electors.  

As Lincoln's election became more evident, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed. The seven states soon declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America. The upper South (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas) listened to, but initially rejected, the secessionist appeal.President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy. There were attempts at compromise, such as the Crittenden Compromise which would have extended the free slavery Missouri line of 1820, and which some Republicans even supported; Lincoln rejected the idea, saying, "I will suffer death before I consent...to any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege to take possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right."

So Abraham Lincoln  inherited an America where sober voices had been silenced by the yelps of extremists, where brother prepared to fight brother, where compromise had become distasteful, even disgraceful. The nation was gripped by the blood-lusting frenzy, the thirst for war, that has periodically overcome reason in the human race throughout recorded history.

Lincoln thought secession illegal, and was willing to use force to defend Federal law and the Union. When Confederate batteries fired on Fort Sumter and forced its surrender, he called on the states for 75,000 volunteers. Four more slave states joined the Confederacy but four remained within the Union. The Civil War had begun.

President Lincoln endured extraordinary pressures during the long Civil War. He carried on despite generals who weren't ready to fight, assassination threats, bickering among his Cabinet members, huge loss of life on the battlefields, and opposition from groups such as the Copperheads. However, Lincoln remained brave and persevered. He didn't give in to the pressures and end the war early. He kept fighting until the South was defeated. A lesser man would have given in and stopped the war before the goals had been achieved. Lincoln did not do this.

Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy.

The Emancipation Proclamation didn't immediately free any slaves because it only applied to territories not under Lincoln's control. The actual fact is that legal freedom for all slaves in the United States did not come until the final passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in December of 1865. Lincoln was a strong supporter of the amendment, but he was assassinated before its final enactment.  
 

Assassination

It's a sad ending to a great legend. His only intention was a Free Country where people can enjoy freedom in real terms with equal rights. But all great things and good things won't be well received by corrupted minds. Say it Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King - the list is not short who were assassinated by confused people .

On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated while attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Actor John Wilkes Booth shot him in the back of the head before jumping onto the stage and escaping to Maryland. Lincoln died on April 15th. On April 26th, Booth was found hiding in a barn which was set on fire. He was then shot and killed. Eight conspirators were punished for their roles.  

Other things

Abraham Lincoln is largely responsible for the institution of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Prior to Lincoln's presidency, Thanksgiving, while a regional holiday in New England since the 17th century, had only been proclaimed by the federal government sporadically, and on irregular dates. Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November to be a day of Thanksgiving, and the holiday has been celebrated annually then ever since.

 Abraham Lincoln had a strong interest in new technology and was the only United States President to hold a patent- click here to know more (about.com).

 I tried collecting various facts about this Legend, but one thing- he is by far considered by many as the Best (or one of the Best) US presidents. Not only in US, in many countries which Hate or Love US hegemony (or what so ever) teach Abraham Lincoln's life stories as history or moral lessons to the children of schools. So even now- 145 years after his death, he is still remembered all over the world and perhaps he may be one of the very few modern leaders who had such an impact.

And finally I Conclude Calling Him "The Thanks Giving President" .

(This article is under refinement- suggestions and comments are very much invited)

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