Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Abe!

Picture Copyright Don Wheeler, used by permission.

Abraham Lincoln our 16th president would have been 200 today. I have put together first some things from a history book that was published in1882 and then some of his quotes that I have found on the internet. The book is titled History of the United States-Discovery of America to the Present Time. The next few paragraphs are from that book, beginning with Chapter LXL (61) titled Lincoln's Administration and the Civil War on page 482. I know it's long but I thought it was interesting enough to share on my blog.

"Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, was a native of Kentucky, born in the county of Larue, on the 12th of February, 1809. His ancestors had emigrated thither from Rockingham County, Virginia: his father and mother were Virginians by birth. The childhood of the future president was passed in utter obscurity. In 1816 his father removed to Spencer County, Indiana-just then admitted into the Union-and built a cabin in the woods near the present village of Gentryville. Here was the scene of Lincoln's boyhood-a constant struggle with poverty, hardship and toil. At the age of sixteen we find him managing a ferry across the Ohio, at the mouth of Anderson Creek - a service for which he was paid six dollars per month. In his youth he received in the aggregate about one year of schooling, which was all he ever had in the way of education. In the year of his majority he removed with his father's family to the north fork of the Sangamon, ten miles west of Decatur, Illinois. Here another log-house was built and a small farm cleared and fenced; and here Abraham Lincoln began for himself the hard battle of life.

The uncleared forest, the unbroken soil,
The iron bark the turns the lumberer's axe,
The rapid that o'erbears the boatman's toil,
The prairie, hiding the mazed wonderer's tracks,

The ambushed Indian, and the prowling bear;-
Such were the needs that helped his youth to train-
Rough culture!- but such trees large fruit may bear,
If but their stocks be of right girth and grain!

After serving as a flatboatman on the Mississippi, Lincoln returned to New Salem, twenty miles from Springfield, and became a clerk in a country store. Then as captain of a company of volunteers, he served in the Black Hawk war. From 1833 to 1836 he was engaged in merchandising, but a dissolute partner brought him to bankruptcy. Turning his attention to the practice of the law, for which profession he had always had a liking, he gradually gained the attention of his fellow-men and soon rose to distinction. His peculiar power - manifested at all periods of his life - of seizing the most difficult thought and presenting it in such quaint and homely phrase as to make the truth appreciable by all men, made him a natural leader of the people. As candidate for the office of United States senator from Illinois he first revealed to the nation, in his great debates with Senator Douglas, the full scope and originality of his genius. Now at the age of fifty-two, he found laid upon him such a burden of care and responsibility as had not been borne by any ruler of modern times. On the occasion of his innauguraion he delivered a long and thoughtful address declaring his fixed purpose to uphold the Constitution, enforce the laws, and preserve the integrity of the Union."

Abe quotes

“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.”

“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
“To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men”
“Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward”
“Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right”
“I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.”
“You can have anything you want - if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.”
“With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die”
"Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them."
"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."
"I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer who remarked to a companion once that 'it was not best to swap horses while crossing streams'."
"Perhaps a man's character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing."
"In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, "Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible" (September 7, 1864), p. 542.

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser - in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough."

"I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VIII, "Letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby" (November 21, 1864), pp. 116-117.

"It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!"

"Property is the fruit of is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built."

"Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

~ I regard no man as poor who has a godly mother. ~
The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.

Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy, but my friend, these I reckon will give you a good lift.

Freedom is the last, best hope of earth.


Shelley said...

I love reading history and Abe is a favorite,thanks for sharing...have a blessed weekend..


papersunshine said...

I read it, read the whole thing and am quite amazed. Never learned about him growing up other than freed the slaves. I didn't know he only had one year of formal school and I dare say he was very wise in his words. The letter to Mrs. Bixby really shows his heart. We no longer write so eloquently as they did back then. Thanks for sharing!

DART said...

definitely had lots of great quotes too!