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Abraham Lincoln - Standing as a Hero

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Abraham LincolnO captain. My captain. Our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! Heart! Heart!

Leave you not the little spot,

Where on the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

 

O captain. My captain. Rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;

For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; O captain. Dear father.

This arm I push beneath you;

It is some dream that on the deck,

You've fallen cold and dead.

 

My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor win:

But the ship, the ship is anchor'd safe, its voyage closed and done;

From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won:

Exult O shores, and ring, O bells.

But I with silent tread,

Walk the spot the captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

 

            --Walt Whitman

 

 

Abraham Lincoln Articles:

 

Assignation of President Abraham Lincoln

Brief Biography

Story by Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt in 1895

A House Divided (June 16, 1858 Speech in Springfield Illinois)

The Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863 Speech at Gettysburg National Cemetery Dedication)

The Civil War

The Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment

John Wilkes Booth - Actor to Assassin

 

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.


-- Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) - Leaving an enduring legacy in his historic role as savior of the Union and emancipator of the slaves, Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.

 

Five months before receiving his party's nomination for President, he sketched his own life, saying: "I was born on February 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."

 

Abraham LincolnHe was the second child of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, born in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky (now LaRue County). Though coming from humble beginnings, his father Thomas enjoyed considerable status in Kentucky—where he sat on juries, appraised estates, served on country slave patrols, and guarded prisoners. By the time Abraham was born, Thomas owned two 600-acre farms, several town lots, livestock, and horses. He was among the richest men in the county; however, in 1816, Thomas lost all of his land in court cases because of faulty property titles.


The family then moved north across the Ohio River to Indiana, when Lincoln was nine. His mother died of milk sickness in 1818 and his father remarried the following year. In 1830, fearing a milk sickness outbreak along the Ohio River, the Lincoln family moved west, where they settled in Illinois
. At the age of 22, Lincoln struck out on his own, making extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He also held a variety of public positions such as postmaster and county surveyor, while reading voraciously, and teaching himself law. Of his learning method, he would say: "I studied with nobody". He became an Illinois congressman in 1834 and was admitted to the bar in 1836. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. His law partner said of him, "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest." He married Mary Todd on November 4, 1842 and the couple would have four sons, only one of whom lived to maturity.

 

In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election; but, in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860. In his Inaugural Address, he warned the South: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you.... You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it."

 

Lincoln thought secession illegal, and was willing to use force to defend Federal law and the Union. When Confederate batteries fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina and forced its surrender, he called on the states for 75,000 volunteers. 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.

 

Lincoln won re-election in 1864, as Union military triumphs heralded an end to the war. The spirit that guided him was clearly that of his Second Inaugural Address, now inscribed on one wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... "

Just weeks later, on April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. by John Wilkes Booth.

 

Lincoln's Story by Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt in 1895

 

 

Abraham LincolnAs Washington stands to the American Revolution and the establishment of the government, so Lincoln stands as the hero of the mightier struggle by which our Unon was saved. He was born in 1809, ten years after Washington; his work done had been laid to rest at Mount Vernon. No great man ever came from beginnings which seemed to promise so little. Lincoln's family, for more than one generation, had been sinking, instead of rising, in the social scale. His father was one of those men who were found on the frontier in the early days of the western movement, always changing from one place to another, and dropping a little lower at each remove. Abraham Lincoln was born into a family who were not only poor, but shiftless, and his early days were days of ignorance, and poverty, and hard work. Out of such inauspicious surroundings, he slowly and painfully lifted himself. He gave himself an education, he took part in an Indian war, he worked in the fields, he kept a country store, he read and studied, and, at last, he became a lawyer. Then he entered into the rough politics of the newly-settled state of Illinois. He grew to be a leader in his county, and went to the legislature. The road was very rough, the struggle was very hard and very bitter, but the movement was always upward.

 

At last he was elected to Congress, and served one term in Washington as a Whig with credit, but without distinction. Then he went back to his law and his politics in Illinois. He had, at last, made his position. All that was now needed was an opportunity, and that came to him in the great anti-slavery struggle.

 

Lincoln was not an early Abolitionist. His training had been that of a regular party man, and as a member of a great political organization, but he was a lover of freedom and justice. Slavery, in its essence, was hateful to him, and when the conflict between slavery and freedom was fairly joined, his path was clear before him.

 

He took up the antislavery cause in his own state and made himself its champion against Douglas, the great leader of the Northern Democrats. He stumped Illinois in opposition to Douglas, as a candidate for the Senate, debating the question which divided the country in every part of the state. He was beaten at the election, but, by the power and brilliancy of his speeches, his own reputation was made. Fighting the anti-slavery battle within constitutional lines, concentrating his whole force against the single point of the extension of slavery to the territories, he had made it clear that a new leader had arisen in the cause of freedom. From Illinois his reputation spread to the East, and soon after his great debate he delivered a speech in New York which attracted wide attention. At the Republican convention of 1856, his name was one of those proposed for vice-president.

 

When 1860 came, he was a candidate for the first place on the national ticket. The leading candidate was William H. Seward, of New York, the most conspicuous man of the country on the Republican side, but the convention, after a sharp struggle, selected Lincoln, and then the great political battle came at the polls. The Republicans were victorious, and, as soon as the result of the voting was known, the South set to work to dissolve the Union. In February, Lincoln made his way to Washington, at the end coming secretly from Harrisburg to escape a threatened attempt at assassination, and on March 4, 1861 assumed the presidency.

 

No public man, no great popular leader, ever faced a more terrible situation. The Union was breaking, the Southern States were seceding, treason was rampant in Washington, and the Government was bankrupt. The country knew that Lincoln was a man of great capacity in debate, devoted to the cause of antislavery and to the maintenance of the Union. But what his ability was to deal with the awful conditions by which he was surrounded, no one knew.

 

To follow him through the four years of Civil War which ensued is, of course, impossible here. Suffice it to say that no greater, no more difficult, task has ever been faced by any man in modern times, and no one ever met a fierce trial and conflict more successfully.

 

Lincoln put to the front the question of the Union, and let the question of slavery drop, at first, into the background. He used every exertion to hold the Border States by moderate measures, and, in this way, prevented the spread of the rebellion. For this moderation, the antislavery extremists in the North assailed him, but nothing shows more his far-sighted wisdom and strength of purpose than his action at this time. By his policy at the beginning of his administration, he held the border states, and united the people of the North in defense of the Union.

 

 

As the war went on, Lincoln went on, too. He had never faltered in his feelings about slavery. He knew, better than any one, that the successful dissolution of the Union by the slave power meant, not only the destruction of an empire, but the victory of the forces of barbarism. But he also saw, what very few others at the moment could see, that, if he was to win, he must carry his people with him, step by step. So when he had rallied them to the defense of the Union, and checked the spread of secession in the border states, in the autumn of 1862 he announced that he would issue a proclamation freeing the slaves.

 

The extremists had doubted him in the beginning, the conservative and the timid doubted him now, but when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, on January 1, 1863, it was found that the people were with him in that, as they had been with him when he staked everything upon the maintenance of the Union.

 

The war went on to victory, and in 1864 the people showed at the polls that they were with the President, and reelected him by overwhelming majorities. Victories in the field went hand in hand with success at the ballot-box, and, in the spring of 1865, all was over. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered at Appomattox, and five days later, on April 14, a miserable assassin crept into the box at the theater where the President was listening to a play, and shot him. The blow to the country was terrible beyond words, for then men saw, in one bright flash, how great a man had fallen. 

 

Lincoln died a martyr to the cause to which he had given his life, and both life and death were heroic. The qualities which enabled him to do his great work are very clear now to all men. His courage and his wisdom, his keen perception and his almost prophetic foresight, enabled him to deal with all the problems of that distracted time as they arose around him. But he had some qualities, apart from those of the intellect, which were of equal importance to his people and to the work he had to do.

 

 

 

Continued Next Page

The Battle of Bull's Run, July 21, 1861.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

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