Historical Flavor: Learning From History
Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
Whatever your leanings (and, please, I don’t care to know them), we’re getting ready to welcome another president to the White House. I thought it might be fun to gain a little insight into one from the past. I know politicians can and do say anything they think is expedient to their popularity, but the more I read about Abraham Lincoln, the more interesting I find him.
Various anecdotes earned Lincoln names such as “Honest Abe” and “Rail Splitter.” But in his day, Lincoln was also called vile names, things like “long-armed ape,” “simple Susan,” and “Presidential pigmy.” His Emancipation Proclamation added “dictator” to the mix. Ouch!
While his political rivals and detractors called him all sorts of fool, Lincoln congratulated those who bested him in elections and appointed those he bested to cabinet positions when he believed they were the right people for the job.
From a November 8, 1864 speech:
I am thankful to God for this approval of the people. But while deeply grateful for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, my gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. I do not impugn the motives of any one opposed to me. It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one; but I give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the people’s resolution to stand by free government and the rights of humanity. — Abraham Lincoln
Talk about humility and “turn the other cheek.” Sometimes, it’s ridiculously hard to do the latter. I know it is for me.
What about you?
**I found the above information on Abraham Lincoln Online. It’s a site with some great information on our 16th president. You’ll also find more from the November 8, 1864 speech published in the New York Times in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.**