Remembering Abraham Lincoln

Today is the 203d birthday of our 16th U.S. president – Abraham Lincoln. I have been fascinated with Lincoln for as long as I can remember and have read extensively about his life, presidency and death. This past week I was in the Nashville area for work and was able to take a late afternoon detour to Franklin to meet friend, author and historian, Eric Jacobson. While we enjoyed an adult beverage, Eric said something which caught me somewhat off guard and continues to make me think…. “Maybe Abraham Lincoln was what we needed and was given to the country through some sort of divine intervention.” While I am paraphrasing what Eric said, his message was clear to me – maybe there was some sort of godly intervention. Let’s face it, there were several other strong Republican candidates vying for the 1860 nomination – two of which may have been able to win the presidency if nominated – William H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase. Both of these men were much more outspoken abolitionists than Lincoln and may have caused a more virulent secession crisis if elected president. Would either of these men been able to fight the inevitable Civil War to conclusion and preserve the Union? I rather doubt it. Perhaps Eric was correct. Lincoln was the glue that kept us together and may very well have been destined to be in place to see our country through to a “new birth of freedom.”

Lincoln was perhaps the greatest communicator our country has ever had. Several of his speeches really speak to me. In remembrance of his birthday, I will leave you with one of his shortest and perhaps his most well known – the Gettysburg Address. Happy Birthday Abe!

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we do this.

But in a large sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who have struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take an increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – 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.

For more on Abraham Lincoln, check out my article, “What Abraham Lincoln Means to Me.”

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About Michael Noirot

I grew up in the Central Illinois farming community, of Dunlap. Growing up, I played sports, tinkered with cars and enjoyed photography. While I did well in school, I did not become passionate about history until my early 30's. I have built a large library, of books on early America, politics and the Civil War. I am an avid reader. Fortunately, I have had plenty of opportunities to travel, over the years, and have been to most of the Civil War battlefields. I work while I travel, so more often than not, I am up, in the middle of the night, to get sunrise pictures, or I will be out until well after dark, exploring Civil War battlefields. I have other hobbies, and passions, that I really enjoy. Number one on the list would be guitar. I play my guitars on a regular basis, and enjoy the Bluegrass, and Contemporary Christian (CCM) genres. I play a style of guitar, called FLATPICKING, where using a flat pick, you play lead solos, similar to the way a fiddle would have been played during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Laura, my wife, and I also enjoy scuba diving, travel and spending time at our property, in the country. Lastly, we spend as much time with our families, as possible. Thanks for stopping by.
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2 Responses to Remembering Abraham Lincoln

  1. Mark Dye says:

    I find it absurd and abhorrent that Mr. Jacobson needed to explain Lincoln as so called “divine intervention”. Why is it so hard to accept that he was a competent politician who rose to level of statesman in a crisis? Do this also mean that Jefferson Davis was the spawn of Hell rather than a micro-manager of a flawed clause. If Mr. Jacobson feels a need to filter his to history through the Old Testament or Greek hero myths, he was either deeper in his cups than you or he admitted to or he is bankrupt as a historian. The fact that both sides appealed to the Deity and assumed they were on the favored side does not mean that God choose one or the other, or even exists at all.
    How much more virulent or quicker could the secession crisis have been if Seward or Stanton had been elected? South Carolina’s reactionaries had been calling for secession since the Nullification Crisis in the 1820′s and every crisis between then and 1860. If a moderate, like Lincoln, had them working for secession before the election was over, how could Seward or Stanton got them any more worked up without catching fire?

  2. CivilWarTalk says:

    I don’t know that there is anything wrong with stating that in one person’s view, Lincoln’s Presidency was brought about by Divine Intervention. How many times have we read about a general who believed that battlefield conditions were “Divine Providence”, and that the outcome was “As God willed it”.

    I’m not sure, as a previous commented implied, that our historians need to be atheist in order for them to have a non-biased opinion. That’s just silly.

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