Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reflections on the Legacy of Abraham Lincoln

Reflections on the Legacy of Abraham Lincoln
Dr Abe V Rotor
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Among the top ten persons who have greatly influenced by life is Abraham Lincoln.

I came face to face with my idol before his monument in Washington DC in 1976. It was a long silent conversation; it took almost a day, and I returned the next day.

The fellow is a giant indeed - his physique, his face, the way he speaks (I heard his simulated voice in Disneyland in LA.) His Gettysburg Address is the most powerful - and the most recited and quoted - speech to this day.

Abraham Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC 

His anecdotes are full wit and wisdom, and convey a deep but practical philosophy, mainly about living life with purpose and dignity. Yet he rarely sounds moralistic. His naturalness makes people feel a true sense of belonging to their government and society (government of, for and by the people.

He is an environmentalist and upholds the principle of "reverence for life." Abe, as he was fondly called as a boy, grew up in a log cabin, studied his lessons under a big oak tree, cut logs, farmed and fished, and enjoyed life in a pristine environment. Nature was his constant companion that prepared him to become the most powerful leader on earth - president of the USA - and one of the greatest men who ever lived.

I came across anecdotes and sayings of and about Lincoln. I believed that these are originally his works; others were written by those in admiration to the man. I have found a lot of these materials as valuable references in my teaching career and as a journalist.

  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
  • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Lincoln's favorite hymn, When I Can Read My Title Clearby Isaac Watts shows his deep devotion to God.

When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I'll bid farewell to ev'ry fear
And wipe my weeping eyes.
"Should earth against my soul engage,
And fiery darts be hurled,
Then I can smile at Satan's rage
And face a frowning world
"Let cares, like a wild deluge come,
And storms of sorrow fall!
May I but safely reach my home,
My God, my heav'n my all.
"There shall I bathe my weary soul
In seas of heav'nly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast"

Biographical Sketch: LincolnAbraham ["Honest Abe"] (1809-1865) American politician, U.S. Congressman (Illinois, 1847-1860), 16th president of the United States (1861-65) [noted for his antislavery election ticket, which precipitated the secession of the Southern states, his leadership of the Union forces during the ensuing Civil War, his Emancipation Proclamation (1863) freeing Southern slaves, his famous Gettysburg Address (1863), his draft of the Thirteenth Amendment (prohibiting slavery in the United States, 1865), his proposal of a generous settlement to the defeated Southerners following the war, and his assassination in a Washington theater by John Wilkes Booth (1865)]

 Reference: Anecdotes about Abraham Lincoln, selected by Webmaster.

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