Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Anecdotes that speak of the greatness of Abraham Lincoln

Dr Abe V Rotor
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Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President (1861-1865)

1. Brief Gettysburg Address
Perhaps Edward Everett talked a bit too long at Gettysburg, but he was an old man then, by the standards of his day – within a few months of his seventieth birthday. And this was the culminating glory of a long career. But Everett was among those who perfected the classic qualities of the Lincoln address. In a note to the President the following day he said: “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”

With his customary graciousness President Lincoln replied: “In our respective parts yesterday, you could not have been excused to make a short address, or I a long one.” (Quote Magazine)

2. Presidential Polish

During the Civil War days a foreign minister to the United States was shocked when, on a call to the White House, he found President Lincoln shining his own shoes. He told the President that in his country it was not the custom of gentlemen to polish their own shoes.

With his customary resourcefulness and nimble wit, President Lincoln replied, “Then whose shoes do they polish?” (The Red Barrel)

3. Lincoln’s Enemy

Abraham Lincoln was questioned by one of his advisers as follows: “Mr. President, I cannot understand you. You treat your enemies with such kindness. It would seem to me that you should want to destroy them.”

“My dear fellow,” said the President. “I do destroy my enemy when I make him into a friend.” (Annonymous)

4. Musical President

Throughout his life, music was a solace to Lincoln. “His musical tastes,” says a biographer, “were simple and uncultivated, his choice being old airs, songs and ballads.”

On one of his walks through Washington during the war, Lincoln passed a schoolhouse where children were singing. He took off his beaver hat and heard the song through, his face brightening the while. Then he straightened up and walked off with a more elastic step. (Sunday Magazine)

5. Using Words Carefully

If the story of the Creation can be told in 400 words, if the Ten Commandments contain 297 words, if Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address was only 266 words, if an entire concept of freedom was set in the Declaration of Independence in about 1,300 words – it is up to some of us to use fewer words, and thus save the time energy, vitality, and nerves of those who must read or listen (Jerome P Fleishman)

6. More Courteous
As President Lincoln was driving in his carriage one afternoon he met an old negro who bowed and tipped his hat.  Lincoln did the same as the negro. A friend notice what the President had done, asked him: "Why did you tip your hat your hat to that old darky?"

"Because," explained the lovable President, "I have never wanted anyone to be more courteous than I am." 

7. Countryman Uncle Jimmie 
Abraham Lincoln was delivering his first political speech.  Seated behind him on the platform were local notables and politicians. He had been speaking only a few minutes when a man known as Uncle Jimmie Pantier pushed his way through the crowd up to the platform.

Uncle Jimmie was a countryman and wore strange frontier-fashion clothes.  It was a queer costume to wear to a gathering at the country seat, but Uncle Jimmie was a great admirer of Lincoln and had come to see his friend.  Having never heard a speech before, he thought nothing of interrupting it.

"Howdy, Abe?" he said.  

Lincoln paused.  "Why, how are you Uncle Jimmie?" he said leaning down and shaking the old man's hand.  Then still holding his hand, he led him to the seat he himself had just left, between two of the most dignified members of the Community.

Uncle Jimmie. sat there, but something was obviously disturbing him.  First he leaned forward.  Finally he stood and asked, "Abe, I forgot to ask you about how Mary and the babies were."

Lincoln showed not even the slightest trace of impatience or embarrassment or
condescension as he turned to him and said, "All very well, thank you." Then he resumed his speech.   

8. Ten angels swearing  
When an attack was made on Lincoln by the Committee on the Conduct of War, an officer who knew the President was blameless, suggested that he wrote a letter to a newspaper "stating the facts as they actually transpired." 

Lincoln refused, saying, "If I were to try to read, much less answer all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business.  I do the best I know, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.  

If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything.  If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would made no difference. 

9. Drunkard General 
Influential persons informed Lincoln that General Grant was a drunkard.  "He is not himself half the time."

They went on to add: "He can't be relied upon, and it is a shame to have such a man in command of an army."

"So Grant gets drunk, does he?" asked Lincoln.

"Yes, he does and we can prove it." The critics replied.

"Well," said the President, "you needn't waste your time getting proof.  You just find out, to oblige me, what brand of whiskey Grant drinks because I want to send a barrel of it to each one of my generals."  

10. Spanking Instead of Death Sentence 
When Lincoln learned of the death sentence of a fourteen year old boy, he wrote to Stanton, Secretary of War.

"My dear sir, hadn't we better spank this drummer boy and send him back home?"

11. Locked up settlement
Once a Springfield farmer got into difficulty with a neighbor about the line between thri farms.  He went to Lincoln to rescue him, and Lincoln said, "Now, if you go one like this, it will entail enmity that will last for generations.  The other man has just been here to engage me.  Why don't you two sit down in my office while I am gone to lunch, and talk over, and try to settle it."  To secure you from any interruption, I will lock the door."

And Lincoln did not return all afternoon.  The two men, finding themselves shut up together, began to laugh.  By the time Lincoln returned, the matter was settled.  

12. "I will be his friend."
Lincoln used to received thousands of appeals for pardon from soldiers involved in military discipline.  Each appeal would usually be supported with recommendations from influential people.  One day there came an appeal from a soldier who had no friends to back him up. 

"What!" exclaimed the President.  "Has this man no friends?"

"No, sir, not one." said the adjutant.

"Then," said Lincoln, "I will be his friend."

A Life in Brief

When Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860, seven slave states left the Union to form the Confederate States of America, and four more joined when hostilities began between the North and South. A bloody civil war then engulfed the nation as Lincoln vowed to preserve the Union, enforce the laws of the United States, and end the secession.

"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; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan..."

Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1865

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