Happy 200th, Abraham Lincoln

abraham_lincoln“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, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

— Abraham Lincoln
Second Inaugural Address,
March 4, 1865

Abraham Lincoln was born 200 years ago today, on February 12, 1809.   Forty-two days after delivering the remarks above, he was shot dead at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.  He was only 56 years old.

There are literally thousands of Lincoln bios out there, many of them still in print.  But to me, Lincoln’s story works best in his own words.  If you don’t have it already, then, you must get this

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3 responses to “Happy 200th, Abraham Lincoln

  1. The least formally educated of all presidents, yet the best writer.

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  2. It’s amazing the following that Lincoln has amongst scholars and general readers (not to mention the Civil War in general). And, of course, we also can’t forget that Charles Darwin guy turned 200 today too. I think I’ve heard of him. Something about monkeys?

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  3. Stephen: I agree. Many of the presidents before Lincoln were accomplished and, like Jefferson, even eloquent writers. Yet, Lincoln was able to do something the rest before him hadn’t done: he talked politics, policy, philosophy and ideals in real language — the Mark Twain of American presidents, if you will.

    Rob: Smithsonian magazine has a fairly decent cover story this month about the two of them — as well as a good discussion of Darwin’s nervousness about applying his theory to humans right out of the box.

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