COMMENTARY 868.5: Confessions of a Lincoln Groupie

by Michael Josephson on February 27, 2014

in Commentaries, The Nature of Character

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I am an Abraham Lincoln groupie. He is my biggest hero. I have a huge collection of books and Lincoln memorabilia, my daughter, Abrielle, was named after him as was one of our family dogs. And by blind chance, my son Justin was born on his birthday.

I often visit the Lincoln Memorial and stand in awe of his magnificent eloquence and his legacy of honor, courage, compassion, humility and humor.

Lincoln was a truly self-made man from genuinely humble origins. He became a skillful lawyer and effective politician, but what distinguished him was his character. He earned the nickname “Honest Abe.”

He was a courageous and inspirational leader who really believed in democracy — a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Empathy and compassion were in his blood. He felt the pain of others as deeply as any man could, yet duty made him a leader of our nation’s bloodiest war.

One of his boldest and most significant acts as President was to devise and issue the Emancipation Proclamation transforming slaves into free citizens, but I’m certain he never could have imagined that our country would elect a black man as our president.

Sadly, he did not lead a happy personal life. He lost his mother, a beloved stepmother, a woman he intended to marry, and a son he adored to various diseases, and he had a tumultuous marriage to an unstable and difficult woman. Though often depressed by feelings of inadequacy, he never shirked the huge responsibilities of his office. He often thought of himself as unworthy, yet he was one of the worthiest men who ever lived.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ray Toal February 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I’m very ambivalent about Lincoln. 650,000 men died under his presidency. Was and is the union that important? I think not. Lincoln would have been truly great had he stood up to the blood curdiling sense of righteousness that gripped so many northern liberal protestants at that time, and said that he would not initiate a war just to satisfy their perverse gravings to feel morally purified.


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