Abraham Lincoln - Symbol of the
unlimited possibilities of American life
http://www.speech-writers.com © www.speech-writers.com CSABCAbraham Lincoln ?Symbol of The Unlimited
Possibilities of american Life
There are few men whose characters are so extraordinary that they can be credited with saving a
nation. The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was one such man. More than
one hundred years after his assassination, ‘Honest Abe' as he has become known, shows no signs of
losing his touch. He sits enshrined in his own monument with his famous words etched in stone
around him. He commands respect, honour and the everlasting thanks of the American people.
More than a thousand books have been published on his life and deeds. This is the man who not
only freed the slaves but who held the nation together through the terror of the Civil War. His
bloody assassination has become the nightmare scenario of legend.
The myths that make up the story of Abraham Lincoln have been re-told many times. At their root
is the story about the boy born into the Kentucky wilderness, who had less than a year in total of
formal schooling. That same boy went on to become America's most famous President. Lincoln's
rise from a poor pioneer family who taught himself to become a lawyer is the story of the American
dream. From state legislator to his nomination as Presidential candidate that dream is the stuff of
legends. He has become a symbol of the unlimited possibilities of American life.
To appreciate the bravery and the courage that Lincoln undoubtedly showed, it is not enough to say
that he saved the Union. Neither is it enough to say that he braved his critics to bring in
emancipation and to end the appalling slave trade. To fully understand Lincoln's achievements, is
to try and gain an insight into American society of that time. The republic was only a matter of a
few decades old. In this melting pot of nationhood and states, political feelings ran high. Lincoln,
above all, saw himself and his countrymen as inheritors of a sacred trust. He believed that
democracy was entrusted into his hands and those of his countrymen. He was prepared to stand up
and fight for those beliefs.
The fact is as laudable as these sentiments were, there could not possibly have been a more difficult
time to try and put them into practice. The issue of slavery above all others dominated the day. It
would split both politics and the country as a whole. Abraham Lincoln was not in two minds about
slavery. He found it abhorrent. The fact is that many states, primarily in the North, stood against
slavery. Many in the South did not. They were afraid that a Republican President effectively from
the North would try and abolish slavery throughout the nation.
Lincoln was elected President for his first term in 1860 at the point when a huge part of the Union,
threatened to break away over the issue of slavery. The situation was for Lincoln neither a reason
for secession nor Civil War. In his inaugural address he spoke about the need to find a peaceful way
In spite of Lincoln's plea, the Confederacy broke away and on March 4 1861 and the country erupted into the Civil War he had feared above all else. That scenario was a nightmare of
complications and strategies that had to be won inside a cauldron of dissent. There was no road
map. There were no precedents for dealing with states that had succeeded. Lincoln was at heart
and by trade, a lawyer. He was not a soldier. However he did not flinch from his duty, or from the
task in front of him. Where lesser men might have lost heart, Lincoln began the long struggle
towards unity and reunification. When he judged that the time was right, he announced the
abolition of the slave trade, issuing the emancipation proclamation on January 1st 1863.
The war took a...
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