How Lincoln Won the War with Metaphors

Topics: American Civil War, Confederate States of America, Virginia Pages: 3 (1099 words) Published: December 6, 2007
Abraham Lincoln's ability to speak with eloquence and force is what won the Civil War; there can be no doubt about it. His role as a motivator and often an inspiring teacher to all had more of an effect on the troops and the American people than a loss or a victory of any battle ever did. Lincoln's speeches are some of the most celebrated in history for many good reasons. He was always aware of his audience and never failed to impress with his use of logic and knowledge. However, what are most remembered about Lincoln's speeches are his metaphors and imagery used to provoke emotions or ideas from the reader. Lincoln spoke with such depth and power that any who heard him could not help but be awestruck. Many wonder if the outcome of the Civil war would have changed if Davis could have employed Lincoln's profound metaphors on the Confederacy.

The American people have always had a fascination with presidents of common or lowly backgrounds. Like Jackson before him, Lincoln spent most of his childhood working to support his family. Lincoln's highly informal education could not compare to Davis' academic accomplishments, which include graduation from West Point. But what Lincoln learned working on the farm or in the store was far more valuable that anything Davis was taught in school. Through these experiences Lincoln gained the ability to speak with the ordinary man, a quality that helped him' get elected or gather support for an undesirable, yet seemingly imminent war. His communication skills came in large part from his understanding of exactly what the average man wanted to hear.

Lincoln learned the other important component of speech, not what to say, but how to say it, from his favorite books as a young man: The Bible, Aesop's Fables, Pilgrim's Progress, and Shakespeare's plays. These books and stories taught Lincoln the power of a metaphor. He fell in love with the idea of the meaning behind the stories or plays and the implied moral of each Bible verse....
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