Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, had been called "Father Abraham" by millions of people. He was born Feb. 12, 1809, and died April 15, 1865, by an assassin's bullet.
He was admired as a great man, whose enemies even praised his kindly spirit and selflessness.
He led the United States during the Civil War, which completely dominated his presidency, and kept the American Union from splitting apart. His well known speech the Gettysburg Address, and many other speeches and writings are classic statements of democratic beliefs and goals. He helped to end slavery in the nation.
During his leadership, national banking legislation provided for paper money as we know it today. The first federal income tax was enacted to help pay the war costs. Government homestead laws gave free land to settlers, and immigration was encouraged. Land was granted for colleges, and for the construction of the nation's first transcontinental railroad.
As a boy, Lincoln grew up on the wild Indiana frontier. His formal schooling totaled less than a year. He made his own arithmetic textbook, as books and pater were scarce. He walked a long distance to borrow good books, such as Robinson Crusoe, and Pilgrim's Progress. It is said that he came to know the Bible thoroughly, and opened it for comfort and guidance.
He was 6 feet 4 inches tall, thin, and strong. He was known by his neighbors for his hard work, and gift for telling stories. In later years his friends encouraged him to seek candidacy for the state legislature, and he went on to study law.
In a speech at the White House, August, 1864, he said, "I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has."
"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strenghten the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."
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"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10