|Lincoln and Our History
Tom Stilp, JD, MBA/MM, LLM, MSC
Judge Ron Spears reminds us that political presidential races can be cantankerous things. (R. Spears, Lincoln’s Resiliency Resume, 108 Ill. Bar Journal 44, Aug. 2020.) At the time of Lincoln’s re-election, thousands were dying on the bloody battlefield, tens of thousands more were wounded or captured, or dying of infectious diseases.
Family members split over issues of slavery or state’s rights. President Abraham Lincoln was despised, hated and ridiculed not only in the Southern Confederacy, but in the Northern Union as well. “Lincoln’s War” they said. Newspapers were enormously influential and powerfully partisan.
Those opposed to Lincoln relentlessly attacked his administration and his family. While Lincoln and his wife Mary were privately mourning the death of their 11-year-old son William from typhoid fever (believed to be from contaminated water in the White House), Lincoln was trying to get Congress to end slavery.
Lincoln was almost killed twice, once from nearly drowning in Kentucky and once from being kicked in the head by a horse in Indiana. Lincoln’s family suffered from malaria and Lincoln could have lost his feet from frostbite when he fell into the Sangamon River in Springfield.
As Judge Spears said, people usually think of a resume as a list of accomplishments, but with Lincoln, perhaps more importantly, it was a list of obstacles, difficulties, defeats, losses, disappointments and tribulations to overcome.
People in Portland, Oregon recently tore down the statute of Lincoln. (Source: https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/12/us/portland-statues-riot-trnd/index.html.) Ironically, Lincoln would have understood the people who tore down his statute even if they had no idea who Lincoln really was.
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image credit: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Abraham-Lincoln