STORIES
Peacemakers

Abraham Lincoln

by Ethan from San Diego

score.rims.k12.ca.us
score.rims.k12.ca.us

"I believe this Government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided" (House Divided Speech). Abraham Lincoln's main purposes as President of the United States were to unify the Union and abolish slavery. In a stirring speech to the nation, he argued that the government could not go on until the problem of slavery was confronted and resolved. He believed this strongly and inspired the people to believe that the way to end the Civil War was to abolish slavery.

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky in 1809, but moved to Indiana when he was eight. He experienced the harsh reality of the real world for the first time when his mother died when he was ten. He never had many schooling opportunities, but he always wanted to learn and gain more knowledge. Eventually, he married Mary Todd Lincoln and had four sons. Unfortunately, only one son grew to reach manhood. He started his political career running for the office of Senator against highly esteemed Stephen Douglas. Even though he lost, his debates with Douglas brought him notice in the political world for the first time. He would eventually become the 16th President of the United States of America during a very turbulent time in our country's history. President Lincoln had to make many difficult and heart wrenching decisions in a war torn country in his efforts to ultimately reunify the states and bring peace and prosperity to its citizens of all races. His efforts can be equated to that of a hero because the definition of a hero is one that possesses traits that inspire others to do what is right for the benefit of the people, even if it would hurt their own reputation or put their lives in danger. Abraham Lincoln possessed the ability to overcome stressful situations and had the power to inspire many others to do what was right; therefore, he was a hero.

Abraham Lincoln possessed the ability to make excellent decisions under an enormous amount of pressure. He held the future of the United States of America in his hands while it was breaking apart, yet was able to hold it together. One example of Abraham Lincoln being under stress is when he told a reporter in the middle of the Civil War that he was becoming overpowered by stress and reaching the limit of his mental strength. "It is taking all my nerve and strength to withstand such a pressure" ("Abraham Lincoln." Encyclopedia). If Lincoln was willing to say this to a reporter, he must have been close to a mental breakdown. Yet, he still had the will power to make difficult but ultimately correct decisions for his country under such immense pressure. Abraham Lincoln was probably one of the most mentally tough presidents to ever live, because he had no support at home. His wife was going crazy because of her latest son's death and she was relying on Lincoln to help her out. He was also mourning the loss of his son, but he had to focus on ending a civil war and slavery at the same time. Therefore Lincoln, having very little to no emotional support in his private life, while having the biggest possibility of the country failing in its history since the revolution, shows us that he was one of the most mentally resilient and tough president's that this country will ever have. Another example of Abraham Lincoln's mental strength is when he was described by a reporter after an interview in 1863 that he would not be swayed by others and would go through with his plans of ending slavery with no regrets. The reporter stated, "But stand firm to his convictions and fearlessly perform the work and fulfill the mission for which he had been raised by an overruling Providence" ("Abraham Lincoln." Encyclopedia). In this quote, Abraham Lincoln was described as someone who would not give up his beliefs under any amount of pressure. He also believed that God was on his side which helped to him to stand firm in his beliefs. He fearlessly performed his duty as president by making the tough decisions that would determine the outcome of the Union, and did it with the supreme confidence that was necessary at the time. As president, he was faced with the biggest problem of the century for his country and had no one to support him. Like stated earlier, his wife was having a mental breakdown due to the fact that she was burying another one of her sons. Her ongoing mourning compounded the pressure this man was experiencing during this very volatile and fragile time in our country's history. But, he still confronted the many problems head on against many doubters and told them how he felt the problem should be resolved with complete calmness and confidence. Through all the unimaginable stresses and obstacles he faced, he led his country into a new era of peace and equality.

(http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/gettysbur ())
(http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/gettysbur ())

Abraham Lincoln also possessed the ability to inspire others to do what was right no matter what the cost. One example of him inspiring others is when he gave his Gettysburg Address in 1863. He was dedicating a cemetery to soldiers who died fighting in a great battle to restore the Union. "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain"( "Abraham Lincoln." Almanac). In this quote, Abraham Lincoln tried to inspire the people there and around the country that what these soldiers were fighting for wasn't to just restore the Union. Rather, they died so that all men could become free. Lincoln was saying that the country must not let these soldiers die in vain. They sacrificed themselves for an idea, an idea that all mean were created equal. A country where freedom was offered to all men. He used the death of these soldiers to further inspire the Union to not give up the fight, because now they were fighting for something right. This is what the country clung on to, the belief of freedom for all men. Another example of his ability to inspire was near the end of the war when Abraham addressed the country saying that even if the Union would be restored, the abolishment of slavery must still be decided. "North is actually now gaining strength, and may, if need be, maintain the contest indefinitely.... The national resources, then, are unexhausted, and, as we believe, inexhaustible"("Abraham Lincoln." Almanac). In this quote, Lincoln argues that the North would win the war. But, he wanted the citizens to focus their efforts now on the abolishment of slavery. He said this because he knew that if they didn't abolish slavery before the Civil War ended, then people might not want to go through with it later, because they did not want to fight the South again. Abraham Lincoln used his skills of persuasion and inspiration to try to put a final dagger into the South by getting rid of slavery, before they were forced back into the Union, so that they could not vote against it. When Lincoln did this, he not only ended the Civil War but was also able to abolish slavery from the country. These critical decisions solved any future problems with the South on the topic of slavery. Abraham Lincoln still faced the daunting challenge of reuniting the Union. But, the majority of the country wanted to do the right thing and let every man become equal.

In conclusion, Abraham Lincoln had enough mental toughness to overcome the enormous problem of a country at war with itself. He had the wit and ability to inspire others to do what was best for a war torn country. Even though Abraham Lincoln probably didn't really know what he was getting himself into, he met the problems head on and never gave up. His willingness to stand alone against the biggest crisis to hit the country in a century, with no one in his personal life to support him, makes him a hero. He kept the Union pressing forward into battle because they knew they were fighting for something great. He persevered through many challenges and ultimately restored the Union, and abolished slavery from this country. This is why he is an inspiration and a hero to us all, because he fought for what he knew was right. He restored the union and let all men be equal. He gave his life for this cause.

Works Consulted

 "Abraham Lincoln." Almanac of Famous People. Gale, 2011. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 2 Feb. 2013.

"Abraham Lincoln." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Biography In Context. Web.

      2  Feb. 2013.

"Abraham Lincoln: First Inaugural Address. U.S. Inaugural Addresses. 1989." Abraham Lincoln: First Inaugural Address. U.S.

      Inaugural Addresses. 1989. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. .

"Abraham Lincoln." The Presidents: A Reference History. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1996. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 2

      Feb. 2013.

"Abraham Lincoln." The White House. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2013. .

 "American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United States." American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United

      States. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. .

"Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power [Paperback]." Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power: Richard Carwardine:

      9781400096022: Amazon.com: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2013.

Page created on 2/15/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/15/2013 12:00:00 AM

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