Saturday, January 19, 2013


"Those that deny freedoms to others
Deserve it not for themselves."
~Abraham Lincoln

I just returned from watching the acclaimed film “Lincoln.” Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Fields did a great job portraying the 16th President and First Lady, but I found that the movie lacked substance.  It could have been better, certainly Lincoln’s life was much more than just the civil war and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Among all the Presidents in the history of the United States, the one I have admired the most is Abraham Lincoln. Not only because of the Emancipation Proclamation, which is what the film concentrates on; but because against all odds, against adversity he reached the pinnacle in life and this alone should serve as an example.

I regret that the movie didn’t show the audience a little bit of Lincoln’s earlier life because I think it played such an important factor in shaping the morals and views of this president.

We all know that President Lincoln was born into poverty in a log cabin in Kentucky. Many might even know that his family acquired a small fortune that they lost when he was a child and caused the family to move from Kentucky to Indiana and life at Indiana was not an easy one.

The fact that influenced me and which I admired the most was the fact that Lincoln learned how to read and write by himself when he reached puberty and English is by no means an easy language to learn. He walked miles just so he could borrow a book; such was his insatiable desire to learn and to better himself.

By the time he was 21 years old, his family moved once again, this time to Illinois. After holding many different jobs that helped him develop some social skills he ventured into politics and by the time he was 25 years old he had been elected to the Illinois legislature as a member of the Whig Party. It is incredible that a self-taught man with no financial means reached such a position. Once elected, he decided to teach himself law by reading William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England and he was admitted to the bar in 1837, when he was 28 years old. He practiced law for a few years before he became a one-term Representative for the State of Illinois. His political views and openly speaking against the Mexican-American war made him very unpopular and once his term was over he returned to practice law, including serving as a lobbyist for the Illinois Central Railroad.

Lincoln was never in favor of slavery, nor was his family. It has been said that he didn’t consider black people his equals – we have to bare in mind the times he lived in – but he certainly believed that according to the Constitution all men were created with certain inalienable rights and that included black people or “negroes” as they were called back then.

I like to believe that he felt so strongly about this because of his own roots. He was not born into the lap of luxury and he had taught himself everything he knew and besides his personal freedom, his childhood and youth was parallel to those of the emancipated slaves of the times.

Lincoln didn’t live to see the fruits of his harvest, his life was cut short on the fateful night of April 14th, 1865 where was shot by John Wikes Booth while attending the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater in Washington and was declared dead the next morning.

When Lincoln was President, he belonged to the Republican Party, sadly the Republican Party of today is fighting with all their might against the first black man elected President in the United States and by their actions, they’re going against the principle of the best President in the history of the Republican Party and the United States of America.

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