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This is What a President Looks Like ^ | February 21, 2012 | John Ransom

Posted on 02/20/2012 7:52:28 PM PST by Kaslin

In an era that lives by self-promotion- an era that takes someone like Donald Trump seriously as a presidential candidate- Presidents' Day is a day to remember that greatness still resides in what one does, not what one claims to be.

That is why Abraham Lincoln will always belong to every age. Because Lincoln was not just a great president; he may have been one of the greatest men that this country has yet produced. His rare combination of self-confidence and humility produced the archetype of "the American, this new man," who is still universally admired.

While many of our heroes have lost their gloss, Abraham Lincoln still shines brightly for many Americans because there is so much to learn from his life.

Lincoln was once criticized over the publication of a private letter he sent to an actor because it dared express Lincoln’s opinion on William Shakespeare. Although Lincoln did not write the letter for public circulation, in those days it was common for private letters to end up in the newspapers.

Lincoln was well-read in Shakespeare. It was evident in the fluidity of much of his writing that he got some of his short, Anglo-Saxon style from Shakespeare. While Lincoln would never match the volume of the Bard, in his own way, Lincoln’s contribution to American letters ranks probably just below Mark Twain’s own accomplishments.

“The novelist William Dean Howell’s claim about his friend Mark Twain,” writes literary biographer Fred Kaplan, “that he was the ‘Lincoln of our literature,’ can effectively be rephrased with the focus on our sixteenth president: Lincoln was the Twain of our politics. Since Lincoln, no president has written his own words and addressed his contemporary audience or posterity with equal and enduring effectiveness.”

Critics, however, thought it pretentious for a man without any formal training in “literature” to express opinions about Shakespeare.

As a consequence of elitist criticism, Lincoln gave us this enduring gem, precisely balanced on the pen point of Shakespearean grace: “I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it."

Indeed, during Lincoln’s life he was ridiculed over his origins, (from a log-cabin); his looks (he described himself as “homely”); his lack of formal education (he was mostly self-taught); his wife (who could be quite arrogant, aggressive, and at times clinically crazy); and a great deal besides.

Probably no President dealt with as much abuse as Lincoln. Yet throughout his life Lincoln rarely struck back at his critics. He maintained, instead, a firm confidence about who he was, avoiding all pretense of superiority even when he knew he was right.

“What a sharpshooter’s bead he could draw in one sentence,” the Chicago poet and Lincoln biographer, Carl Sandburg said in The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Edition.

Sandburg relates that once Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward- who was hoping to win the presidential nomination that Lincoln wrangled for himself- offered to put a Lincoln dispatch to the English government “couched in more diplomatic terms.”

Then," said Secretary of War Stanton, "came the demonstration. The President, half wheeling in his seat, threw one leg over the chair-arm, and, holding the letter in his hand, said, 'Seward, do you suppose Palmerston will understand our position from that letter, just as it is?'

"'Certainly, Mr. President.'

"'Do you suppose the London Times will?'


"'Do you suppose the average Englishman of affairs will?'

"'Certainly; it cannot be mistaken in England.'

"'Do you suppose that a hackman out on his box will understand it?'

"'Very readily, Mr. President.'

"'Very well, Seward, I guess we'll let her slide just as she is.'

The lack of artfulness helped Lincoln turn critics, like Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and Secretary Seward from scoffers into supporters.

“Executive force and vigor are rare qualities,” Seward wrote his wife. “The President is the best of us.”

In 1855 Lincoln was hired to represent Cyrus McCormick who was claiming patent infringement against a defendant. In addition, McCormick retained a number of better established lawyers from the eastern US, including Edwin M. Stanton. As the trial commenced in Cincinnati, the other attorneys ignored Lincoln, shutting him out of the case with Stanton going so far as to call Lincoln “that damned long armed ape,” within his hearing. Lincoln swallowed his pride and watched the trial from the courtroom with other spectators.

When McCormick later sent Lincoln a check for his services on the case, Lincoln returned the check explaining that he really hadn’t done anything to earn it.

When the client returned the check to Lincoln and insisted that he cash the check, Lincoln again swallowed his pride and cashed the check despite his grumbling about the “rough” treatment he got from Stanton. But he never struck back at Stanton. In fact, in Stanton he recognized administrative qualities that could be useful to him

That’s why Lincoln later picked Stanton to become his Secretary of War after the resignation of Simon Cameron, a crooked politician from Pennsylvania. At the time of his selection Stanton was still an avowed critic of Lincoln. Lincoln was willing to overlook this because of Stanton’s superb managerial skills. As their relationship matured Stanton became one of Lincoln’s warmest admirers.

Stanton was in the room when Lincoln died, just across from Ford’s Theatre. Stanton gave Lincoln the most fitting of all epitaphs upon his passing: "Now he belongs to the ages."

I still can’t read those words without awe at the full measure of devotion that Lincoln continues to give our country.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: abrahamlincoln
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To: liberty or death
When I cry for this nation which is our “Constitution and Bill of Rights”, Mr Lincoln tops that list.

Mr. Lincoln, in many, many, speeches made it clear that this nation is the Declaration of Independence. That's why it was four score and seven, not three score and sixteen.

Or as he said in Independence hall in 1861:

I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that Independence. I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the motherland; but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.

The men of 1776 knew that slavery was wrong, and violated the principle of the Declaration. In Jefferson's first draft, he include this language indicting the King for slavery in america.

he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

Lincoln knew Jefferson has a slave holder but did not hold that against him writing:

All honor to Jefferson--to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.

Lincoln understood that the Constitution was a compromise but also the best way to implement the principles of the Declaration given the political circumstances that the country faced. He intended to enforce even those provisions he felt violated those American principles e.g. the fugitive slave laws. From his inaugural:

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

But he also in the same address made a power argument against secession.

I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, and I shall perform it so far as practicable unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary. I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

21 posted on 02/20/2012 9:50:27 PM PST by ALPAPilot
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To: starsstripesflags
I disagree that “people of great intellect” are “never really humble.”

Hmm.. Well, I happen to have great intellect and I'm the most humble person in the entire universe.

22 posted on 02/20/2012 9:54:00 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: ALPAPilot


23 posted on 02/20/2012 10:22:30 PM PST by ReneeLynn (Socialism is SO yesterday. Fascism, it's the new black. Mmm mmm mmm...)
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To: Lancey Howard


24 posted on 02/21/2012 12:10:58 AM PST by stormer
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To: Kaslin

My favorite Lincoln story involves him defending a railroad (I think Illinois Central) against a steamship company whose riverboat had hit a railroad bridge, caught fire and sank. The steamship company’s argument was that river traffic had the right of way, that the railroad owed them a boat, and that they couldn’t build any more bridges. Lincoln showed that the boat was improperly piloted and won the case, in effect laying the track for the intercontinental railroad (a pet project of his while in the White House). He presented his client with a bill for $2000, a princely sum at the time. The railroad said his services should be nowhere near that expensive, and that he should go back and check his records. He did, and submitted a bill for $5000 along with a notification that he was suing them for nonpayment. He won that case as well...

25 posted on 02/21/2012 12:22:00 AM PST by stormer
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To: wjcsux
The President has very little to do with constitutional amendments, and the 16th and 17th were both passed by congress prior to Wilson taking office. The 16th was ratified before the Wilson presidency and the 17th only a month after he took office.
26 posted on 02/21/2012 12:29:46 AM PST by stormer
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To: ReneeLynn
He WOULD know more about the war than the press.

Probably, but not necessarily, communications being what they were. His propaganda may have been more accurate, maybe not. Generals have a tendency to put their best foot forward as well.

27 posted on 02/21/2012 12:41:59 AM PST by itsahoot (I will Vote for Palin, even if I have to write her in.(Brokered Convention Ya betcha))
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To: HiTech RedNeck; Moonman62; 2ndDivisionVet; fieldmarshaldj; AuH2ORepublican; BillyBoy

Neither I nor goggle have ever heard about John C. Fremont being a pedophille.

28 posted on 02/21/2012 12:46:18 AM PST by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: stormer
The 16th was ratified before the Wilson presidency and the 17th only a month after he took office.

Just as there is now, there was treachery afoot. There is reason to doubt that either amendment was really ratified, they were so to speak deemed to be ratified.

Now we all know that archived records can not be tampered with at all, so I suppose we could look it up unless some one stuffed the records in his shorts and left the archive with them. {:-)

29 posted on 02/21/2012 12:50:46 AM PST by itsahoot (I will Vote for Palin, even if I have to write her in.(Brokered Convention Ya betcha))
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To: Impy


And only one “l” in pedophile.

30 posted on 02/21/2012 12:56:02 AM PST by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: Hostage

Yeah the Senate would be just lovely if only the career politicians in State legislatures got to elect Senators.

31 posted on 02/21/2012 1:00:32 AM PST by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: Moonman62; Impy

Frémont was a pedophile ? What ? You want to cite some specifics ? Or are you referring to him meeting his future wife, Jessie Benton, at 15 and marrying her at 17 ? Hardly unusual for the era.

32 posted on 02/21/2012 2:11:25 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj
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To: skaterboy

AMEN!!! The Media would DESTROY him, and he would NEVER be elected....NEVER!

33 posted on 02/21/2012 3:48:59 AM PST by Ann Archy ( ABORTION...the HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Impy

I came up empty too

34 posted on 02/21/2012 3:58:21 AM PST by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: itsahoot; stormer; rockrr
itsahoot: "Just as there is now, there was treachery afoot.
There is reason to doubt that either amendment was really ratified, they were so to speak deemed to be ratified."

Both amendments were certainly "deemed" to be ratified by the Wilson administration, which enacted many laws supporting the Progressive agenda.

Here are the key points to remember:

  1. The "Progressive Era" began under Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt, so there is no doubt it was a "bi-partisan" effort.

  2. But Democrats like Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt embraced the explosion of Federal power allowed by the new income tax, growing the government from 2% of GDP under Teddy Roosevelt to 3% under Wilson (before WWI) to 10% under Franklin Roosevelt (before WWII).
    Today's Federal government is 25% of GDP and Democrats acknowledge no upper limits on its growth.

  3. Most of the "blame Lincoln for everything" talk we hear comes from Southerners who wish us to understand that the South stood solidly against such evil as we see, and if Lincoln had just let them secede in peace, all would be well with the world today.
    Of course that's all nonsense.
    In fact, the Solid South solidly supported Progressive Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and many others including Adlai Stevenson.

So don't blame Lincoln for everything wrong, and don't let Southerners get away with washing their hands of all responsibility for today's conditions.

35 posted on 02/21/2012 5:05:48 AM PST by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective....)
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To: Impy

In 2010 the Tea Party movement took more gains in state legislatures than in Congress.

Voters before 1913 and the 17th Amendment knew their votes in state elections mattered to US Congressional elections and were thus more involved at the state level. The states thus reflected more the will of their voters; now it does not matter so much what the state does. Hence, states are irrelevant to national elections and and states rights have suffered as a result.

As it is now voters do not know their US Senators and large money interests are what elect US Senators.

With repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments (the 18th is already repealed; all were passed in 1913 under Woodrow Wilson, an arrogant condescending academic from Princeton who knew better what the little people needed), with repeal the states would once again be relevant to US national elections and local politics would become much more important to state voters; as well as repeal of the 16th would constrain Congress to work with states to raise direct taxes, thereby drawing in more participation of voters at the state level.

36 posted on 02/21/2012 6:37:16 AM PST by Hostage (The revolution needs a spark. The Constitution is dead.)
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To: Hostage; BillyBoy; GOPsterinMA; fieldmarshaldj; AuH2ORepublican; Clintonfatigued; RygelXVI; ...

You must think I was being sarcastic. No no, If was unsure of my position before you’ve surely taken the veil from my eyes, I genuinely think it would be lovely if the scumbag who has been State House Speaker since before I was born stuck his State Attorney General daughter in the Senate for life.

And it would have been lovely for the people of Arkansas to have kept their wonderfully unpopular Senator Blanche Lincoln for another 6 years.

And it really would be swell for Massachusetts Republicans to know in advance that they have zero chance to elect a Senator. Instead of that dastardly RINO Brown they’d have gotten a nice democrat shill, probably a member of the “royal” Kennedy clan to keep “Teddy’s seat” where it belongs.

Oh and Utah, it would have nifty if the legislature got to reelect establishment backed RINO Bob Bennett, it was so unfair that the people rejected him so hard that he didn’t even make the primary ballot.

And Lindsey Graham (don’t you just love him?), what a load off his mind, the poor bastard might have a primary next election, I’m sure he’d rather just the old bulls in the State legislature rubber stamp him for another 6.

And then all these wonderful Senators will vote to reduce the federal government because the liberals and RINOs in the state legislatures will insist upon it for some reason that only makes sense to people on psychotropic medication.

Reducing the electorate for an extremely powerful legislative body from the entire voting population of the state to a couple hundred politicians, people who know what they are doing! It would take idiots like me completely out of the equation since only patriotic “state’s rights” democrats ever even run for the legislature in my neck of the woods.

If I could repeal one amendment it would be the 17th. I’m with you 1000% FRiend. Why advocacy for this critical reform is confined to a few dark corners of the internet instead of being front and center in the national dialogue is a great mystery to me.

37 posted on 02/21/2012 7:16:20 AM PST by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: ReneeLynn; ALPAPilot

Perhaps I chose the exact wrong quote from Mr. Lincoln. It was just the first thing that came to mind. It was an obvious observation but was indicative of Mr. Lincoln’s attitude toward not only the war but many other things as well.

In one biography one of his two assistants is quoted as saying that he and his comrade knew Lincoln intimately and that the man was in no way humble. He thought exceptionally highly of his intellectual abilities.

38 posted on 02/21/2012 8:10:04 AM PST by OldPossum (ou)
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39 posted on 02/21/2012 8:31:30 AM PST by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: fieldmarshaldj; Impy; HiTech RedNeck; 2ndDivisionVet; AuH2ORepublican; BillyBoy

My apologies. I had my post removed.

40 posted on 02/21/2012 9:03:24 AM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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