Historical Stories

Abraham Lincoln Overcame Setbacks to Become One of the Greatest Presidents

shutterstock_115238551Abraham Lincoln is perhaps one of the most – if not the most – celebrated presidents in United States history. He is fondly remembered as the president who was able to still unite America during some of its most turbulent times, particularly the Civil War. He was also one of the catalysts of the greatest change America has seen, beginning the process of the Emancipation Proclamation which ended slavery in the country.

Lincoln was a very eloquent man, known for his speeches and letters, and his ability to bring people together and inspire them. Though he has achieved great feats during his journey to and during his stay in presidency, Lincoln has always proven to be a humble man who came from equally humble beginnings.

Lincoln was born to a modest family on in February 1809 in Khardin County, Kentucky before moving to Indiana in 1816. His formal schooling was limited to three brief periods because he had to work in order to support his family. In 1830, Lincoln got a job hauling freight down the MIssissipi River, then worked as a shopkeeper and postmaster. He eventually got involved in local politics, and opposed the spread of slavery. Lincoln had to teach himself law, and he passed the bar examination in 1836, allowing him to work as a lawyer. Lincoln won election eventually to the House of Representatives. Thus began his political career.  

Fast forward to his presidency, Lincoln’s struggles as president were extraordinary. He showed exemplary military strategy and carried on despite unprepared generals, threats of assassination, and Cabinet members who argued day and night. He was pressured to end the war because of the bloodshed, but he kept on until the Confederacy was defeated and unity in the States was restored.

Lincoln was also the one to push for the Emancipation Proclamation. At that time, much uproar was caused by the proposal to abolish slavery. Many representatives and senators did not want to abolish it, as they did not see the African Americans as equals under the law, but Lincoln was able to inspire and convince many others to either be convicted about fighting for the proposal, or converting them to support it.

In both instances, Lincoln encountered much flak from his constituents. He was continuously criticized, and even his journey to the White House encountered many losses along the way. But he overcame them and gained the respect of many others, particularly through his stories and leadership style.

His most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, was crucial in the time of the Civil War. As president through the speech, he explained why the US needed to fight the Civil War and said that it was to see if the country could survive the turmoil. He made heroes of the fallen soldiers in that war, and empowered citizens to continue what they have started – to save the nation and make it great.

He served as a role model for generations to come. He has been consistently voted in some polls by academics, politicians, students and civilians alike to be the greatest president of all time. His leadership style proved to be effective and something to follow. He was not authoritative, nor was he democratic, and he wasn’t completely hands-off. He would allow for opinions to flow in and discussion to happen, but when disagreement came, he would show wisdom through his stories and demonstrated his point. The kindness he continuously showed as president, even to the people in the lowest rung of society, was what granted him the nickname of “Father Abraham.”

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