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Darwinian Lincolnism
by Leah Sellers
2009-02-12 10:00:46
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On February 12, 1809, American Abraham Lincoln and Englishman Charles Darwin took their first Breaths of Life. Who could have guessed that those two wriggling, bare bottomed babies would eventually have such a tremendous historical, scientific, philosophical and social impact upon their Nations - upon the World?

Lincoln, was born in a log cabin with a dirt floor in the wilderness of Kentucky. His father, Thomas Lincoln was a Farmer and Carpenter. A Man of the Land. Abraham’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, could neither read nor write, but was known to be, “shrewd and smart, kind, affectionate, and deeply religious”. These attributes of character were passed on to her Children.

Abraham Lincoln and his Father had a contentious relationship. Thomas wanted his son, Abraham to follow in footsteps, but Abe had different dreams and ambitions. He dutifully helped his Father with all of the hard work on the Farm and Carpentry business, but Lincoln's Mind was always elsewhere. Abraham was an avid reader. He lived in the World of Books and Ideas. Books, however, were rare commodities in the American ’backwoods’. So, when families were fortunate enough to get a book into their hands they cherished them and read and re-read them for years. Abraham Lincoln’s favorite childhood books, which helped to mold and shape his thinking, were the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe, and Parson Weems', Life of Washington, which honored the lives, ideologies, contributions and work of the early American presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Young Abe poured over the pages of these books every spare moment of each day.

Abraham’s mother, Nancy, had Abraham and his older sister, Sarah, memorize and recite biblical passages to her every day, as well. She taught her Children that no matter what happens in Life, that they were to always honor God, and always keep trying no matter how deep their disappointments or trials might be. Nancy’s view was that ’ what will be will be (que sera, sera)’; that all things were a result of God’s Will.

Abe, at the ripe old age of six, and his eight year old sister, Sarah, were sent to a local ’blab school’ for their education. Blab schools had no books for the students. So, the students spent the day repeating out loud what the teacher said. It was a noisy and lively learning environment, and probably helped Abraham hone his vocal and debating skills. However, due to the Family’s needs to have Abe and Sarah at home for the endless work that had to be done on the Farm and with Thomas’s carpentry business, the siblings were only able to receive a little over a year’s worth of formal education. Abe and Sarah learned their ABC’s and some basic math, but the rest of Abraham’s education was received on his own merits, persistent efforts, and thirst for knowledge. He was self taught, and his mother supported his endeavors, despite his Father’s feeling that it was a waste of precious time.

Charles Darwin had a very different upbringing and background. His father, Robert Darwin, was a middle class town doctor in Shrewsbury, England. Like Thomas Lincoln, Doctor Darwin wanted his son to follow him in the Family business of Medicine; only to be disappointed. Unlike Lincoln, Charles Darwin, was a poor student. Even though his Father paid for his schooling, Charles skipped classes as often as possible and did not complete much of his schoolwork, because he preferred to wander around in nearby woods observing and analyzing every living creature that caught his interest. He remained in trouble with his teachers, the head master and his parents over his truancy and disinterest in what the school had to teach (the Classics, Greek and Latin, and Mathematics). Doctor Darwin was probably fearful of his bright and precocious son becoming a wastrel.

As the years passed and it became apparent that Charles could not decide upon a career, Doctor Darwin took matters into his own hands and sent him to Cambridge in order to get a degree as a clergyman, which he hoped would lead into Charles’s being able to enter the field of medicine. But Charles, like Abe Lincoln, had different ideas. He continued his pattern of truancy and instead spent much of his time hunting, riding horses, gambling, and beetle collecting. Charles was only interested academically in Natural Science and Geology. However, Cambridge stressed the Classics, Math and Theology. Science was considered the ’pursuit of amateurs’.

Lincoln, born in poverty, had none of Charles Darwin’s opportunities. But through his own ambitions and hard work, Abraham did whatever he had to do in order to the get the education and apprenticeships he needed for the jobs he was interested in achieving. Also, unlike Charles Darwin, despite peer pressures and teasing Abraham chose not to drink alcoholic beverages, smoke or gamble.

Both young men, born on the same day on different continents, from childhood through their teenage years, were ample examples of one of Darwin’s later theoretical tenets in his findings regarding Natural Selection (cited in Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 1859). ’No two individuals are identical. All show variations, however slight, from one another.’

When Abraham was finally old enough to leave home and support himself, he got a job in the nearest town, New Salem, Illinois, as a sales clerk in a general store. While working at the store, Abraham became well known for his jokes, story telling abilities, avid book reading and studying, and his physical strength. Abe was a tall, gangly six foot, four inches, in stature, but all of the hard work on the Farm and in Carpentry had given him a lot of body strength. During this period of time in his life, Lincoln expanded his knowledge of Mathematics and Reading by focusing on the Poetry of Robert Burns and the works of Shakespeare. He polished his writing skills by using the Bible as his model.

Unlike Darwin, Abraham rejected hunting as a sport. At the age of seven, when he saw the damage he had done to a beautiful wild turkey he had shot, he vowed never to hunt again. Abe preferred wrestling as a sport and was well known locally as a fair minded, but fierce opponent.

Lincoln was drawn to the World of Politics and the Law, just as Darwin was to Geology and the Natural Sciences.

In between 1831-1834, Lincoln, while still working as a sales clerk, was given the responsibility of taking long log rafts, loaded with produce as cargo, down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. It was while in New Orleans that Abraham encountered the cruelty and brutality of Slavery. He witnessed men and women being treated like animals. He never forgot this experience. He later wrote,...‘the Declaration of Independence says, “all men are created equal”...if we say all men are created equal except blacks...then the next step would be to say all are equal except foreigners or Catholics...If one person can be turned into a slave...any person could...So, slavery is wrong for all.’

Abraham was noted for having a cool and logical Mind, and a practical common sense approach to problems. So, it is no surprise that this assertion regarding slavery sounds much like a logical syllogism.

Lincoln, was also very aware of and empathetic of the profound effects of Death on people’s lives. He lost his Mother, Nancy, when he was around ten years old. He was grief stricken, and sister, Sarah, was too young to take on the responsibilities of the Household and the Farm. So, his Father traveled on horseback to his childhood home in Kentucky and quickly remarried a woman he had known growing up. Sarah, like Nancy, was very supportive of Abraham’s educational studies and efforts toward becoming something different from a Farmer or a Carpenter. In fact, Lincoln often told people, ‘All that I am, All that I ever Hope to Be, I owe to my mother (Sarah)’. And Sarah was noted for telling others that, ‘Abe will be a Great Man‘.

Shortly afterwards, Lincoln decided to run for the Illinois state legislature. However, before the election took place, the Black Hawk War broke out and Lincoln joined the army. Abraham was elected to be the captain by the men in his regiment. Fortunately, Lincoln and his men experienced very little action in their neck of the woods. But Abraham was known for saving the life of an old Indian who had accidentally wandered into the regiment’s camp. Some of the younger men wanted to kill the old man, but Lincoln calmed them down with his natural gift for gab and humor, and the respect his men already had for him as a leader. Lincoln’s men trusted his guidance and judgment.

When Lincoln, returned to New Salem, after the Black Hawk War, he lost his bid for the legislature. So, along with one of his regimental chums, William Berry, Lincoln started up a general store. The store failed, because neither Berry or Lincoln were good businessmen. Berry became a drunkard who spent most of time at the local bars, and Lincoln exhausted too much of time in solitude reading his books and studying. Sadly, Berry died, leaving Abraham deep in debt. A debt that took Lincoln fifteen years to clear. But, because of his efforts to do so, Abraham earned himself the nickname of’ Honest Abe’. His nickname and reputation followed him throughout his lifetime.

While repaying his debt, Abraham decided that he wanted to become a Surveyor. After reading and studying the books on ‘how to become a surveyor’, Abe went to work as one in order to stabilize his income and increase his earnings.

In 1834, Lincoln decided to give running for the state legislature another try, and won. It was during his work at the state capital that he was able to further expand his Mind and Political Skills through mixing with men and women who enjoyed reading books and discussing ideas as much as he did. It was a different culture from the one he had been raised in. A culture better suited for his dreams and ambitions.

While working as a state legislator for Illinois, Lincoln decided to become a Lawyer. After three years of studying every law book, law code and legal precedent that he could get his hands on, Abraham took the state’s bar exam and passed. He became a lawyer and started up his own law practice.

As a lawyer, Lincoln always helped the needy. On one occasion, he took the case of a crippled widow who was being cheated out of her husband’s pension. Abraham refused to take her money and also paid for all of her travel expenses. He constantly proved himself to be a Social Activist as well as a good lawyer.

During his time as a lawyer, Lincoln became famous for his high, black stovepipe hat. Even though the hat added rather comically to his six foot four inch frame, he wore it faithfully because it enabled him to comfortably and unobtrusively hide ’notes to himself’, in order to help his memory. When he lifted his hat, for whatever reason, the notes would all come tumbling out and remind him to jog his memory. (Maybe suggesting the return of the stylistic high top hats to some members of our existing Congress, in order to stimulate the firing of their memory synapses, would be helpful to their overall performance).

While participating in the social life of a politician, Lincoln became smitten by a wealthy Kentucky banker’s daughter, Mary Todd. Against her family’s approval, because they considered him to be an uncouth hick, Abraham married Mary. A year later, the Lincoln’s first child, Robert was born to be followed by three other sons, Edward (Eddie), William (Willie) and Thomas (Tad).

Lincoln found himself Evolving into a different cultural creature. The pupae was becoming a Butterfly. A Butterfly floating upon, and exerting itself within a bumpy and unpredictable Life’s air current.

Perhaps, with regard to the Social Sciences, another one of Darwin’s Natural Selection principles, from On the Origin of Species, could be applied to Lincoln’s life. ‘Some individuals possess variations that are helpful in the competition for survival...Such offspring tend to inherit some of the parents’ traits and pass them on to their children. Each generation will maintain and improve these characteristics, and so diverge further from the original type. Ultimately, the new forms are so different in structure and habit from the original, they can no longer breed with the,. They may, therefore, be considered a new species.

Darwin, while struggling with his Father’s disappointments and concerns regarding his son’s lack of ambition and interest in a future career in medicine, was continuing to delve into his passion of Natural Science and Geology.

During his participation at a geological dig, Darwin helped to locate an ‘out of place’ seashell found in the center of England. Charles became obsessed with the question of how the seashell could have shown up in England, thousands of miles from the tropical seas the seashell was normally associated with. To Darwin, it was a mystery worth pursuing and solving.

Fortunately, Darwin had been put to work by his Father during one of his school breaks, as a recorder. His job was to follow Doctor Darwin around on each of his visits to patients and document the observations, treatments, procedures and the results of those treatments and procedures per patient. The skills he learned doing this work for Doctor Darwin served Charles well when he began charting and categorizing his observations and reasoning pertaining to his collections of beetles, seashells, fossils and other organisms he found interesting and worthy of investigation in the future.

Darwin’s introduction to the Royal Society sparked his interest in the World of Science even further. At that time, the Royal Society was considered ‘the greatest organization of scientists in the world’. Finally, Darwin found a goal worth working toward. He wanted to become a member of the Royal Society, and was willing to do whatever was required to be accepted into their competitive embrace.

When a British scientific excursion was planned to send the ship H.M.S. Beagle abroad in order to survey the southern extremities of South America, the South Sea Islands, Indian Archipelago, Canary Islands, Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, Falkland Islands, the Galapagos Archipelago, the South Sea and Indian Ocean, Charles got permission to join the scientific expedition. Doctor Darwin probably hoped that the experience would mature and focus his son upon a career.

For the next five years, while sailing and charting aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, Darwin was able to observe, analyze and catalogue flora and fauna of all types in tropical settings. The trip was a dream realized, and for the first time in his life he was able to pursue his passion for scientific discovery and exploration without any guilt.

Some of the organisms he secured and studied were butterflies, other exotic insects, the capybera (the world’s largest rodent), the proteus (a partially blind reptile that lives in dark caverns), various forms of marine life and fossils located in South America such as the Macraucheia (a prehistoric camel), Megatherium and Scelidotherium (giant ground sloths), Mastadon, an ancient Horse and various ancient Fish.

Darwin, while scientifically exploring and discovering the World around him, was well aware of the two diverse points of view regarding Earth Changes during the latter 1800’s. John Henslow, supported the view that the Earth was formed, and dramatically changed, due to vast Catastrophes like the Great Flood. He believed that catastrophic events of quick, sudden and speedy extraordinary violence brought about Earth Changes. He called this theory Catastrophism. To the contrary, Charles Lyell believed that Earth Changes were due to slow, gradual, systematic and uniform changes over long periods of time. That Earth Changes were due to the slow and cumulative actions of forces acting on Earth at present, such as Wind, Water, the Movement of Glaciers, Rivers, Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions that changed things in the past as well. Lyell believed that, ’the Present is the Child of the Past’. He called this theory Uniformitarianism.

Charles was also interested in Lamark’s theories on Evolution. Lamark believed that all life on Earth had changed and evolved from earlier forms. In the beginning of his studies, Darwin was a Creationist. However, during his travels on the H.M.S. Beagle, his accumulative observations and study of the various forms of fauna and flora, and geological findings caused Darwin to change his mind. And led him to believe in Lamark’s Evolutionary Theory.

Meanwhile, in America, Abraham Lincoln ran for Congress, and won by a landslide. However, because Abe spoke out strongly against America’s War with Mexico, calling it, ‘immoral and unnecessary’, and opposed and criticized Slavery being used and perpetuated in the lands accrued by America in the Peace Treaty with Mexico (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming) in Congress; he was not re-elected.

Shortly after his legislative loss, Abraham’s son Eddie died. Lincoln, grief-stricken, depressed, disenchanted with politics and dejected, threw himself into his law practice. During this period of his life, Lincoln earned fame for arguing more cases before the Supreme Court than any other lawyer of his time.

In 1854 a new law, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in the western states which said that each state could choose slavery if they wanted to. This law brought Lincoln back into the political arena. He began making speeches in the new state capital of Springfield, Illinois, and elsewhere stating that slavery was a ’cancer threatening to grow out of control in a nation originally dedicated to the inalienable rights of man’. A disease which threatened the Rights of Everyone. Lincoln was becoming a primary Voice within the Anti-Slavery movement.
As a result of his work against Slavery, Lincoln ran for the U.S. Senate against Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln and Douglas wound up deciding to argue seven debates throughout the state of Illinois. The poignant question ringing throughout America at that time was: Should slavery be allowed into the territories taken from Mexico? Douglas argued, yes. Lincoln argued, no.

Lincoln lost the election, but his defeat toughened him and made Abraham more determined than ever to bounce back again. The Lincoln-Douglas debates had made him famous. During the debates Abe had persuaded some of his listeners to his views against slavery by arguing that ’like any other wrong slavery shouldn’t be allowed to grow...‘that ’a House divided against Itself cannot stand’.

Abraham also wrote, ’If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think and feel...Slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy’.

In 1857 the famous (or infamous) Dred Scott case took place before the Supreme Court. This case stated that...Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in any of the nation’s territories, because it would violate property rights guaranteed by the Constitution’. Slaves were immorally considered property.

The Dred Scott case set the Anti-Slavery movement back, but on the other hand served to mobilize the movement. The Anti-Slavery movement became more cohesive and action oriented. For every Action there is a Reaction.

Lincoln, left the Whig party, because they couldn’t unite against slavery, and joined the Republican party, which formed to do away with slavery.

In his speeches, Lincoln continued to explain that if slavery spread, that white workers would have to compete for jobs and a living with enslaved blacks. That slavery was a lose-lose proposition for everyone. ’In my opinion, it (slavery) will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached and passed... I believe this government can’t endure permanently one half slave and one 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...It will become all one thing or all the other.’ The government was instituted to secure the blessings of freedom - slavery is an unqualified evil to the Negro, to the white man, to the Soil, to the State.’

In 1861, Lincoln was chosen by the Republican party to run for president of the United States. Abe’s old opponent, Stephen A. Douglas, was chosen by the Democratic party. But the southern Democrats refused to throw their support to Douglas and put their own man, John C. Breckenridge, into the presidential race. The split in the Democratic party worked toward Lincoln’s advantage, because all of the Republicans were behind his winning. As a result, Abraham Lincoln won the presidency.

However, Lincoln’s becoming the president during this time in history was a mixed blessing and an overwhelming undertaking. When Abraham Lincoln entered the White House he was confronted by the Southern states having seceded from the Nation. The Southerners decided to form a new government, the Confederate States of America, and elected Jefferson Davis as their president.

Armed Confederate troops seized many forts, light houses and arsenals, but the War was not actually recognized as having officially commenced until the Confederate artillery fired on Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.

Lincoln, a man who did not enjoy hunting and killing animals found himself embroiled in a War responsible for killing his own countrymen. The Civil War, and Lincoln’s duty and accountability toward keeping America united under one government, and one flag, weighed heavily upon the new president's broad shoulders.

In Lincoln’s December 1st message to Congress he said, ’Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration, will be remembered in spite of Ourselves. In giving Freedom to the slave, we assure Freedom to the Free - honorable alike in what we Give, and what we Preserve.’

Due to his stance against slavery, some newspapers called Lincoln “Ape Lincoln” or “the Illinois Gorilla”. Darwin probably would have considered Lincoln’s having become an Ape-Man overnight in the press to be another amusing and interesting Adaptation to his Evolutionary Theories. And the Civil War to be nothing more than an Event of Cultural Catastrophism brought about by the gradual accumulation of systematic Events and their Ripple Effects within Uniformitarianism. Yes, Things are not always either One Thing or Another; either completely black or completely white. In fact, most things are the ever-changing degrees and numerous variations of gray. Most of the time Events are the Means, and the Results, of many Theoretic Activities converging and diverging at various points in Space and Time.

In the meantime, Darwin had his own ideological battles to fight and Survive.

While in the Andes, Charles discovered a particular species of fox going Extinct. He found himself asking whether or not the same thing had happened to other animals in the past? Had they, too, slowly died off? These questions and findings led Darwin to favor Lyell’s theory of Uniformitarianism. That ’ known and existing causes’ instead of Catastrophism’s ’ extraordinary agents’ were the reasons for the Extinction of various species. Darwin believed Extinction to be a gradual and slowly, uniformly accumulative event and not brought about a sudden catastrophe.

While studying various mammalian species, Charles Darwin also speculated that every time a New Species invaded the territory of another Native Animal, that the Newcomer would more than likely have to compete for the Food the Native Species lived upon. If the Newcomer triumphed - the Native Species lost out and eventually became Extinct. Due to Competition, the stronger always extirpates the weaker species. In other words - only the strong survive! But then we have to ask ourselves to define the very nature of what we consider Strength to be. For example, in some instances Co-operation can be considered a Strength and lead to triumph in certain situations and environments.

During his travels upon the H.M.S. Beagle, Darwin observed a Nomadic tribe and determined that their being Nomadic was an Adaptation which manifested to help the tribe adjust to the Climate and Environment in order to find Food and Survive. However, the diseases brought to the tribe by the introduction of the ’white man’ eventually wiped out this same tribe - drove them to Extinction over a period of time on Tierra del Fuego.

Oh, how capricious and unforgiving the whims of Mother Nature and the implacable theories of humankind.

Darwin also theorized that the Andes were formed through Evolution. He linked earthquakes to the reason for Land Elevations. Thus, a seashell from the oceans could find its way to the middle of central England. Darwin believed that there was a direct correlation to these occurrences and events.

When exploring the Galapagos Islands, a cluster of ten volcanic islands just under the equator, Darwin began formulating his ideas regarding Adaptation. He proposed that species migrated from South America and in the same manner took on new characteristics after their arrival. They changed from one species to another in order to Survive.

On New Zealand, Darwin noticed that the marsupial kangaroo and the funny looking platypus (a duck-billed mammal that lays eggs like a chicken) were going Extinct because of the entry of the ‘white man’. In fact, the Maori tribe has a lament honoring all Europeans. “Wherever the European has tread Death seems to pursue the Aboriginal. As the white man’s Rat has driven away the Native Rat, so the European fly has driven away our Fly, so the Clover kills our Fern, and so will the Maori himself disappear before the white man’. The Maori appear to see the ’white man’ as a Walking Death which will drive the Tribe into Species Extinction.

Sadly, many Native Tribal Peoples around the World have Sung similar Laments of Extinction akin to the Maori’s, due to the Rising Tides of another Nation’s greedy colonialism and imperialism.

Contrary to popular opinion, Lamark and Darwin were not the first Originators of Evolutionary speculation. The Greeks and Romans wondered about evolutionary processes in various writings. For instance, the Roman poet, Lucretious, wrote, 'man’s origin was not godlike but animal’. However, when the Middle Ages rolled around and the teachings of the Bible took precedence, Creationism became the prevalent belief of man’s origins. Creationists believe that man did not evolve from animals, but rather man was divinely and separately made in God’s likeness.

Charles Darwin’s relative, Erasmus Darwin, wrote a book Zoonomia, in which he suggested that millions of years before the appearance of men on Earth all warm-blooded creatures could have arisen from ’one living filament’. And that the ancestors of men had been aquatic creatures that eventually made their way to dry land and became air breathing. Darwin took this theory a little further because he believed, like Lyell, ‘that Nature acted by slow degrees and that man arising from primates was the Final result of the gradual development and improvement of all of nature’s creatures.’ Darwin also theorized that Lyell’s Uniformitarianism principle also applied to Planetary formation and to the very development of Life.

While observing mammalian species Darwin formed another theory concerning Selection. He regarded this to be ‘the cumulative effect of artificial selection that can yield a new species.’ For example, a wild dog can become a Saint Bernard which in turn can produce other new varieties. Darwin surmised that ‘the principle of Variation constituted variances which were already in existence within species.’

Charles Darwin was also influenced by the books and theories of Thomas Malthus concerning population. Malthus believed that ’population, when unchecked, increases at a geometric ration, and that subsistence increases only in arithematic ratio.’ He suggested that ’when population goes beyond that which can support it, men are forced into a savage competition for the bare necessities of Life - the result being famine, poverty, disease and war.’ Malthus stressed that 'the populations of various species are held in check by the existence of other competitive species. That the struggle of existence keeps species in check’.

 It would not be too far a jump to theorize that there are probably some leaders throughout history who have secretly used the heinous tools of famine, poverty, disease and war to get rid of the ’competition’ or to weed out - thin out the populations of particular areas for various and asundery reasons.

Fortunately, during Darwin’s travels abroad, while observing the various tribes, he also formulated that ‘Survival often depends upon Peaceful, rather than on aggressive traits, such as the ability to Co-operate or to Utilize whatever food or available resources‘. Darwin noticed that ‘the struggle for Survival is keenest between allied species, because they are competing for the same food or space. He observed that every time the population of a tribe expands, the struggle for Survival becomes intensified. The better Adapted or favored Survive and pass their favorable Characteristics to their offspring.’ Also, that ’ the Variations will be preserved that increase the individual’s ability to leave fertile offspring; and that given enough generations the species changes or Evolves’.

Further, Darwin proposed that ’organisms tend to increase at a higher rate than their food supply. And that more young are produced than ever reach adulthood. Darwin also asserted that ‘because the resources of Nature are limited, all Life must engage in a struggle for existence in which only the most favored will survive’.

When considering the genetic developments of these newly evolved species, Darwin, proposed that ‘the combination and recombination of genes determine the traits and characteristics passed on to the offspring, and also brings about gradual and continuous changes in all forms of life on Earth. He came to the realization ‘that environmental conditions also effect how genes combine and recombine and can Mutate to be spontaneous and inherited‘.

Interestingly enough, Darwin believed that Evolution was moral as well as physical. He believed that ’men were not angels, but were made of the same substance as all other life’. That 'we are Beings upon whom Evolution has bestowed the Power of Reason and that we create our destiny - not God'. Darwin believed that 'Man makes his problems and that he can solve them’.

Lincoln, appears to have believed that 'God helps those who help Themselves'. He seems to have had Hope that Humankind could Evolve Spiritually and Socially into more Enlightened, more Empathetic, and Compassionate Beings. The body of Lincoln's work suggests that Humankind could not only Aspire to High Ideals such as those found in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, but that we could also incorporate them - live them daily within our Individual and Communal Lives.

When Lincoln took office as president of the United States of America he felt that his task was...’to bind up the Nation’s wounds...with malice toward none; with charity for all’. This principle was what led Lincoln to create and sign the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. This document declared that the slaves of the Southern states would be ’Forever Free’.

While in office, Lincoln worked quietly to get the black soldiers equal pay to the white soldiers, and made sure that the black soldiers' widows and orphans would get the same benefits as whites. He opened the Courts to blacks and invited the famous black leader, Frederich Douglas, to the White House to discuss black problems. Ebony and Ivory.
Lincoln knew that the Union (Northern) troops outnumbered the Confederate (Southern) troops, and that their factories for making weapons and munitions also outnumbered the factories in the South. The South was primarily agrarian in nature and makeup.

However, the Confederation had better generals. As a result, the North was at a serious disadvantage for much of the Civil War until the Union victory at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But an estimated 50,000 soldiers died during the Battle of Gettysburg, so Lincoln had mixed feelings about the horrendous cost of human lives in order to achieve something called ’victory’. He wrote and gave his famous speech known as the Gettysburg Address for the people who felt it important to note the Union victory publically. The speech stressed the fact that the Civil War must prove that the American government could work. That the great American Experiment could Survive, Adapt, Mutate, and Evolve into a Sustainable and Sustaining governmental entity. That...‘those dead (over 600,000 by the Civil War's end) shall not have died in vain - that this nation under God shall have a new Birth of Freedom - and that the government Of the People, By the People, For the People shall not perish from the Earth’.

Lincoln felt that his Greatest Mission was to save his Country from dismemberment and ruin, and to Free his Country from the Great Crime of Slavery. ‘As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy - whatever differs from this, to the extent and the differences, is no democracy’. Abraham Lincoln became known as the Great Emancipator.

In 1864, Americans knew the North was winning the Civil War and Lincoln was re-elected as president. The Civil War lasted four long, destructive, brutal years. It was a horrible National Wounding. Brother had killed Brother; Fathers had killed Sons. The very Social Fabric of America had been torn asunder.

Under Abraham Lincoln’s Leadership - his Calm, Compassionate, deep Wisdom and persevering Spirit, America began the arduous and lengthy process of Healing her wounds and Mending her broken Heart. Lincoln said, ‘ Now people must Help one another’. Despite seemingly insurmountable odds and catastrophic events, Lincoln had managed to keep the core Spirit of America alive.

Lincoln’s physical Body met its Moment of Extinction at the catastrophic hands of the assassin, John Wilkes Booth. However, Abraham Lincoln’s Indomitable Spirit Survives and Thrives Inspirationally, Uniformly and Systematically throughout the continually Evolving Body, Heart and Soul of the United States of America. Lincoln’s Spirit and Ideological Legacy continue to Light the Torches of Freedom and Justice for All People’s around the World who hunger and thirst for a Home - a Government - a Nation ‘Of the People, By the People‘, and ‘For the People’.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-02-12 17:56:43
Thank you for sharing this intriguing comparison Ms. Sellers, accompanied by a well balanced and nuanced description of the complex personality of Lincoln; a man who understood transcendence as few men have in American history and was put through a veritable crucible. I often compare Darwin to Michelangelo by pointing out that the theory of evolution is already depicted on the Sistine chapel ceiling three hundred years before Darwing, if one know how to read it correctly and begins not with the creation of light but at the other hand of the hermeneutical circle with the drunkness of Noah.

Emanuel Paparella2009-02-12 17:57:42
Errata: Darwin.

Alexander Mikhaylov2009-02-13 03:25:03
'I often compare Darwin to Michelangelo by pointing out that the theory of evolution is already depicted on the Sistine chapel ceiling three hundred years before Darwing, if one know how to read it correctly and begins not with the creation of light but at the other hand of the hermeneutical circle with the drunkness of Noah.'
Hah! I like very much that one and no mistake! It sounds like an idea for a grabbing story, something that can be whipped into a good trashy book, along the lines of Dan Brown, (or some other graphomaniak of that kidney!) Dear Doctor, I am often amazed at your hidden literary insights that you seem to neglect completely for the sake of more serious 'stuff', if you'd excuse me this silly word, (but please, do not take it as a personal affront, much less as an exhibition of misplaced irony, for I am saying this from the bottom of my heart!My compliments to you, sir!)

Emanuel Paparella2009-02-13 16:53:08
Indeed, Mr. Mikhaylov, s conversation is hardly possible with the modern "enlightened" secularist who considers religion and anything intimating the transcendent so much trash worthy only of his caricatures and satire, but with Joe six pack something is possible because at least in his stupor, between one beer and another he intuits that he is very much part of that story when he looks at the drunken Noah on the Sistine ceiling and then proceeds to connect the dots and describes the narration as a circle in which any point can be the beginning and in the beginning there is the end...As I said, it's all there on that ceiling three hundred years ahead of Darwin's theory of evolution but the modern philistine does not know how to read the stuff; presently he is worried about his shrinking bank account.

Alexander Mikhaylov2009-02-13 23:33:46
To Dr. Paparella: You are quite right, sir. I may only add that diminishing interest in anything remotely spiritual or intellectual is really disturbing

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