Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abraham Lincoln

Today, Lincoln's birthday, I thought I'd mention something about him. I've been reading Team of Rivals, which tells the story of Lincoln's rise to the presidency. It's quite an interesting book and very informative.
Among the many lessons from Lincoln's life, one is hard work.
He became president not through some quirk of fate, but because he worked hard for it. In the year or so before his election, he went on a speaking tour in the East Coast, where he was not widely known. That was a critical factor in helping him later win the nomination and the election. His chief rival, William Seward, went on a tour of Europe instead of actively campaigning.(He was following some bad advice from his campaign manager!)
Lincoln was very savvy and knew how to promote himself without attacking his rivals. On occasions when he had some cause for taking revenge, he didn't stoop to that but took the high road.
After he was elected president, Lincoln invited his chief rivals into his cabinet, including Seward. That kind of virtue is a good model for civic life.

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