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In order to understand the importance of the United States of America in the world today, we must know our history. This week, we'll talk about the 16th president of the United States.

Born February 12, 1809, only 26 years after the 13 colonies won their fight for independence, Abraham Lincoln was one of the most important individuals in our nation's history. Why? He determined the continuity and direction of the fledgling nation.

Who was this man? Why did he think the way he did?

His mother, Nancy, died when he was nine, and he developed a very close relationship with his stepmother, Sarah. Remarking about Abraham, Sarah said, "Abe doesn't seem to enjoy physical labor, but he loves to read." His intermittent formal education might have been a total of 12 to 18 months, but he was an avid reader. And, as a self-taught man, he gained a broad education.

Abraham Lincoln could put out the work when he wanted to. Tall, strong and athletic, he won wrestling matches, wood-chopping contests and more. But he didn't like the nickname of Abe. He preferred being called Lincoln.

Young Lincoln and his parents were members of the Separate Baptist church -- which was against slavery -- and believing in God, he read the Bible daily. He was a poor frontiersman who wanted to help people, so he became a lawyer. However, hating the immoral and evil business of human-trafficking called Slave-Trade, he entered politics to see if he could change things.

When we think of President Lincoln, we think of the American Civil War. My good friend in Northern Georgia, Colonel Butch Quick (U.S. Army, Ret.), said: "There was nothing civil about it." And I agree.

Lincoln's backwoods wit overshadowed the polished, but lengthy, oratory of Stephen Douglas as they debated in 1858 in the run for the U.S. Senate. Douglas won, but Lincoln gained popularity and won in the bid for the presidency in 1860.

Many people believe that the American Civil War (also called War between the States, War for Southern Independence, War of Northern Aggression, and other names) was over the single issue of slavery. But it was actually over the broader issue of economics, of which state's rights and slavery were major factors.

Early in life, Lincoln expressed the desire that if he had the chance, he would do everything he could to end the business of treating human beings like animals. He also believed that slavery violated the principle expressed by our nation's Declaration of Independence that all men were created equal. Therefore, the southern slave-owners saw Abraham Lincoln's presidential election as a major threat to states' rights and to their assumed constitutional rights of practicing slavery. War clouds began amassing on the horizon as the Southern States planned to secede.

However, unknown to many people, President Lincoln's desire to preserve the Union overshadowed his desire to free the slaves. Lincoln said, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

Nevertheless, two years into the war, realizing that slavery had become a side-issue in the South with secession the primary goal, President Lincoln proceeded with his long-held desire to end slavery. In signing the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, he said, "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper."

President Lincoln's war and political victories were few and slow-coming. But because of his private battles, he didn't have time to savor the successes. Battling depression for much of his life, the death of his sons (Willie and Todd) and the mental state of his wife (Mary) weighed heavily on him.

In the end, the reunification of the country and outlawing slavery was Lincoln's main legacy -- for which he paid the price of martyrdom.

In numerous presidential polls, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln share the number one spot: Washington helped found our nation, Lincoln helped preserve it. They were men of convictions who, with the help of Almighty God, invested their lives in establishing this great nation.

Some people work tirelessly to undermine our Godly heritage.

Let's pray, work, and vote to safeguard it.

-- Gene Linzey is a speaker, author and mentor. Send comments and questions to masters.servant@cox.net. Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 02/12/2020

Print Headline: President Abraham Lincoln

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