The more I study Abe Lincoln the more I am astounded/humbled/inspired by the timing of his appearance and rise to Presidency during an era when this country was being torn apart.
Our 16th President, at 6'4" tall, he was/remains our tallest president. Self-educated, but not flawless, he used his high, nasally voice to speak above (literally!) his opponents, which gave him a clear advantage when addressing a crowd (there was no sound equipment to amplify his voice, as there is today). 'Well-muscled' was how his physician described him, even at death, he could split a log with one swipe of an axe!
But of all the interesting/sad/and sometimes remarkable things about him (things like how, when he was elected President, he had to be secretly 'whisked' into the White House, through the back door, because of the number of death threats against him, and the fact that he loved to dance - described as a 'comical sight' - but suffered periodically with severe bouts of - understandable - depression) his intent through his political career was to work to keep the Southern States from seceding from the North. We sometimes forget how important this was, at that time.
Had the South formed it's own country (apart from the North), they would have had great difficulty (some say it would have been impossible) surviving an attack form Spain or France, in a bid by those countries to take their territories back through war (which they were poised to do, expecting our country to fail at self-rule). England was ready to take back the Northern States and without the resources of the South, the North could not likely fend off an enemy. When Lincoln quoted from the Scriptures "A house divided amongst itself, cannot stand..." Mark 3:25, he knew the potential consequences of secession and fought with his life to make sure that our 'house' would remain united.
Even more remarkable to me was learning that a song, The Battle Cry of Freedom (written by George Root, to inspire volunteerism among Northerners, in 1862, when the 'tide' of the conflict was turning toward the South as victors), would be the third of three elements (the new railway system and additional monies from Congress were the other two) that Lincoln would employ to turn the tide of the war back to favor the North - and it did! I consider that song to be the most important piece of music in American History. Without it, our country's history, and the history of the world, would likely have turned out to be very different.
Click the link below to hear the Battle Cry of Freedom:
He was not perfect, we are not perfect, but there is, still, no other place that I would rather be than here in the USA. And Abe Lincoln will forever stand as one of the men most responsible for insuring that 'this great experiment' (a government attempting to be managed by it's citizens, and not by an 'overlord' of some type) would have a chance to continue to strive for the ideals of freedom and opportunity for all. Yes, we still have 'a ways to go' before we get it right, but I have the same Faith and Hope that Lincoln had - that it's possible.