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February 12th, 2009
02:36 PM ET

Lincoln lived and died for freedom

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Donna Brazile
CNN Contributor

President Obama is taking a trip back home to Illinois on Thursday to pay tribute to the nation's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Lincoln's personal principles, his political sagacity and his character are all worthy of emulation by anyone interested in public service.

Like Obama, I have always been a great fan of Lincoln, whose role in our history isn't based only on his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation (for which he justly deserves credit) but, in large measure, for preserving a nation based on "liberty for all."

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. JQQ -Brea California

    Sorry Ms. Brazile,
    But Earle in Florida is right about Lyndon Baines Johson doing more for minorities and the poor.

    February 12, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  2. Mike in NYC

    Even if the South had won, slavery's days were numbered. The Confederacy would have been forced to industrialize rapidly so as not to fall behind the Northern states and Western Europe. Slavery is not compatible with an industrial system, which needs a constant supply of free labor that can move from area to area as needed.

    The Civil War was a monumental waste of lives and resources.

    February 12, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  3. earle,florida

    Excuse me,but President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963-69) did more for minorities,and the poor than any president in United States History. Oh,and by the way ,President Abraham Lincoln (1861-65) home state was Kentucky. This hoopla is really getting over done,especially when it comes to great men who gave their lives as abolitionist,so please let's stop with the incessant "Drum Beat"!

    February 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  4. L.P. Barragan

    my favorite abe lincoln quote, "prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a mans appetitte through legislation and makes a crime out of something that is not a crime. a prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our gov't was founded." that's the lincoln we should celebrate, especially on the day we appoint our new drug czar.

    February 12, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  5. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    It's amazing how we distort history to fit our own needs. The fact is that Lincoln fought the Confederacy because the US stood to lose in every way possible if the the CSA won the war, and Lincoln did not want his presidency to be the greatest failure in the history of the United States. In order to protect his ego, he trounced upon the rights of a nation that had formed because the rights of the states no longer mattered to the US government. The blood of all those Confederate and Union soldiers lost is on his hands as far as I'm concerned. Lincoln chose to fight the CSA's secession. And there is no rule that says it can't be done. If being a bully means being a hero, well Lincoln is your guy, I guess. I personally and historically see him as simply an egomaniacal bully. There's no hero worship around here today for Lincoln.

    February 12, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  6. Mysterious Traveller

    In the wake of Lincoln's assassination, Karl Marx again took up his pen on behalf of Europe's socialist workers, this time addressing himself to Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's far lesser vice president. Lincoln was a man, Marx wrote, "neither to be browbeaten by adversity, nor intoxicated by success, inflexibly pressing on to his great goal, never compromising it by blind haste, slowly maturing his steps, never retracing them, carried away by no surge of popular favor, disheartened by no slackening of the popular pulse, tempering stern acts by the gleams of a kind heart, illuminating scenes dark with passion by the smile of humor, doing his titanic work as humbly and homely as Heaven-born rulers do little things with the grandiloquence of pomp and state; in one word, one of the rare men who succeed in becoming great, without ceasing to be good. Such, indeed, was the modesty of this great and good man, that the world only discovered him a hero after he had fallen a martyr."

    February 12, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  7. Larry

    Donna. Why did Lincoln not let the southern states secede? There is 'nothing' in the constitution that prevents states from seceding. We don't mind sending our men and women to help countries that want help to partition themselves. The southern states fought for the right to govern themselves and that is in the constitution. The northern states wasted no time in sending down their carpetbaggers to rape the south and instill the southern democratic Jim Crow laws.
    Abraham Lincoln was responsible for the murder of over 600,000 american lives in his egomaniacal pursuit of power.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    I have always thought it quite sad that Lincoln, after bringing our nation through the Civil War and emerging triumphant at the end, was killed before he could sufficiently enjoy the fact that the nation had been saved; that the union would continue and the independence the Declaration was written about would prevail throughout the country. The South lost a friend that night – a friend that would welcome them back into the union without question and acrimony; a friend that forgave instead of trying to punish as the Congress went on to do.

    At the end of Lincoln's second inaugural address he stated: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

    Lincoln's generosity of spirit is as pertinent today as it was then. To me Obama seems to personify Lincoln's sentiment – I hope for the country that Obama is as successful as Lincoln in addressing the problems of the nation today.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  9. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Obama's character will determine his destiny.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:53 pm |