Thursday, February 12, 2009

Leaders Like Lincoln Are Born In The Hearts Of The People


As we are marching toward the 2009 bicentennial of Lincoln's birth it is worthwhile to write briefly write about his biography. What makes Lincoln stand different from the other American Presidents? Is it rags to riches story or something very different and daring like opposing the slavery right from the beginning? Or is it because the man survived many failures to make it happen to be the first Republican president of America? Throughout the world, whenever any one talks of motivation it is the Lincoln who flashes first into the minds of the people. It is because of his undying and relentless struggle and spirit and dogged determination. That makes him stand apart from the other leaders across the world.

There are many great American Presidents like George Washington, John F Kennedy and others. But Abraham Lincoln is the only President who is most admired, revered and respected across the world and also in India because of various reasons. Lincoln is the one American President who would be remembered and respected by most of the Indians. It is not because he is a rag to riches story but because of his leadership style. It is not because he is successful as a President of America but because of his unflagging determination and motivation. Indians love to listen to the success stories of leaders across the world especially who championed for the poor and down trodden, social justice against racial discrimination.


Abraham Lincoln was born on 12 Feb 1809, in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky.
He was the son of a Kentucky frontiersman, Lincoln had to struggle for a living and for learning. He was unlucky by birth, lost his beloved mother at 10 years of his age. And he was cared and brought up by his stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnston, provided a fine model who inspired the ambitious but unschooled boy to discipline and educate himself.
He faced many failures thorough out his life. He married Mary Todd, and they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity. But God is always great and bestowed him with success which was unimaginable and it overtook all the setbacks he faced throughout his life. Serving the people, championing for anti-slavery, standing tall among all American leaders was the great Abraham Lincoln. He was assassinated by a racist and Southern sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. This was the first presidential assassination in the history of America.


Lincoln was an excellent communicator. He was noted for his oratory and his ability to inspire people with his motivational speaking skill. Many of his speeches and letters are famous even today especially his famous Gettysburg Address, House Divided Speech and he demonstrated his speaking skills through a series of debates with Stephen A. Douglas in 1858.

On November 19, 1863, Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address which dedicated the battlefield there to the soldiers who had perished. He called on the living to finish the task the dead soldiers had begun. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Every speech contributed towards his growth as a leader and people started taking him seriously and gradually he gained national reputation. In fact, it was when he was delivering lectures to fund for his children’s education he was noticed by influential men such as Horace Greely, editor of powerful Tribune newspaper, who played a key role in his nomination and election as the fledgling Republican Party’s candidate.

Another famous speech by Lincoln was "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."


He believed in continuous learning. He borrowed books from neighbors and read. He studied law during leisure time and that helped him in his later political life. He started wearing beard at the suggestion of an 11 year old girl. Lincoln was a member of the Whig Party; he remained a Whig until he became a Republican. Additionally, he studied law in his spare time and became a lawyer. He was known for his opposition to Mexican war and slavery.


“Some day I shall be President.” Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln was elected the 16th president on November 6, 1860, defeating Douglas, John Bell, and John C. Breckinridge. He believed in his convictions strongly undeterred by threats. Very bold President indeed! Highly inspirational and motivational leader. He managed conflicts at ease as it was known the way he faced with commanders and also with certain laws. He was an effective crisis manager.

Despite stiff opposition and threats he stood for the unity of country. He survived many a crisis during his president ship. His presidential tenure is the beginning of the end for slavery in America. He rose from the ranks and from humble origins.


“I will prepare and some day my chance will come” Abraham Lincoln

Ten letter word 'motivation' must be prefixed with Lincoln. He was an excellent example for motivation. He had number of failures in his life but was undeterred by failures. He failed in business when he was 21 years of age. He was defeated in election at 22 years of age. Again he failed in business when he was 24. He lost his wife at 26 and had nervous break down at 27. He lost elections at 45 and lost vice-presidential elections at 47 and 49 years of age. And at last he became the 16 President and the first Republican President at the age of 52. That is the motivational level of Abraham Lincoln. He proved to the world that success is the product of successive setbacks.

Abraham Lincoln rightly said, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure”


He was always tolerant towards those who differed from him and was kind to his critics. He believed in taking constructive feedback. He loathed and hated slavery. He was against spreading of slavery to other states of America. He was champion of peace and harmony.

AL spent 33 per cent of time in thinking to talk and 67 per cent of time in trying to understand what the other person was saying. It indicates that he was a good listener who prepared his arguments based on logic and analysis. Probably this could be secret of success in various debates. He knew the pulse of the people and, of course, psychology of the people. He was down to earth. He firmly believed in God. He gave lot of quotations which are highly inspiring and motivating for the common man.


From his collection of quotes we can interpret his philosophy as stated below:

• He advised the people not to bask on the glory of his ancestors rather they should try to prove their mettle by themselves. In other words, try to become a good ancestor rather than a good inheritor.

• Don’t try to spoon-feed people rather try to equip the people with necessary knowledge so that they become independent.

• Try to be responsible and accountable today itself and any failure to do so will result in problems in future.

• Let us not suppress any individual’s initiative and independence and you cannot build character by taking away from any individual’s initiative and independence.

• He was a strong believer to uphold the constitution. He was in favor of makers and upholders of constitutions.

• He said not to wait for opportunities rather look for the same and grab. Or else you get only the left over and unworthy opportunities.

• Don’t have any mental blocks that somebody would prevent you from achieving as it discourages you from moving ahead. The message for youth is to dream big, and try to improve yourself constantly so as to raise high in life.

• Given the powers, then we can find out the true colors of a person how he behaves whether he is helpful or harmful. His real character comes out only when armed with powers.

• He never believes in encouraging litigation. He believes in negotiations and discussions for solving the problems.

• Always give your best you will be recognized. Don’t overly be concerned with recognition. Your efforts and energies are essential to prove yourself.

• It is very clear that he believes more in smart work rather than in hard work.

• He knew the psyche of the people. He had the ability to articulate the opinions of the people with his skillful communication. He knew how to touch the hearts of the people. He was of the firm conviction that God was in his favor and God blessed with him an opportunity to serve the people of American although he was cursed with too many failures and setbacks. He had spiritualistic bent of mind.

• It is very difficult to offer feedback for others. It is an art as it has to be given from others’ perspective and requires tact.

• People bother for their social prestige and name and fame in the society. In fact what they should bother for character and integrity.

• He firmly believed that success was not the prerogative of any individual. When someone achieves extraordinary success, it is an indication that everyone can achieve the same.

• He strongly believed in the democratic system. People’s decision is superior and stronger than any terrorism or extremism. Ultimately the people’s decision will prevail and it is final.

• He believed that no failure would stop pursuing any cause. What are the criteria is the passion to pursue the right and just cause. We should strongly believe in pursuing the just causes with passion however the stumbling blocks big might be.

• He clearly differentiated between what is right and what is wrong not who is right and who is wrong.


Abraham Lincoln was a multifaceted personality. He donned many hats like wrestler, lawyer, writer, politician and orator. He was an excellent communicator, great leader and motivator. He coined qualitative quotations from which we can know his principles, policies, philosophy, ideas and insights and values. He was a visionary who foresaw the equality among all people. He dared to dream for an equal society free from slavery. In a nutshell, he was a legend. To conclude, leaders like Lincoln are born in the hearts of the people not in the minds of the people.

He rightly quoted “And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years .”

The End

1 comment:

21st-Century Abe said...

Celebrate Lincoln's bicentennial with us!

We've read your site Where Knowledge is Wealth and think you'd be interested in hearing about our project because your blog has several posts citing Lincoln and you had a special post about his birthday.

For the last three months or so my company has been helping the Rosenbach Museum & Library get ready to launch an exciting new project called "21st-Century Abe" to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abe Lincoln's birth.

21st-Century Abe grew out of an awareness that there is an intense interest in Lincoln among the great number of web-savvy folks who spend much of their days surfing the net, as the abundance of Lincoln-themed YouTube videos and MySpace pages will attest, but that he is almost exclusively represented and discussed in a mythical and clich├ęd way. The goal of 21st-Century Abe is to engage this audience in exploring a nuanced and complex view of Lincoln and to create a community of dialogue (both textual and artistic) around contemporary issues that grow out an understanding of Lincoln's historical materials. The organizing themes of the project include Lincoln's views on race, his patterns of thought and rhetoric, and his role as a celebrity, both in his own day and ours.

In addition to the blog the Rosenbach has started, there will be a full website launch on February 12^th , Lincoln's 200^th birthday, and exciting contributions from scholar and author Douglas Wilson, co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center and respected Lincoln academic; visual artist Maira Kalman, author and illustrator of numerous children's books and illustrator of the illustrated version of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style; composer and rock musician Bryce Dessner, (member of the band The National); and multi-media artists Archive (Anne Walsh and Chris Kubick) as they reflect on Lincoln documents and provide their own creative interpretations.

But we're not stopping there! Your responses—in words, songs, videos, photos, drawings, web links, whatever — define 21st-Century Abe. With the full site launch, we invite you to contribute your own Abe finds and interpretations and maybe even win one of our Abe contests.

After researching many blogs on the subjects of history, civil war reenactment, art, politics and education, we are excited to share 21st-Century Abe at the Rosenbach with your website, Where Knowledge is Wealth.

The 21^st -Century Abe blog is located at the following URL: http://www.21stcenturyabe.org

Plus there are great supplementary Abe media sites like:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/21stCenturyAbe
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/21stcenturyabe
Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49351627682
Facebook Fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Philadelphia-PA/21st-Century-Abe-at-the-Rosenbach-Museum-and-Library/71125526060

Let us know what you think about it! If you like it, pass it along and tell a friend, or even post about it on your blog.

Thanks for your time—we hope to hear from you on our blog and website, and if you're in the Philly area, we hope to see you at the Rosenbach's festivities!

The 21st-Century Abe Team