We can Learn A Lot from the Man on the $5 Bill
I’ve recently been reading a lot of books about Abraham Lincoln. The latest one I read was Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. It had been at least 20 years since I picked up a book on Lincoln. I’d always found him to be fascinating and a great president, but now I really understand why.
Lincoln was a true leader. Despite everything going on around him, he put the needs of the country ahead of everything else. Even though he was on the losing side during most of the Civil War, he was still focused on the principle of one united country and freedom for all people. Several times he had to convince the generals of the bigger picture, and he often had a hard time getting support in the field of battle for defending this idea and not allowing the South to secede from the Union.
Toward the end of the war he turned his efforts to convincing the leadership and the cabinet not to punish the South. He was against war crimes and believed we needed to rebuild the South and become one. It all started the in way Grant accepted Lee’s surrender. It was done in the most eloquent way, something we would never see today.
Despite death threats he still kept moving forward and stayed above it, never wavering. He even had a dream about ‘someone’ getting killed in the White House the night before he was shot. Lincoln told his cabinet about the dream the day he was assassinated.
We all have a lot to learn from Lincoln, not only politically, but also personally. He was always focused on the greater good, even after surviving personal tragedies including the loss of his child. He put everyone and every need in front of his own, he organized and he led his family and country with his values and beliefs. I don’t know if I could ever be as self-sacrificing as Lincoln, but I can try.