From log cabin to White House, from poverty to the presidency, Lincoln faced many obstacles, political and private.



Never Give Up


by Diane Dew © 1998



"Take all this book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith."

Abraham Lincoln, on The Bible




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Despite business failure, great personal loss, rejection, political defeat, tremendous emotional stress, family crises and severe financial difficulties, Abraham Lincoln ascended to the highest position in this country: President of the United States.

From log cabin to White House, from poverty to the presidency, Lincoln faced many obstacles, political and private, but overcame them by faith and the determination to never give up.

Lincoln has long been remembered for his endurance in the face of adversity. President Roosevelt once said that Lincoln's life "preeminently and distinctly embod[ied] all that is most American in the American character ... not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life."

Consider the numerous political and personal challenges he confronted:

  • ran for the legislature in Illinois and was defeated
  • entered business with a partner, and when it failed was left with debts that he spent the next 17 years paying off
  • fell in love with a young lady, became engaged to her, and then she died
  • proposed marriage to another young lady and was turned down
  • ran for Congress and was defeated
  • attempted to get an appointment to the U.S. Land Office but failed
  • became a candidate for the U.S. Senate but was defeated
  • became a candidate for the vice presidency and was defeated
  • defeated by Douglas
  • suffered the loss of two young sons -- Eddie, 3, and Willie, 12. Willie's death caused severe emotional devastation upon the Lincolns, a loss from which Mrs. Lincoln was said never to have recovered.
  • throughout his life was employed in numerous job positions, including: railsplitter, boatman, manual laborer, store clerk, soldier, store owner, election clerk, postmaster, surveyor, state legislator, lawyer, Congressman, and President of the United State

National Day
of Fasting & Prayer
"... it is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to his chastisements; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of their past offences... And whereas, when our own beloved Country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him, and to pray for His mercy, -- to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved ... that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing, by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence: -- Therefore, I ... appoint ... a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting ... that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our Country."
August12, 1861


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Emancipation Proclamation
"... upon this act ... I invoke the ...
gracious favor of Almighty God."
January 1, 1863



Gettysburg Address
"...that this nation, under God,
... shall not perish from the earth."

November 19, 1863

What was his secret?

"I have been driven many times to my knees," Lincoln said, "by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."

Lincoln's humility may have led him to feel "insufficient" in wisdom but his words have been penned and reprinted over the span of several generations.

Following are some quotes from this man who rose to become the 16th President of the United States.

On Education: "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." Abraham Lincoln.

On Government: "This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

On Humor: "With the fearful strain that is on me night and day," Lincoln once sid, "if I did not laugh I should die."

On Law: "The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly."

On Morality: "The only assurance of our nation's safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion.

On Motherhood: "All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."

On Parenting: "It is my pleasure that my children are free, happy and unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to bind a child to its parents."

On People: "You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time."

On Political Office: "If ever this free people, if this government itself is ever utterly demoralized, it will come from this incessant human wriggle and struggle for office, which is but a way to live without work."

On Prayer: "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."

On Religion: "I do not think I could myself be brought to support a man for office whom I new to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion."

On Right: "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it."

On Scripture: "Take all this book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith."
"I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior (Jesus) of the world is communicated to us through this book."

On War: "Fondly do we hope - fervently do we pray - that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'"

by Diane Dew © 1998


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