OUR OPINION: Happy Birthday, Abe Lincoln

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

As Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday approaches on Thursday, we tip our hats in memory of America’s 16th President.

Lincoln, as every school kid knows, held the nation together and led it through the Civil War, paving the way for America’s rise in world history.

Everyone has a favorite president, and not everyone is enamored with Mr. Lincoln, though all should acknowledge the debt this nation owes him.

A backwoods lawyer with a year or so of formal learning, Lincoln was a self-made man. The brilliance and substance of his speeches, the sacrifices he made for this country, and  his ultimate success in a cruel war that pitted brother against brother are proof of his greatness.

LSU’s David Madden, acting Chair of the Louisiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, said Lincoln approached reconstruction of the nation after the war in a forgiving manner.

“Lincoln’s unique relationship with Louisiana is that he chose this state to be the first to re-enter the Union and to function as a model for all other Southern states in the implementation of his non-vengeful vision of Reconstruction,” Madden said.

An assassin’s bullet denied Mr. Lincoln his role in reuniting the nation, yet his memory even today is sometimes the subject of bitterness from Southerner’s as a result of the carpetbagger years that followed his death.

We commend the commission for its 10-day series of events leading up to the Feb. 12 birthday and the commemorating Lincoln’s memory. We hope many have been able to partake of the various music, exhibits, poetry, plays and short Lincoln speeches that are taking place throughout the state in his honor.

In that spirit, we offer some of our favorite Lincoln quotes:

“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much higher consideration.”

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of a democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.”

“What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried.”

“Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good.”

“I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence...I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. “

“I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events controlled me.”