Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Of Lincoln the Unknown

Currently, I'm reading "Lincoln the Unknown". This is one of the greatest books I've ever read which just so happens to be about one of the greatest men that ever lived. Its author, Dale Carnegie, has a marvelous ability to juxtapose the early life of Lincoln which was desperately poor and tragic and in plentiful amounts with his success as a President and leader of some of the most able but difficult men at one of the most challenging times in American history. Take a look at this passage, for example. It's gold. Pure gold.
"While the oxen were pulling the Lincolns across the prairies Congress was debating with deep and ominous emotion the question of whether or not a Sates had a right to withdraw from the Union; and during that debate Daniel Webster arose in the United States Senate and, in his deep, golden, bell-like voice, delivered a speech which Lincoln afterward regarded "as the greatest specimen of American oratory". It is known as "Webster's Reply to Hayne" and ends with the memorable words which Lincoln later adopted as his own political religion :"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"
This cyclonic issue of secession was to be settled a third of a century later, not by the mighty Webster, the gifted Clay, or the famous Calhoun, but by an awkward, penniless, obscure driver of oxen who was now heading for Illinois, wearing a coonskin cap and bucksin trousers, and singing with ribald gusto :

                          "Hail Columbia, happy land, if you aint drunk, then I'll be damned"

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