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Bicentennial birthday

"Bicentennial birthday" Continued...

"He refused to let his own ego get in the way of carrying out his oath of office," Burlingame said.

In a reply to a young Union captain who had been grumbling about his superior officers, Lincoln wrote in 1863: "No man determined to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention."

Lincoln believed you start with humility, not arrogance, and that one must be willing both to listen and use inclusive language in seeking reconciliation.

"He imputed the best possible motives to those who were reputed to be opponents or even enemies," White said

Finally, he is still relevant today because his words endure. They are not stuck in time. White said Lincoln had an ability to think into the future.

In his annual message to Congress in December 1862, Lincoln wrote, "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present. As our case is new so we must think anew, and act anew."

As Congress, the White House, and the nation face their own battles with a spiraling economy, job losses, wars in two countries, and the threat of future attacks from Islamic extremists, Lincoln's words can be useful.

"Lincoln taught us that every generation has to redefine America for its own time," White said.
Read Marvin Olasky's "Lincoln and God," posted on WORLD's Commentary blog.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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