His foundation as a public man was built on his career as a lawyer. He learned his law through exacting and careful study. Ours is a nation built on Law. Lincoln understood this and it had a profound influence on his life as a public man. What he lacked in formal education, he fortified with his innate wisdom and tolerance.
Ulysses S. Grant aka. “Unconditional Surrender” - He hated the war and he hated the army. It was Grant’s dogged determination to get the war over as soon as possible and, evidently, at any cost. He and Lincoln were of one mind in this regard. Those serving under him soon felt the same passion.
It would appear that fate placed the Lincoln presidency at the time of the greatest disaster to face the nation. As the leader of this perilous episode he went from probable failure to become the most revered man the country has ever known.
The anvil for Lincoln’s hammer! The on-going competition between Lincoln and Douglas became a perfect training ground for his eventual office as a Nation’s leader. What started as adversarial, ended in mutual respect and understanding.
He was asked to say…”Just a few words, Mr. President… just a few words…” Standing in the rain, ill with fever and despairing that his listerners would not stay through his “few words”, he encapsulated the entire meaning of the hideous war and its outcome. In two minutes, he spoke the greatest message the nation was ever to hear!
He rose from being a simple laborer to become President! When campaigning for office neither Lincoln nor his managers hesitated to use his image as “Honest Abe, the rail splitter” to enhance his appeal to the workingman. The origins of this theme were modest but true. This theme has since taken on mystic proportions.