On Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln George Haven Putman

Random notes about the man

Reading as much a reasonable about Lincoln through my 2008 Kindle. This one written in 1909 was 51 years after he was elected President.  This has made me think of my Prime Ministers and the comparable impact and influence on society in my 56 years.

This book was written in 1909 and a reflection of man who was a child in the Lincoln era.

In non essentials he was pliable but with truth and justice he was as firm as steel.

A house divided by itself cannot stand – you cannot have half slavery and half free.

He never was directed from the main issue by personal attacks.

The true problem for 1860 was the fight to prevent slavery becoming national.

The voice gained a natural and impressive modulation the gestures were dignified and appropriate and the hearers came under the influence  of the earnest look from the deeply set eyes and of absolute integrity of purpose and devotion to the principle  which were behind the thoughts an word of the speaker.

He had mastered the issues know the rights of his opponents

“We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies . Though passion may have strained our relations, it must not break our bonds of affection. “

On Seward Secretary of State ’HIs nature was, however, not quite large enough to stand  the pressure  of political disappointment  nor quite elastic enough to develop rapidly  under the tremendous urgency of absolutely new requirements.’

On Stanton – War department.  He showed exceptional ability, great will power and an enormous capacity for work. HIs judgement in regard to men was in fact very often at fault.

Lincoln on keeping Europe out of the war.  The despatch  was reworded and the harsh and angry expressions were reworded.

Lincoln wielded the powers of government when stern resolution and relentless forces  were the order of the day and won and ruled the popular mind and heart by the tender sympathies of his nature.

When you stand at the back of the lines all you hear are the negatives and this was the space Lincoln was in for most of the war.   The man that withstood this pressure was all to keep the heart firm and the mind clear but give the soldiers a firm response.

Lincoln came out of the White House Office. “ Where is mr Hewitt?  I want to see , I want to thank, the man who does things” He was the man who gave him advice on mortars 12 months earlier.

He was the military leader and yet he was always modest in regard to matters in which his experience was limited.

Lincoln on the clergy. Different opinions, though each express divine will. “suppose all the property you possess were in  gold, and you placed it in the hands of Blondin to carry it across the Niagara River on a rope.  With slow cautious and steady steps he walks the rope bearing you all.  ‘ blonde stand  up a little straighter ! Blondin stoop a bit more go  a little faster lean more to the south. Now lean a little more to the north!Would that be your behaviour in such an emergency. NO you would hold your breath, everyone of you, as well as our tongues.  You would keep your hands off until you reaches  the other side.”

Lincoln on the revolving  doors of generals.  Hooker said the govt needed a dictator.  “ Only those Generals who gain success can setup as dictator.  What I now ask of you is military success and I will risk the dictatorship,

Genera Lee “ Lees’s  character, sweetness of nature, and unselfish integrity of purpose…had impressed.

On Chase and the Treasury.  Lincoln came to the conclusions  that more effective service could be secured from another man, even possessing less ability , whose temperament made it possible  for him to work in cooperation.  And he accepted his resignation and made him Chief Justice.

The man of distinction lives for a time after his death.

Putnam wrote the book in 1909 some 50 years after Lincoln started as president.

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