Remembering Abraham Lincoln
Born at the end of the so-called "long Enlightenment," Lincoln had no reservations about being guided by "Reason" or preferring it to passion. Providence, however, also played its role.
In a speech from 1838, Lincoln warned that the pillars of the republic must fall "unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense." Twenty-one years later, as he took the presidential oath, Lincoln was still warning that "Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection." The most obvious example of Lincoln's prudence at work is his handling of slavery and emancipation.
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