|Cast in a
new mould, Abraham Lincoln was indeed one of the great leaders
of all time. He led his country at the time of one of its
greatest crises. It was a true leadership of firmness and moral
rigidity, balanced by a passion for peace and forgiveness. As
an iron man he suppressed the secessionists, but never
hesitated to shower mercy on the mercy-seekers.
Born on, February 12,1809, Lincoln never attended school a
year, all told. Life was his school and he was his own teacher.
A youthful giant at 6 ft 4, he was hired out by his own father
to prosperous neighbors for his skill and power to face hardship.
He took to studying law when he was keeping his own store in
New Salem. Before he became a lawyer, Lincoln's neighbors
elected him to the Legislature. It was like a university who
never associated with educated people. And it was from there he
straightaway became a leader of the Whigs. And finally he
emerged as their candidate for Speaker.
The declaration for woman suffrage, and his stand against
slavery made him a legislator worth of remembrance. Specially,
even so many days after his death. It was Lincoln who made his
life a living campaign for democracy, fraternity and equality.
And he fought hard to turn them into a reality all throughout his life, till his
death on April 15, 1865.
And these two significant moves made him the most prominent
young lawyer in Springfield. It was his deep disliking against
injustice and slavery that led this lawyer to enter politics.
As the President in his later life, he freed millions of slaves
by a stroke of his pen.
He joined the newly formed Republican party whose ideals suited
him. He at once became its leader in Illinois. Lincoln became
the President elect in 1860 as a minority candidate. It was at
this time that the southern states finally decided to secede,
or split up from the Union. In the year 1861 war broke out
between the mineral-rich north and the slave-rich south in the
farming belt. It was one of the most bitter civil wars of
history. Many states dependant on slaves labors had already
joined the southern confederacy.
Lincoln was determined to save the Union. He prosecuted the war
with the sole aim of forcing the south to surrender completely
and break up their confederacy. He tried to prevent the nation
going into war. But just did not succeed. Despite some initial
success, the secessionists were finally defeated as the two
superior generals of the southerners surrendered. They were
Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson. And following this
slavery was abolished by Lincoln in 1863 and the slaves in the
south abandoned their masters. But the defeat was not taken by
all with an equal spirit. Lincoln was assassinated on April
14,1865, five days after the surrender, and he died the next morning.
The life of this great leader thus came to a shocking end.
Though he came to Presidency without any previous executive
experience, his greatness lies more in his simple humanity. It
was his unshakeable faith in the right and in his leadership of
the people. The secret of his leadership everywhere was the
same - his kinship with the people, who never failed him.