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What was Abraham Lincoln’s greatest accomplishment?

Asked at Hastings, 1900 W. 23rd St. on February 12, 2006

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Photo of Maureen Cole

“Signing the Emancipation Proclamation. It created the possibility of true freedom in America.”

Photo of Mark Randolph

“Leading the country through a difficult time.”

Photo of Whitney Johnson

“I don’t think it was any one thing that he did. He is recognized for making a series of important decisions.”

Photo of Mark Petry

“Keeping the United States together as a country.”


redbird 12 years, 2 months ago

I agree with all the above answers,more so with Whitney's,it just wasn't one thing....the Emancipation Proclamation was a true milestone but it was the man himself was a time that the Presidents would actually write their own speeches,for the most part,not have a panel of people writing,making sure that any and all words were politcally matter how long or short a document or speech has been throughout time my favorite will always be the Gettysburg Address.How short and simple could something be to have the impact and point that this speech had ???That a simple boy into a great President had a great sense of words,being a lawyer also,but knew that the United States of America neededthem at that point of time!!!!

gccs14r 12 years, 2 months ago

He was the first President to invent a new reason for going to war after his initial foray proved to be unpopular.

moron 12 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kathleen Christian 12 years, 2 months ago

Very good Marion. Exactly how I would have put if I could have remembered the details. Yes, years have a way of distorting historical facts. Even though, there are many other men, never recognized through history that have made even better contributions to our nation. We must not forget them.

canyon_wren 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't like to be critical, but Marion's information is about as sloppy as his spelling. Get a life, Marion!

canyon_wren 12 years, 2 months ago

As far as today's question is concerned, I am getting tired of all the "experts" (Marion doesn't fall into that category) doing their best to downplay or explain away Lincoln's greatness. I like what redbird said--he was a remarkable man and we are fortunate that he served when he did.

JohnBrown 12 years, 2 months ago

Lincoln's greatest act, summarized in his 2nd Inaugural Address was keeping the North from seeking retribution at the end of the war. It may have been the shortest such speech any President has given. The speech was only 4 paragraphs. I'm only posting the last 2 of these: -JohnBrown

March 4, 1865

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the 'cause' of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

gyroduck 12 years, 2 months ago

"You are eveidencing what is wrong with the view of history held by most Americans.

You know little of the true facts and therefore respond to the truth emotionally rather than rationallly."

Marion- Yes. People care more about being Right and boosting their ego much more than the truth. This board is daily proof.

Liberty 12 years, 2 months ago

He was one of our most corrupt Presidents that we have had. He has had a lot of competition though throughout the years. He is responsible for our country being in a constant state of emergency (to enable the system that is used today to set aside your Constitutional Rights and replace them with "civil liberties" or government given privileges) to fuel the democracy dictatorship through the court system of admiralty and equity courts instead of common law courts.

sd123 12 years, 2 months ago

One of Abraham's greatest moves was his release of slavery. It affected the entire world.

Liberty 12 years, 2 months ago

Abraham Lincoln did not release black people from slavery (he did in appearance only, what really freed the slaves was the 13th amendment), but actually started a system to put everyone under voluntary slavery, both black and white and everyone else is a volunteer slave to the State through the system that is now in place. The only problem is that you do not know that you volunteered into this system.

You can not be a slave involuntarily because of the 13th amendment, which says that there is no involuntary servitude.

Janet Lowther 12 years, 2 months ago

Lincoln set the example for all future "Great" Presidents: Do what you want and the Constitution be d*mned.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

I think it is cool that Lincoln invented logs. Before him, we just had stumps.

omb: so grad_studentphd writes to you to say, "It appears these blogs are nothing more than gossip columns for the mentally depraved."

Don't you just love it when people contact you personally to let you know they want nothing to do with you. It has happened to me a couple of times, and it always makes me laugh at the silliness of it all.

However, Bob, getting Ph.D. students mad at you is an accomplishment. I usually just get hard-right, anti-feminist rednecks to write to me to tell me they hate me and my kind. One thing is for sure, your hater probably isn't a student of history, or s/he would have something to say about Lincoln, and let us hope this isn't someone nearing a doctorate in psychology, since s/he doesn't realize the obvious fact that only about half of us around here are truly mentally depraved. (It all depends on whether you see your cup as half full, or half full of crazy stuff.) My bet is it is someone who will work in a bank some day.

Purell 12 years, 2 months ago


Bea's right. That's a step up from the 54 yr-old, suspect in mail defamation, bankrupt, loud-mouthed, types, who make them self a nuisance.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 2 months ago

Lincoln's accomplishments....hmmm?

Well, I have a pretty cool profile of Lincoln on my Illinois license plate. And we've been dubbed, "The Land of Lincoln."

Wish I had that kinda pull!

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

OMB - what a riot! Thanks for sharing. I am still laughing!

canyon_wren 12 years, 2 months ago

Good post, from_kansasland

Mary Todd Lincoln's life was a piece of cake compared to Tolstoy's wife's life--her biography says she copied "War and Peace" seven times in long-hand for him, while raising 7 children, making all their clothes, etc.

It does get a bit old to have great people from the past constantly being measured by current yardsticks--and I'm not sure OUR yardsticks are all that honorable!

classclown 12 years, 2 months ago

Well since no one has said it while maybe skirting around it, I'll go ahead and say it.

The Civil War was about oil! Lincoln lied about things such as WMD's that weren't in existance to get the war he wanted. And also to deflect the public away from his sexual misconduct in office and his perjury. And whatever other lame "real reason" that has ever been given throughout our history from anyone opposed to war.

classclown 12 years, 2 months ago

Okay... Tin foil hat is back on.... I'm much better now.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

from_kl: "I cannot stand the way modern-day "thinkers"/revisionists criticize and bash men from the past (like Abe Lincoln) for not being a "supportive enough hubby" or for "ignoring his kids"!"

Would you please name a few of these people you are criticizing for us. I'm not sure I know exactly who you are talking about.

ms_canada 12 years, 2 months ago

Just checked my mail, no juicy words from gradstudent. I do feel slighted. But Bob, what would you expect from a nerd like that. I mean if he starts posting, it just means he is one of us, the mentally depraved. :o) I would not give him 2 cents. Not even one. And hey guys, I just hope there are not others that resent my posting. I want to tell you all that one of the best things that I did in my life was to visit Lawrence. The lovely people that I met, WOW is all I can say. I love you guys, all of you. Just regret not having met more of you, but who knows, there may be a next time. My airmiles are piling up. I may just buy a flight to Houston, Bob. Put a candle in the window. :o) Say did you know that one of the side affects of the technologicalo age is that people tilt their heads when they smile. :o) Wish someone could figure a way to smile with head straight.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

Bob, I too received a nastygram from gradstudent// it he included veiled threat of physical violence. deleted it, I should've saved it to forward to the site staff...oh well.
out of town using up bandwidth? yeah, like his rude, compassionless rantings were worth bandwidth?

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

answer to the question: Lincoln was a great example of how a wartime president should operate, don't try to micromanage (i.e. lbj/democrat), but get behind the pros and support them. hire the best to lead the troops in the field, remain responsible and get them what they need and rally the nation to their support.
by this, he maintained the continuance of our union, and by that then slaves could be freed, and rebel populations could gain readmittance to our body politic.

btw, he had lots of warrantless intercepts of telegraph messages by americans on american soil, 'cuz he had war time powers.
created the "greenback" the first national, single, regulated money of our country...said "in God we trust on it. money is a huge element in how he won that war. literally, credit was much better for the northern government than the CSA.
good book which includes this: "Hamilton's blessing" discusses the value of government debt.
without the credit system and the creation of the greenback, the north probably would've lost. or, in 1844 Mac would've won, a democrat, and sued for peace and left the southern states in their own seperate country.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

Ms_C, I love hearing from you. If there are others, they can just kiss your Canadian butt! I think you should go visit Bob. He sounds like a nice enough guy.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

I meant if there are others who resent you posting here.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

MSC, just ignore that certainly are quite welcome here; and don't think otherwise!

he's the one who's unwelcome, whether he's local, or in peking...where I think he's possibly from.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

Ms_C. I will now attempt to smile with head straight:

o o .~. _/

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

Okay, that is meant to be eyes, a nose, and mouth.

I guess this just works best:

o o _/

lovenhaight 12 years, 2 months ago

I just want to point out that details become skewed when we romanticize history. Yes, Lincoln is revered in our country, but he wasn't perfect and he wasn't a larger than life civil rights crusader. People need to keep in mind that in the context of the Civil War, not all abolitionists wanted freedom for blacks, a lot of them wanted them sent back to Africa because they weren't welcome here. Not all southerners owned slaves, in fact most of us didn't. (Yes, I'm southern.) The Confederate Battle Flag isn't a symbol of hatred for most of us, its a flag that our not-so-far back ancestors fought and died under, not so they could have slaves, but because our cities and homes were destroyed at the hands of the Federal troops. We don't walk around barefoot, and we don't screw our cousins, and we don't hate Lincoln. Romanticizing history is not only irresponsible, it causes harm to other people. Due in large part to that era, when I say I'm from Mississippi, people assume that I am racist. Please look at history for what it was and is.

Seth Cole 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't know much about politics but that Maureen sure is hot!

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

And if Lincoln lived even further to see Bush in office, he'd say, "You couldn't possibly be giving massive tax cuts to the wealthiest of the wealthy during a time of record deficits and war!"

Or, as the punch-line to the joke goes, Lincoln tells Bush, "I think you should take a night off, relax, ... and go to the theater."

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

He was probably against the idea, so obviously he was a horrible president! ; )

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

grad_student: I understand that not finishing one's dissertation can make one cranky and dillusional, but omb and bearded_gnome did respond. They just may not have done so directly. They did it here, in this open forum. As have several others. And from what I have seen, others certainly got the best of you.

But before you go, I'm going to repeat something I wrote the other day, because I feel it is an applicable parable to your situation.

A guy driving a truck comes to a stop, and sees an old fella sitting on the corner. Truck driver ask, "Hey mister, I'm moving in and I'm wondering, what kind of people live here?" Old fella responds, "Well, what kind of people are they where you are from?" Driver says, "They were awful, terrible people." Old fella responds, "Well, I'm afraid that is exactly the kind of people we have here."

Next day, same thing, different truck driver: "Hey mister, I'm moving in and I'm wondering, what kind of people live here?" Old fella responds, "Well, what kind of people are they where you are from?" Driver says, "Nicest, kindest people you would ever want to meet." Old fella responds, "Well, aren't you lucky, because that is exactly the kind of people we have here."

So remember, the kind of person you are will reflect in how you perceive others. Think on that one for a while -- and welcome to our neighborhood. It is a place where civility is held in high regard.

corporate_sleaze 12 years, 2 months ago

Say what you will about this guy Marion. I only know of him through the comments he submits through the LJW. And, he certainly seems to have a lot of them. I may disagree with his positions, but his posts are well written, logical and exemplify critical thinking. He makes valid points without rambling about red-herring BS. IMHO.

Purell 12 years, 2 months ago

So I take it Marion has two posting names...and who said anything about him?

Busted Marion.

But to your point Marion, do you really believe that about your posts? I rather thought the posts are very much the opposite and typical of someone who desperately seeks validation.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

Purell, if you haven't already, look at corporate_sleaze's post from Jan. 15. I think that is all the evidence you would need. The style of posting, as well as rhythmic cadence of the language, I feel, would support your claim. Well done!

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

Bea, thanks, and I agree RE your civility ref.
I don't respond to petty thugs who think they can intimidate me.
once, Alexander was told by socrates something like this: a man who can conquer himself has greater respect than a man who can conquer other men.

of course, gradstudent//p.h.duh may not know who the he|| alexander and socrates were!

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

also Bea, please continue your little empty swipes at GWB and us republicans, they're so darned cute!

my favorite:

"every time you vote republican, another kitten dies."

just so darned're certainly helping our side with these gems!

lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

i tried to read through all the posts, but i failed to see anyone write that abe lincoln was a Republican! because he was a republican, regardless of what the history revisionist liberals say about him being a "republican in name only but more in line with the democratic party of today" hogwash.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

Chill, Marion. If it isn't you, it isn't you. I do find it interesting, however, that you, and not corporate_sleaze, is the one to come on and scream FOUL!

bearded: anyone who would threaten another over anonymous (except for Marion) posts is seriously troubled.

corporate_sleaze 12 years, 2 months ago

For a hint at style please see "Elements of Style" Strunk & White, 1918. As for "rhythmic cadence"; I don't quite know what you mean. However, it sounds provocative and more appropriate for another forum... direct me.

Otherwise, Marion I am not.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

YO, LD, if your ref related to my, no republican refs this day's board, but Bea has made many jabs at republicans in the past...that's what I was pointing to.

corporate_sleaze 12 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and Marion dear, pay no attention to the poster bullies.



bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

Oh, that's SO SWEET, now Marion has got a Mom! wow...

OTS: bringing families together! Yeah!

sd123 12 years, 2 months ago

I didn't say he "ended" slavery. I said he "released" slavery. As others have pointed out in the 13th amendment. Guess it's just my short and to the point way of saying it. Thanks though. :-)

killjoy 12 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree that Marion & Corp. Sleaze would appear to be the same person.

Marion, Do you ever wonder why you spend more time defending yourself than probably anyone here?

Here's my observation:

Today's posts are a good example. You post something about the subject that just leaves me wondering, "Where did that come from?" Then, you start attacking others and profess that you have the facts. Some of your posts read like you're arguing with yourself.

Your posts ramble through unrelated info. (see your 10:16am post). Trying sticking to one theme per post and try to be succinct.

The added spacing is annoying, but it also a symptom of your unconnected thoughts.

I think sometimes it would just be better to not comment rather than to try to just list unrelated info.

Feel free to attack, but I'm trying to help you see your posting as others see it.



bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

70...on a sunday...not bad boys and girls.

Lincoln certainly deserves to be among our top three presidents. his prayer, courage, and determination are examples to follow.
btw, GWB had more national guard time/experience than did Lincoln in the militia. and, yes, GWB fulfilled his 'Guard requirements, despite that trumpted-up story with false documents. he flew f102's...not an easy thing.

Purell 12 years, 2 months ago

Abe Lincoln here:

I think I'd rather go back to the theater than watch short-track speed skating...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

Abraham Lincoln was a man of character. He loved and served his God and his country. America is better than it would have been without him at the helm of the ship of state during those perilous times.

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

BunE 12 years, 2 months ago

I hope that I never see someone compare Gw to lincoln ever again. except now:

Unacceptable. Lincoln: top 3; Bush: bottom 3.

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