Known for his contributions to the struggle for civil rights and abolishment of slavery, Abraham Lincoln was an important political leader and an influential personality who changed lives of people surrounding him and the destiny of a whole nation as such. His advanced self-control, self-confidence, wisdom and strong ambitions made him the right person at the right time for the United States. Both historians and ordinary citizens agree that Lincoln was one of the most outstanding figures in the history of the United States, and his personal contribution has shown that an individual can play an important role in the history of a nation.
His contemporaries said that Lincoln won presidency by chance and came from nowhere; however, a comprehensive analysis of his character and political career shows that it was a unique set of personal traits that made him a successful leader of his team and country in whole. A backwoods lawyer, he has served only one term in the House of Representatives and then lost two contests to the Senate. The most remarkable traits which makes Lincoln stand out from the crowd of his competitors was his ability to take the responsibility for the events in his life and rely on his own strengths to shape the events in his life. Lincoln fully controlled his election campaign until his nomination and it was one of the factors which predetermined his triumph. In the course of the election process, he revealed a wide range of emotional strengths and exceptional political ambition which won the many votes he got. Remarkably, after winning the presidency, Lincoln invited his former competitors to become members of his team (Goodwin, 2005, p. 48). It was an unprecedented decision which showed his self-confidence and became and important contributing factor predetermining the success of his cabinet. Historians claim that most of the members of his team were better educated and more experienced than Lincoln, but he became a great leader and an important connecting person who united people with various interests, goals and talents into an effective team.
As one of the rare examples of presidential greatness, Lincoln has shown that an individual can make a difference in history. Along with George Washington and Roosevelt, Lincoln belongs to the top category of presidential prestige. The vast majority of historians agree that the crisis Lincoln had to confront opened up new opportunities for bold actions showing presidential greatness. One of the most important contributions highly appreciated by the public consciousness is Lincoln’s belief in the inidivisibility of state which at a certain moment became an important factor and influenced the course of history (Schwartz & Schuman, 2005, p. 184). Lincoln’s efforts to abolish slavery made him a ‘great emancipator’ of the American history. His background and moral values explain why Lincoln associated himself with ordinary people. Lincoln might be even an exemplification of the well-known American dream, according to which an ordinary man achieves enormous success relying only on his own strengths and abilities. Having played an important role in life of the American society, Lincoln won hearts and souls of historians and already several generations of Americans. His contribution to the struggle for the civil rights and the development of the state system has made him an important player and an iconic symbol of American life and democracy.
Known as an outstanding historical figure and a life-loving individual, in fact, Lincoln suffered from painful depression, which he, however, managed to turn into an important political asset. His depression was so deep that in certain moments of his life he was close to committing a suicide. Lincoln’s sadness attracted many people to him, both his associates and citizens. His depression might have been predetermined with heredity, deaths in the family and business failures. In addition, in those times many men had sexually transmitted diseases or feared that they might have one. Lincoln’s doubts concerning his health could be the reason why he worried about marriage, which in its turn contributed to his depression (McGovern, 2009, p. 52). On the other hand, Lincoln’s attempts to control his emotional conditions made him stronger and his advanced skills of self-control and emotional intelligence made him an outstanding political leader and an influential historical figure. With his personal experience, Lincoln has demonstrated how every challenge comes with an opportunity and can be a blessing in disguise. The continuous struggle with a psychic condition has become an important stimulant which hardened the president’s will and made him even stronger. Self-confidence and persistence have become the major driving forces for self-development and important influential factors for his success.
As an exemplification of American dream, the professional and personal life of Abraham Lincoln became an important stage in American history. His attempts to make this world and country a better place, his continuous struggle for the rights of the weak marked a new stage in the state development have made Lincoln’s presidency an important historical period and a significant step towards a developing democracy and the future success of the United States on the international arena.
Goodwin, D. (2005). The political genius of Abraham Lincoln. Simon & Schuster: New York, NY.
McGovern, G. (2009). Abraham Lincoln. Henry Holt and Company: New York, NY.
Schwartz, B. & Schuman, H. (2005). History, commemoration and belief: Abraham Lincoln in American history. American Sociological Review, 70: 183 – 203.