Essay About Abraham Lincoln

Essay About Abraham Lincoln-44
He first saw the light in a miserable hovel in Kentucky, on a farm consisting of a few barren acres in a dreary neighborhood; his father a typical "poor Southern white," shiftless and improvident, without ambition for himself or his children, constantly looking for a new piece of land on which he might make a living without much work; his mother, in her youth handsome and bright, grown prematurely coarse in feature and soured in mind by daily toil and care; the whole household squalid, cheerless, and utterly void of elevating inspirations.

He first saw the light in a miserable hovel in Kentucky, on a farm consisting of a few barren acres in a dreary neighborhood; his father a typical "poor Southern white," shiftless and improvident, without ambition for himself or his children, constantly looking for a new piece of land on which he might make a living without much work; his mother, in her youth handsome and bright, grown prematurely coarse in feature and soured in mind by daily toil and care; the whole household squalid, cheerless, and utterly void of elevating inspirations.

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In verse-making, too, he tried himself, and in satire on persons offensive to him or others, — satire the rustic wit of which was not always fit for ears polite.

Also political thoughts he put upon paper, and some of his pieces were even deemed good enough for publication in the county weekly.

It was a desolate, disjointed, half-working and half-loitering life, without any other aim than to gain food and shelter from day to day.

He served as pilot on a steamboat trip, then as clerk in a store and a mill; business failing, he was adrift for some time.

It is doubtful whether he felt himself much superior to his surroundings, although he confessed to a yearning for some knowledge of the world outside of the circle in which he lived. At the age of nineteen he went down the Mississippi to New Orleans as a flatboat hand, temporarily joining a trade many members of which at that time still took pride in being called "half horse and half alligator." After his return he worked and lived in the old way until the spring of 1830, when his father "moved again," this time to Illinois; and on the journey of fifteen days "Abe" had to drive the ox wagon which carried the household goods.

Another log cabin was built, and then, fencing a field, Abraham Lincoln split those historic rails which were destined to play so picturesque a part in the presidential campaign twenty-eight years later.

First he sketched these with charcoal on a wooden shovel scraped white with a drawing-knife, or on basswood shingles.

Then he transferred them to paper, which was a scarce commodity in the Lincoln household; taking care to cut his expressions close, so that they might not cover too much space, — a style-forming method greatly to be commended.

"His heart bled," wrote one of his companions; "said nothing much; was silent; looked bad.

I can say, knowing it, that it was on this trip that he formed his opinion on slavery. I have heard him say so often." Then he lived several years at New Salem, in Illinois, a small mushroom village, with a mill, some "stores" and whiskey shops, that rose quickly, and soon disappeared again.

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