Friday, August 14, 2009
2009 Lincoln Bicentennial
2009 Lincoln Bicentennial
U.S. History by Chas. A.
LINCOLN and OBAMA: A Comparison
As we are all aware, Barack Obama was sworn in as our country's 44th Pres- ident in January,2009,the first such of African-American heritages His father was from- Kenya and his mother from Kansas.
Soon after, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of our 16th President Abraham Lincoln. Facing the division of the country over the question of slavery after his election, he delivered his famous Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, later codified by the 13th amendment to free the slaves. Many people are surely proud to be slave descendants as are Obama's wife and daughters.
Neither of these men were born to privilege and both could be considered "self-made" men. Both were elected from the Prairie State: Illinois-a1though born elsewhere. Lincoln was born in Kentucky on the frontier--and loved it: a hardscrabble farm in Indiana—where his mother died. Moving further west in the frontier, his father and step mom relocated to central Illinois.
Lincoln began his adult life as a shopkeeper in New Salem, population 100, where he studied law in books, Harvard U. not being available to him. The town’s people urged him to run for the state legislature and his election marked his entrance into politics. He later was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives but defeated for Senate. Obama was defeated in a run for the House but elected to the Senate in 2004. He, like Lincoln, had initiated his political career in the Illinois legislature as State Senator.
above: lincoln as rail splitter, lawyer and president
Obama was born on our last frontier, Hawaii, our 50th state, and was raised by his single mom and her parents in Honolulu. When she remarried, Barack joined them in Indonesia but came back to live with his grandparents for high school. He was admitted to Columbia Univ. and later Harvard Law School where he became editor of the Law Review. Yes, a journalist, just like us.
Obama came to Illinois to work as a community activist on the south side of Chicago—where minority citizens were working to establish their rights in a public housing project--Altgeld Gardens. Like Lincoln, his neighbors urged him to run for public office and events were put into motion which resulted in his election as our first Black minority president.
Both of these men face(d)immense national problems in their presidency and both seemed to be aware of the plight of the common citizen. Lincoln also
had success before coming to the nation's highest office. He represented the fledgling Illinois Central Railroad: thus opening up the state to further development. His success in his debates against Stephen Douglas propelled him to national prominence. Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic convention rocketed him to national attention. Just four years earlier, when he arrived at LAX for the previous convention, his credit card was rejected when he tried to rent a car. He only paid off his student loans when his first book "Dreams of MY Father" (check your library) became a success.
-, Lincoln's legacy (below) is well established and history will be quick to judge Obama.