Learning Lincoln On-line


Topic Twenty-four: Abraham Lincoln, His Politics, Speeches and Debating

Click Here to go to the Lincoln Politics Home Page


Visit National Park Service for a Listing of 1860's Politicians


        Abraham Lincoln is known for his political losses, as much as his wins.  His losses were numerous.  After reading about the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858, and the loss of the U.S. Senate position by a Democrat, the story goes on to describe a man made famous around the country for his stand against slavery. 

        Abraham Lincoln Online has a table listing Lincoln's big failures in life.  At the bottom of the table listing is a small entry, Elected President (1860).  The small insignificant looking entry represents the highest success politically that anyone could achieve.  Lincoln's personal life was also full of failures and set-backs.  Did he overcome them? 

Start with an Email forward about the failures of Abraham Lincoln, and then show their truth or no-truth.

Abraham Lincoln Didn't Quit

Probably the greatest example of persistence is Abraham Lincoln. If you want to learn about somebody who didn't quit, look no further.

Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown.

He could have quit many times - but he didn't and because he didn't quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of our country.

Lincoln was a champion and he never gave up.

Here is a sketch of Lincoln's road to the White House:

  • 1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.

  • 1818: His mother died.

  • 1831: Failed in business.

  • 1832: Ran for state legislature - lost.

  • 1832: Also lost his job - wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.

  • 1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.

  • 1834: Ran for state legislature again - won.

  • 1835: Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.

  • 1836: Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.

  • 1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature - defeated.

  • 1840: Sought to become elector - defeated.

  • 1843: Ran for Congress - lost.

  • 1846: Ran for Congress again - this time he won - went to Washington and did a good job.

  • 1848: Ran for re-election to Congress - lost.

  • 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state - rejected.

  • 1854: Ran for Senate of the United States - lost.

  • 1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention - got less than 100 votes.

  • 1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again - again he lost.

  • 1860: Elected president of the United States.


Origins:   The unsourced "Abraham Lincoln Didn't Quit" list reproduced above is a ubiquitous piece of American historical glurge that has been printed in countless magazines and newspaper columns over the decades, including an appearance in a 1967 Reader's Digest collection of humor and anecdotes. It is now a favorite feature of

inspirational e-mail lists, web sites, and Chicken Soup for the Soul-type books, and it exemplifies what is so very wrong about turning history into glurge. Abraham Lincoln is the mythical, towering figure of American history, and whatever one thinks of his accomplishments, he was indeed a fascinating character. He truly fulfilled the "anyone can make it in America" ethos; he was the man of little means or education, born in a one-room log cabin, honest and hard-working, who overcame numerous obstacles and failures to become President of the United States when the nation was confronted with its gravest crisis.

One would think the facts of Lincoln's life should be a good enough story for anyone, but no, apparently the truth isn't sufficiently inspirational; it has to be shaped and molded into glurge that depicts Lincoln as a man who endured constant failure and defeat from the time he was born until he was elected President. Lincoln certainly survived his fair share of hardship and setbacks, but he also was remarkably successful in many different endeavors throughout his lifetime. Let's take a look at what this glurge leaves out:

Read more at http://www.snopes.com/glurge/lincoln.asp#cpotYfuzUy5xuSDr.99