To the editor:
Without question, presidential historians have rated our nation's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), as one of our greatest, and many claim him to be the greatest chief executives that our great nation has had in its quite long and illustrious history.
However, Lincoln's laudatory accomplishments are even more awe-inspiring and inspirational when juxtaposed against the number of challenges and setbacks he experienced throughout his professional political career.
Professionally, Lincoln was born into abject poverty and obscurity and largely self-educated, but was able to pass the Illinois bar exam in 1836 and become a successful and highly respected attorney at law.
Prior to becoming a successful attorney, Lincoln had a business (a general store) that failed in 1833, leaving him deeply in debt, but he quickly rebounded as he taught himself surveying and became his area's local postmaster, indicating he was extremely motivated and not easily discouraged on his journey to achieve his ultimate goal of personal and professional success.
Politically, Lincoln was defeated in his bid for a seat in the Illinois Legislature in 1832; lost in his bid for the speakership of the Illinois Legislature in 1838; was defeated for the Whig Party nomination for the U.S. Congress in 1843; lost his bid for his party's nomination to Congress following his 1846 election in 1848; and was defeated in his runs for the U.S. Senate in 1854 and again in 1858, prior to his election as the 16th president of the United States in 1860.
Lincoln could easily have become discouraged as a result of the aforementioned myriad of discouraging events that could well have generated serious self-doubt that could have led to a refocusing of his career priorities.
We, as a nation, as a result of Lincoln's refusal to be discouraged or distracted based on his earlier difficulties and setbacks, are the ultimate beneficiaries.
In conclusion, I feel that Lincoln should be admired as much for his determination, fortitude and positive attitude during his life's journey as for his unparalleled great accomplishments in the White House.