Saturday, February 12, 2011


Replica of the log cabin in which Lincoln was born in Western Kentucky
On 12 February 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in southeast Hardin County, Kentucky - at that time a frontier area of the United States. When Lincoln was nine, his 34-year-old mother died. Lincoln's formal education consisted of approximately 18 months of classes from several itinerant teachers; he was mostly self-educated and was an avid reader. Lincoln regretted his father's lack of education, and did not like the hard labor associated with frontier life...

Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right—a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.

Speech of Abraham Lincoln in the United States House of Representatives, January 12, 1848

 A student protester stands on a barrier in Parliament Square on December 9, 2010 in London. 
Oli Scarff, Getty Images

That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles - right and wrong - throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, 'You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

Abraham Lincoln, Seventh and Last Joint Debate with Steven Douglas, held at Alton, Illinois, October 15, 1858

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