Lincoln’s Insights for Today: # 1

This is the first of five examples of Lincoln’s thoughts and insights from a lecture described at the end of this post.

When Lincoln first announced as a Candidate for Political Office, March 15, 1832 at the age of 23, the custom was to announce one’s candidacy in the newspaper  which would then be followed by letters of recommendation.

This first public declaration shows Lincoln’s character.  It also is an example of  how each of us might consider our own ambition.

Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition.  Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. 

How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition is yet to be developed.  I am young and unknown to many of you.  I was born and have ever remained in the most humble walks of life.  I have no wealth or popular relations to recommend.

This excerpt is  from a lecture by Dr. Ronald C. White (BA, UCLA; PhD Princeton University) an independent scholar and authority on Abraham Lincoln. He is the author of Lincoln in Private: What His Most Personal Reflections Tell Us about Our Greatest President.

His book is based on 111 private notes Lincoln wrote to himself which provide insights  into his personal, religious and  intellectual journey as a person, politician and statesmen. 

Lincoln’s words are timeless, especially as we face  our political divisions today.  They were transformative when first prepared.  They feel even more profound today.

Ronald White’s complete lecture can be heard here.


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