Lincoln and Liberty Too



The low clown out of the prairies, the ape-buffoon,

The small-town lawyer, the crude small-time politician,

State-character but comparative failure at forty

In spite of ambition enough for twenty Caesars,

Honesty rare as a man without self-pity,

Kindness as large and plain as a prairie wind,

And a self-confidence like an iron-bar:

This Lincoln, President now by the grace of luck,

Disunion, politics, Douglas and a few speeches

Which make the monumental booming of Webster

Sound empty as the belly of a burst drum.

Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body


Something for the weekend.  Lincoln and Liberty Too, the most stirring campaign song in American history, sung by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War music to modern audiences.  Mr. Lincoln’s birthday is on Monday which this year coincides with the state holiday in Illinois.  I always close down the law mines on that day.  Lincoln used to say that Henry Clay was his ideal of a statesman and for me Abraham Lincoln has always filled that role.  Presidents come and Presidents go, but Washington and Lincoln remain, the fixed stars of the better angels of our natures.

More to explorer


  1. “Presidents come and Presidents go, but Washington and Lincoln remain, the fixed stars of the better angels of our natures.”

    Reagan too, Reagan too!

  2. One thing that we moderns tend to forget is that figures like Washington and Lincoln were actually very controversial and “divisive” in their own time. Well, maybe not Washington but Lincoln certainly was. This passage from the American Winston Churchill’s novel “The Crisis” — written in 1901, when the Civil War was still within living memory and people who knew Lincoln personally were still alive — sums it up pretty well:

    “Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. And the moan of the storm gathering in the South grew suddenly loud and louder….it might well seem strange –yea, and intolerable –to many that this comedian of the country store, this crude lawyer and politician, should inherit the seat dignified by Washington and the Adamses.”

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