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Profiles in American History

Dan McCoy


e are pleased to present this series of edifying tales featuring great Americans, in the sincere hope that, by studying representative episodes from profound lives, readers may glean moral guidance and aspire to greatness themselves.

Profile the First - Abraham Lincoln

A bookish youth, Lincoln was known both for his love of reading and for his unfailing honesty. Late one stormy night, he walked twenty miles to return a single book to his neighbor. Upon arrival he discovered that it was a library book.

While practicing law in Illinois, Lincoln was known to keep late hours. Often he would relieve his stress by playing the mandolin. "Damn that Lincoln and his mandolin!" his neighbors were fond of saying. One evening, his downstairs neighbor, Fredrick Douglass, called the police. When the constables arrived, the great orator addressed them, saying, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time," whereupon the police took Lincoln's mandolin and smashed it.

A reporter once asked President Lincoln a very famous question, to which he replied, "A man's legs should be long enough to reach the ground." It was then that Mr. Lincoln was informed that the question had been about the budget.

A young girl once wrote the president, saying that he would look more handsome with a beard. Lincoln was so charmed by this message that he wrote back, urging her to send more letters. Then he steamed off the stamp. It was in this way that he was able to save the Union the cost of postage through the Civil War. The resultant savings are credited with turning the tide against the South. The young girl died penniless.

During a train journey, en route to speak at Gettysburg, President Lincoln scrawled a few notes on the back of an envelope. The notes were about a young lady and her poodle, 'Freeshow,' and resulted in one of the world's most enduring dirty jokes-a joke that is told to this day.

Nickname Fun Corner:

Lincoln was called Honest Abe because he never bluffed at poker.

President Lincoln was known as 'The Great Emancipator,' due to his strange habit of emancipating in public.

'Winkin' Lincoln' was not one of the president's nicknames.

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