Abraham Lincoln: Simple Man of Integrity

Abraham Lincoln

Although he’s not from New York, Abraham Lincoln is a figure worth admiring.   And this is particularly true on the anniversary of his birthday.

Abraham Lincoln never saw himself as anything extraordinary — in fact, he had quite the opposite view.   Archived in the Shapell Manuscript Foundation’s Between the Lines Project, is a note the 16th President of the United States wrote to the Hon. William D. Kelley on October 13, 1860.   When Lincoln was asked to have a law book dedicated to him, he pleaded

“that the inscription may be in modest terms, not representing me as a man of great learning, or a very extraordinary one in any respect.”

Perhaps Abraham Lincoln’s intense humility shouldn’t be so surprising though, given the tough poverty-stricken life with which the man had to contend.   Born on February 12, 1809, Lincoln had to work in various farms for his poor father, thus negating the possibility for a proper formal education.   Still, he beat the odds and at 27-years old, was licensed to practice law.

As a hard worker, Abraham Lincoln prospered and was soon elected to a single term in the US Congress.   He lost in some elections thereafter, but when he did win a nomination some time later, again he showed his humility by saying it was “the humblest of all whose names were before the convention” and declaring that if the Republicans were “to stand for the right”, he would “need the support of all the talent, popularity, and courage, North and South, which is in the party.”

Clearly Abraham Lincoln had something all US Presidents should strive for — true humility and a true sense of what it means to be a leader.


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)gowanuslounge.com.