What is it with Obama and Lincoln?

United States
January 12, 2009 1:09pm CST
Obama is going to use Lincoln's bible to be sworn in. Obama is copying Lincoln's stragy of appointing his competition to positions in his cabinet.He is reading books about Lincoln. He went to visit the Lincoln Memorial. There are stories all over the news drawing comparisons between the two. They say he will be the "great uniter" like Lincoln. Well I hate to break it to you but Lincoln only "united" the country by force (a civil war).The country was not united because he found common goals for the country, found a way to avoid the war,or was such a great president that everyone loved him. Plus Lincoln violated the Constitution that this country was founded. Why would Obama want to be so closely linked to Lincoln? Why would Lincoln and his presidency have influence over Obama? I could think of better presidents (democrat and republic) than Lincoln to be influenced by. What do you think?
4 people like this
14 responses
@BlueGoblin (1833)
• United States
12 Jan 09
I think the question is simple to answer. Lincoln was the greatest President from Illinois. Obama is not comparing himself to Lincoln nor does he want to be Lincoln. He's just honoring Illinois politics and history.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jan 09
That may be but Lincoln is a pretty constraversial president to pick to do that. It opens up old wounds about the civil war and states rights. NOt exactly the way to start of your presidency when he said he was going to be the uniter.
• United States
13 Jan 09
Yeah, but all people want to know about Lincoln is that he freed the slaves. People are fine with ignoring everything else he stood for.
• France
12 Jan 09
Perhaps Obama feels it'll be poetic as the first black president to honor Lincoln, since Lincoln is commonly credited for freeing the slaves and thus starting the civil rights movement. Obama's presidency will be the culimination of what Lincoln started, at least where Civil Rights are concerned.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jan 09
If you ask me there was nothing Civil about the Civil War. Lincoln may be created with those things but he also is created with some pretty mad things too.
@rsa101 (15522)
• Quezon City, Philippines
13 Jan 09
I am not an American history expert but I read somewhere else that it was in Lincoln's time that the Black Americans were given freedom from slavery. it was in his time that the very first black American was recognized. Although since that was the first time it was implemented that is why it took some more years before the Black Americans really felt their freedom which I think at some point is still struggling to maintain that freedom of theirs.
@us2owls (1681)
• United States
13 Jan 09
Lincoln abolished slavery but as you said there are still times when black Americans are not treated in the way that they should be. We still have a lot of racist people living in our country and it is high time it was stopped.
• United States
13 Jan 09
How is not liking Lincoln racist?Yes Slavery was wrong. But Lincoln did some very wrong stuff himself. HE violated the constitution among them. He was not the best president. But I guess sense it was such a long time ago most people do not realize the full history of Licoln and his presidency. That makes me think in a hundred years people might remember Bush as a great president too instead of remembering his true history. Schools just do not teach this stuff like they used to.
@rsa101 (15522)
• Quezon City, Philippines
13 Jan 09
I guess there is no perfect president to date. Most have their own flaws as they are only humans too. Obama is likely a human too he may commit mistakes in his fulfillment of his duties but then we should always look at the bigger picture by looking at him as a person not as a god or a saint that cannot commit mistakes in his life. Lincoln may have violated some in the constitution but he was still considered one of the best presidents in your country because of what he has done. He may not have truly united your country because it still is a divided country but somehow you still stand as one country not a fragmented country of the past.
@irisheyes (4373)
• United States
13 Jan 09
I disagree, I think Lincoln is a pretty good choice for a role model. Admittedly I'm a bit biased since Lincoln is my second favorite president. As far as Obama's connection to Lincoln is concerned. They were both elected out of Illinois. You could say that Lincoln has always been Illinois's favorite son and I don't see anything unusual about a president elect from Illinois being enamored of Lincoln. Actually, the articles that I've read on Obama indicate that he has also been reading a lot on the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my first favorite president.
• United States
13 Jan 09
But to model his presidency after him? How is that "change"?
• United States
13 Jan 09
I guess this just a matter of perspective...my favorite was Ragean. But that does not mean if I was elected that I would model my presidency after him.
@irisheyes (4373)
• United States
13 Jan 09
I maybe should have asked this before but what exactly do you mean when you say "modelling his presidency on". The idea of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer (eg competition in the cabinet) is a theory that occurred way before Lincoln. It probably goes back to Machivelli at least. Maybe Obama just sees where Lincoln incorporated a lot of good political theory into his presidency. I certainly don't think he can or will model his presidency on Lincoln's. At least I hope not. It's a different world. No twenty first century presidency can be strictly modelled on a nineteenth century model.
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
12 Jan 09
My guess is because both of them where Senators from Illinois, but that is my guess. Lincoln violated the Constitution, well Lilwonders set back because I believe Obama is going to violate the Constitution a hand full of times.
• United States
12 Jan 09
It says Land of Lincoln on Illinois license plates. People might hate him in some parts of the country but in Illinois he is a hero.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jan 09
gewcew23 I fear you maybe right or at least he will try. We are about to find out how our elected officials respect the constitution and the bill of rights. And if the american public will stand for it.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jan 09
bluegoblin- Well comparing what Ill.'s past is with their elected officals that is not saying much. CNN called Ill. the most politically corrupt state in the country.
1 person likes this
@nowment (1758)
• United States
12 Jan 09
While I do not think Lincoln was the best president the US has known, and yes he united the country through force of war, and well not sure how it is that we really can compare any president from 150 years ago to one who is to take office today, if it is to be done than I think it sad, are we then to revert to the way things were more than a hundred years ago? I suppose personally I should think if there was a quality to be emulated by presidents from one other president it would be the attitude of say Truman, he took responsibilty for his words, actions and choices, more than any other and that would be the quality I would want any president to emulate. I do think that Lincoln had some fine goals, and ideals, I do like that he felt that there should be freedom for all, but then if that is the case how do you justiify denying the south its freedom from the north? I like that Lincoln was not about punishing the south for the war but rather working towards a reunification of the two sides. How would he have handled that I don't know he was killed before he could. I am not looking for any president to emulate that and become a martyr to assination. As for President Elect Obama, what is it then that he wants to emulate in regards to Lincoln? I suppose I kind of just don't get that. I also don't see where the comparisson can be made the country is not the same as it was then. I can see however where ideals more so than realities could be an influence. The Ideals of being sure that there are rights for everyone, the ideals of bringing people together, to work together towards building a better economy and a recovery for the country are ones that are nice ideals, but is that what was done, and how something is done is going to be as important as the results. So it should be interesting.
• United States
12 Jan 09
I agree. Slavery was wrong. But then "freedom" for all should have also included letting the south be "free" of the rest of the country if they wanted to be. But I really do not get how Lincoln would be the one president that obama most closely identified with.
• United States
12 Jan 09
Well...could it have some correlation with slavery and Obama actually being black? but that isn't what I am curious about, I am curious if he will actually pledge to the bible...with him being Muslim and all..that would basically make him a blood traitor to the Islamic Religion.
@nowment (1758)
• United States
16 Jan 09
It would be nice if President Elect explained why President Lincoln is the one that he most identifies with, and you would think it would help with the publicity angle if he shared why. I also agree that supposedly the war was about freedom, but like anything it was about economics and power, because as you said, if it was about freedom then surely the south had the freedom to choose to become a separate country, or does it? Does this mean that people can then at a given moment declare their freedom and become a separate country? Could we then end up instead of one nation as several, it is something that is kind of hard long debate lol not part of the topic of this post. I am interested in knowing why the connection, because I will be honest I don't know of one. And then luvandpower has made a good point, why is he choosing the Lincoln bible, why any bible at all when he is Muslim?
@luvandpower (2049)
• United States
12 Jan 09
I think it may have something to do with just drawing a crowd...I mean supposed famous president is awed after by first African-American President. That would be the headline. It is all publicity I think...by the way I was not trying to make that racist.
@nowment (1758)
• United States
12 Jan 09
I can see what you mean about it being a publicity, after all few people know more about the Lincoln presidency then that he was Lincoln and he was supposed to be Honest Abe, and the positive hype about him, so of coure it would then be a great publicity image idea to have the next President be linked with a positive image. I mean I laugh when I see sales pitches using George Washington LOL because people are supposed to feel that the sales pitch is honest because of the image as the father of the country bringing stabiity ie quality, and the story of the cherry tree lol but well I instead tend to think of his attempt at genocide, and so I find it laughable that people associate the idea of integrity with Washington. I guess the links are that we are to think in terms of greatness, of legends in the making. Well I know it is historic, but hey it is part of history therefore historic when anyone is elected. Yes this is different. you said you were not trying to make it racist, and it is supposed to show that anyone regardless of race can be president, and the idea is that he is president for everyone so race should not enter into things which is the right ideal, yet the hype of this makes it racist. When it should be about the man, not the race of the man.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jan 09
When it should be about the man, not the race of the man. That is how it is suppost to be. But the media has made it about race.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jan 09
yes they have lilwonders...I noticed that also...quite ironic considering MLK holiday is coming up eh?
@us2owls (1681)
• United States
13 Jan 09
I think that since Obama was Senator from Illinois then it is appropriate that he is remembering Lincoln whose actions wether it be war or something else gave people such as Obama that opportunity to run for and be elected to piblic office. One thing in your post that stuck me lilwonders was when you said that Obama visited the Lincoln Memorial. Well unless Illinois gets rid of its crooked Governor that might be the last chance anyone gets to visit it because historic sites such as that are being closed by Blagojevich.
• United States
13 Jan 09
uh the Lincoln Memorial is in Washington DC....not to far from the white house. I have been there myself a few years ago. Do the governor the Ill can close it. It is a HUGE federal Memorial.
• United States
13 Jan 09
SOrry I meant to say the governor of Ill can not close it because it is a federal monument.
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
15 Jan 09
I don't think it's anything very "deep". Lincoln was one of our most admired Presidents although obviously everyone doesn't agree. The same could be said about John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. There are similarities, both are from Illinois and had been Senators from that state and both took office at a very divisive time in our country's history. I kind of think his focus on Lincoln is as much to pay homage for the people of his state as anything else. Annie
• United States
15 Jan 09
your probly right.....plus Lincoln 200t birthday is coming up real soon.
• United States
13 Jan 09
We all have opinions and should all agree to disagree. I agree there are many others out there to be influenced by, but you also have to remember, the media LOVES to twist and distort things and make them bigger issue than it truly is (the more interesting you make the story, the more readers/ viewers, etc). Major in Journalism and you learn that one in your first semester of Freshman year. I think it is the symbolism of using Lincoln's bible. Lincoln was credited for freeing the slaves. Though there is still racism in the United States, we have elected the first African-American president. It shows how far we have come as a country, and I believe Obama chose Lincoln's bible because he is inspired by what Lincoln did about slavery, because without that, he would not have achieved what many thought they would never see in their lifetime. Because of Lincoln's actions (whether you agree or disagree), Obama achieved something absolutely historic for our country, and he wants to honor the actions of Lincoln that allowed him to become the first African-American president. Just because people believe he will be a "great uniter" like Lincoln, doesn't mean he will go about it in the same ways. We have come a long way and there are many other options and ways to go about uniting a country without a civil war.
• United States
13 Jan 09
I agree about the media. But its not just hte bible. He is copying Lincoln in his cabinet picks (appointing the people that ran against him), going to the Lincoln Memorial and making a big deal about it. True his 200th birthday is just around the corner. But I do wonder what hte fasication is for Obama with this president.
@jillmalitz (5132)
• United States
13 Jan 09
Lincoln as the 16th President of the United States is listed as the most popular President of all time. The civil war was going to happen no matter what he did. Plus have you noticed that Bush has read Lincoln too? Most people have either studied or read the Gettysburg Address which he gave and use that as a basis of uniting the country. There are several good books written about him. You might enjoy reading a couple of the bios including one by Carl Sandburg.
• United States
13 Jan 09
Trust me I have read a lot about him and other presidents. I am a history buff. My idea of light reading are history books. I do not think the civil war would have happened no matter what. Both sides were too hot headed to deal with it correctly. But that is no excuse to violate the constitution which is what he did. I know a lot of presidents read about Lincoln...but few model the start of their presidency after him like Obama has.
@MntlWard (880)
• United States
13 Jan 09
I was surprised enough by the first thread about this subject, but to see there are two is kind of baffling. What does it matter, exactly? Do you think Obama is going to declare another civil war or something?
• United States
13 Jan 09
No....but the choice of THIS president does baffle me. Lincoln's presidency is rather contraversial and dividing for Obama to pick....especiallly for the soon to be president that says he will be a "uniter".
@jonesy123 (3950)
• United States
12 Jan 09
Personally I think Obama is taking the Lincoln stuff a bit too far. He takes the train ride, he eats the same food on inauguration day, swears on the same bible... it's overdoing it to the point that it is comical. Admiration is one thing, wanting to essentially salute Lincoln and honor him, fine, but downright imitation... does he have no original thought of his own? Well, at least that comes to mind. At this point I'm not even sure if he truly admires Lincoln or if he thinks that it will put him in a better light if people think he does. Isn't it Lincolns 200th birthday sometime soon? I think he tries to link himself to Lincoln because Lincoln is seen as a great president who ended slavery. He also supposively is one of the few black presidents who ran as white people and disguised their true heritage (he had a rather dark complexion). Essentially, he paved the way for Obama to be president today so to speak. Personally I think he should do less imitating (MLK at the national convention, Lincoln now) and do more original acceptable things on his own. He should have an original thought, not just be a copycat.
• United States
12 Jan 09
I have to agree...He needs to stop imitating other people and just be himself. And yes Licoln's 200th birthday is soon.
• China
13 Jan 09
More than anything,the popele say,the founders were hampered by zhe culture of their time. While Lincoln privately expressed distaste for slavery,they also understood that it was part of the political and economic bedrock of the country they helped to create.Today I think Obama will be OK , as he know more about the world .