Had the sixteenth president of the United States been a different person or a man of lesser values, it is possible that Americans would be celebrating a very different 4th of July each year.
Abraham Lincoln, one of the world's most respected leaders, is credited with holding together the United States of America when the very union was threatened. The self-taught lawyer was an unfaltering commander-in-chief throughout the Civil War that threatened to tear the nation in two.
Besides fighting to keep the states together, President Lincoln took historic steps to abolish slavery and mold America into a country that reflects the ethos and principles that it was built on. The principles of liberty and equal status for all continue to be pillars of American society, drawing people from all parts of the world to its shores.
President Lincoln's decisive response to the many challenges he faced shaped the country. He preserved not just a nation but a democratic one rooted in a free and public election that offers each American individual a say in how they are governed.
Conducting a presidential election on schedule during a raging Civil War, even when he considered his chances of retaining the office to be slim, points to the sanctity the President placed on the will of the people and their right to choose their leader. His actions embody the spirit of true democracy and remain lessons for anyone aspiring for a public office in this country. In today's disturbing times, Abe Lincoln's actions gain more significance.
His words, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," sound an ominous warning to the present administrators and every American citizen. Though he was referring to slavery and the oppression of Black people at the time, today, the country is facing equally serious challenges. Vested interests are feeding the divisions in American society, and little is being done to build bridges and consensus. President Lincoln's words forewarn us that there can be no winners, political, racial, or ideological, at the cost of this nation.
Two hundred and forty-six years ago, thirteen colonies declared independence from their British monarch and began shaping a nation that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Since then, America has prospered and developed, becoming home to people of all races, ethnicities, and cultures and reaching the stature of a world leader, respected by democracies and feared by others. As headwinds from within and outside buffet the nation, it is time to reaffirm the principles the country was built on — liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
As President Abraham Lincoln eloquently said in his Gettysburg Address, we must persevere so that "this nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Happy July 4th, America!
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