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I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgement of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice.
This disposition is awfully fearful in any community; and that now exists in ours, though grating to our feelings to admit, it would be violation of truth, and an insult to our intelligence, to deny.
Sherman, no sentimentalist, wrote that he left “more than ever impressed by his kindly nature, his deep and earnest sympathy with the afflictions of the whole people, resulting from the war, and by the march of hostile armies through the South; and that his earnest desire seemed to be to end the war speedily, without more bloodshed or devastation, and to restore all the men of both sections to their homes.” Lincoln thought a lot.
At home, in the office, on a horse, in the woods, in a buggy, Mr.
Lincoln thought about life, politics, and morality.
“Abraham Lincoln is the greatest of all interpreters of America’s moral meaning,” wrote Lincoln scholar William Lee Miller.
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“He was so modest by nature that he was perfectly content to walk behind any man who wished to walk before him.And in doing those things, he was able, to an unusual degree, to avoid the bane, scourge, curse, and disease that threaten all human statements of moral claims and national ideals – self-righteousness, invidiousness, moral pride and condescension.” Lincoln was steeped in the American tradition.Lincoln understood the American Founders and the country’s subsequent history in the early 19th century. Jaffa wrote: “The central idea of our Founding was the equality of man.” This was Lincoln’s central idea as well. Miller noted that “in the society around him young Lincoln found two great bodies of opinion with ethical implications.“Any casual reader of Lincoln has to be struck by the consistency with which every argument, however technical or legal, or economic, took on moral dimension as well,” wrote Lincoln scholar Stewart Winger.” In his Lyceum speech of January 1838, Mr.Lincoln warned: ”I hope I am over wary; but if I am not, there is, even now, something of ill-omen amongst us.