We celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12), and we should. Lincoln was one of the few great men who really was great. Before he became president, Lincoln spent twenty years as an unsuccessful Illinois lawyer — at least he was unsuccessful in financial terms. But when you measure the good he did, he was very rich indeed. Legends are often untrue, but Lincoln was the real thing. George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree, but Abraham Lincoln was honest. During his years as a lawyer, there were hundreds of documented examples of his honesty and decency.

For example, Lincoln did not like to charge people much who were as poor as he was. Once a man sent him twenty-five dollars, but Lincoln sent him back ten of it, saying he was being too generous.

He was known at times to convince his clients to settle their issue out of court, saving them a lot of money, and earning himself nothing.

An old woman in dire poverty, the widow of a Revolutionary soldier, was charged $200 for getting her $400 pension. Lincoln sued the pension agent and won the case for the old woman. He did not charge her for his services and, in fact, paid her hotel bill and gave her money to buy a ticket home!

He and his associate once prevented a con man from gaining possession of a tract of land owned by a mentally ill girl. The case took fifteen minutes. Lincoln’s associate came to divide up their fee, but Lincoln reprimanded him. His associate argued that the girl’s brother had agreed on the fee ahead of time, and he was completely satisfied.

“That may be,” said Lincoln, “but I am not satisfied. That money comes out of the pocket of a poor, demented girl; and I would rather starve than swindle her in this manner. You return half the money at least, or I’ll not take a cent of it as my share.”

He was a fool, perhaps, by certain standards. He did not have much, and it was his own fault. But he was a good human being by anyone’s standards and I’m glad we celebrate his birthday.

Honesty makes you feel good about yourself and creates trust in others. It improves your relationship with yourself and with others. It is not much in fashion these days to talk about the benefits of honesty and decency, but the benefits are there and they are valuable and worth the trouble. Honesty. It may be corny, but it is the finest force for good in the world, and it always will be.Do some honest good in the world.



3 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Simon Okurut,

    South Sudan: Rebels Call Bentiu Defeat a ‘Tactical Withdrawal’, Uganda’s Involvement Reveals11 JANUARY 2014 RELATED TOPICS * South Sudan South Sudan: Refugee Crisis As Thousands… * Conflict Sudan: Association of Displaced Condemns… South Sudan’s rebel forces loyal to the former South Sudanese Vice President Dr. Riek Machar said that government soldiers with help from Uganda and Sudan’s rebels took over Bentiu on Friday and described the situation as a “tactical withdrawal” to circumvent civilian casualties. The rebels further asserted that their decision to withdraw from Bentiu should not be interpreted as a defeat. SPLA spokeman Philip Aguer said government troops seized Bentiu on Friday. “It happened this afternoon at 2:30pm”, Aguer told Reuters. The defected forces also said that Kampala and the rebels of the troubled Darfur region of Sudan are being used by Kiir as “mercenaries”, saying Juba does not have ability to crush them “Our forces made a tactical withdrawal to avoid civilian casualties”, Lul Ruai Koang, a spokesman for the rebels’ military told reporters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. “The government does not have the capacity to defeat us militarily”, Koang affirmed. However, Koang added that oil wells in Unity State are still under the control of the rebels. Uganda’s military involvement in South Sudan Uganda is widely suspected of fighting alongside with forces loyal to President Kiir. Most South Sudanese believe that the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has chosen Kiir’s side. However, for the first time, two Ugandan military sources who spoke to Reuters News Agency revealed that Uganda is deeply involved militarily in South Sudan current conflict. “In Bor, our boys have been backing up the SPLA in the latest push to retake it”, a Ugandan military officer told Reuters. “Yesterday [Thursday] our MiGs [warplanes] conducted two bombings there”, the officer added. The new revelation over Kampala’s involvement in Juba’s affairs could strengthen rebels’ claim, perhaps, fuel the conflict. President Kiir accuses his political adversaries of an “attempted coup”. But, senior members of the ruling SPLM party argue that Salva Kiir lost politically and that he chooses to fabricate a ‘coup’ in an attempt to try to eliminate them.

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