Happy 200th Birthday…

Abraham Lincoln.

Yeah, most of ScienceBlogs is celebrating Darwin’s birthday, but I don’t have anything interesting to say about that. Actually, I don’t have anything all that interesting to say about Lincoln, either, but given that he’s unquestionably one of the two greatest Presidents (neck and neck with Washington, both ahead of FDR), I wouldn’t want his birthday to pass without comment.

So take a moment from the celebratory contemplation of finches and tortoises, and give a thought to one of the most important figures of American history. Without Lincoln, the world we live in would be a very different place, and probably not for the better.

If you want something specific to focus on, here’s a link to his Second Inaugural Address– somewhat less famous than the Gettysburg Address, but a wonderful bit of work in its own right.

Comments

  1. #1 Tim Eisele
    February 12, 2009

    There is one particular lesson that I wish more speechwriters would learn from the two classic, highly-regarded speeches that you link to: They are both very short

  2. #2 D
    February 12, 2009

    What Feynman said about the civil war and Maxwell applies just as much here, probably more :)
    Maybe it’s my non-American-ness showing

  3. #3 sng
    February 12, 2009

    I have to disagree. I think it’s safe to say that a divided America would have meant the triumph of fascism in the 20th century and then nobody would have given a shit about Maxwell.

  4. #4 Chad Orzel
    February 12, 2009

    What Feynman said about the civil war and Maxwell applies just as much here, probably more :)

    What, that ten thousand years from now, Maxwell’s equations will be regarded as a greater achievement than Darwin’s evolution? I guess that seems plausible…

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