Abraham Lincoln had a well-honed talent for plainly expressing so many deeply intuitive and elegantly sophisticated insights into human nature, our motivations, our culture and our communally shared experiences.
Often Lincoln would tell a folksy, pithy story to make his point. William Herndon, Lincoln’s long-time and perhaps long-suffering law partner, recalled that Old Abe responded to a question about his religion by comparing it to that of an old-timer named Glenn back in Indiana. The president said the old gent spoke at a church meeting, declaring “When I do good I feel good; when I do bad I feel bad; and that’s my religion.”
Our story-telling philosopher president packed a lot of ethics and theology and natural morality into that one.
Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher, eds., Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), 245.
Fred Kaplan, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008), 31.
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015