Lincoln: A Greater Good for all Mankind

Lincoln: A Greater Good for all Mankind


(powerful music) (dramatic music) – It was in this seat that Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot over 150 years ago in Ford’s Theatre, Washington, D.C. The Confederate States had just surrendered five days earlier. The brutal Civil War had finally come to a climactic end. America had been at war with itself for four long years and during this time, the U.S. had changed forever. And the man who had held the country together through that time was the 16th president
of the United States and now the first one to be assassinated. Abraham Lincoln held the
highest office in the land, President of the United States. He preserved the unity of the nation and freed slaves. His name is synonymous with liberty, democracy and freedom, and he is consistently considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, American president. How did this man, who had less than one
year of formal education, come to be regarded as one
of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, and is there anything we can learn that could impact our own lives today? (powerful music) (country music) Abraham Lincoln was born on the 12th of February, 1809 in a humble log cabin to Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Like many others in those days, the family farmed and lived off the land. They were very poor and were of low social standing with very little education. In Abraham’s youth, the family moved frequently trying to stay one step
ahead the financial ruin before eventually settling down in Coles County, Illinois. When he was nine years old, his mother died. His father remarried a year later to Sarah Bush Johnston. Sarah encouraged the young Abraham to educate himself by reading the Bible and studying books. Lincoln himself admitted that the total amount of formal schooling he received in his childhood was no more than 12 months. Nevertheless, he became
an excellent reader, learned to write, and went on to write and deliver some of the country’s greatest speeches. As a young man, Lincoln
worked a variety of jobs including a shop keeper, a surveyor and a post master, and served as a militia captain
during the Black Hawk War, a brief conflict between the United States and native Americans in 1832. For a time, he even split
firewood for a living. He soon moved into politics and won a seat in the
Illinois legislature, where he served from 1834 to 1836. During this time, Lincoln
also taught himself law, passing the bar examination in 1836. The following year, he moved to the newly named state capital of Springfield. For the next few years, he worked there as a lawyer earning a reputation as Honest Abe, and serving a diverse range of clients from individual residents of small towns to national railroad lines. In 1842, he met Mary Todd, daughter of a wealthy family in Kentucky. After they were married, Abraham and Mary lived here in this house in Springfield on the northeast corner of Eighth and Jackson streets for 17 years, from 1844 to 1861. Lincoln lived in Springfield for most of his adult life. It was here he raised his family, developed his beliefs
about freedom and equality and attained the highest
office in the country. The two largest rooms in the house, the front and rear parlours, were the first stop for any visitor to the Lincoln home. These were the rooms where Abraham Lincoln would conduct household business, host potential clients, and entertain guests. On May 19, 1860, here in the back parlour, delegates from the Republican
National Convention formally offered Mr. Lincoln the Republican nomination for president. Lincoln accepted four days later and took the first step toward the White House from this room. During the 1800s, America
was caught in transition. What had been an almost
purely agricultural economy was in the first stages of
an industrial revolution. This would result in the United States becoming one of the world’s leading industrial powers by 1900. But the beginnings of
the industrial revolution in pre-civil war years was almost exclusively
limited to the regions north of the Mason-Dixon line, a line that symbolically divided the northern and southern states. The South was still
predominantly agricultural. By 1815, cotton was the
most valuable export in the United States. By 1840, it was worth more than all other exports combined with the southern states producing two thirds of the world’s cotton supply. Slavery formed the economic
backbone of the South. This led to an economic strength that made these states even more adamant about defending the right to own slaves. During the 1850s, Lincoln returned to politics at a time when the nation’s long-standing division over slavery was flaring up. In an 1858 Illinois senatorial race, as the secessionist sentiment brewed among the southern states, he delivered his now famous
House Divided speech, in which he paraphrased
from the Bible saying – [Man] A house divided
against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. – [Gary] The speech’s
theme of a house divided against itself cannot stand was a familiar concept
that Jesus spoke about in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 12. “Every kingdom divided against itself “is brought to desolation, “and every city or house divided “against itself shall not stand.” Lincoln hoped to use a
well-known figure of speech, to help rouse the people to recognise the magnitude of the ongoing debates over the legality of slavery, and to illustrate his belief that the union would not last if it remained divided on this issue. Abraham Lincoln shocked many, when he overcame several
more prominent contenders to win the presidential election in 1860. After years of sectional tension the election of an anti-slavery northerner as the 16th president to the United States drove many southerners over the brink. By the time Lincoln was inaugurated in March 1861, seven southern states had seceded from the union and formed the Confederate
States of America. Four more states would join them making what became known
as the Confederacy. Soon after, the outbreak of a Civil War began at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. It was the northern states, also known as the Union or Yankees, who fought against the South, commonly called the Rebels. Lincoln eventually raised an army and navy of nearly three million northern men to face the southern army of over two million soldiers. In battles fought from
Virginia to California the Great Civil War tore the United States apart. On January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of the Civil War, Lincoln issued the
Emancipation Proclamation. – [Man] I do order and
declare that all persons held as slaves within
said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States,
including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognise and maintain the freedom of said persons. – This was an order that freed the slaves in the Confederate States. Although not all slaves
were immediately set free, it paved the way for the
Thirteenth Amendment, which would free all
slaves in the United States a few years later. (sinister music) In 1863, the American Civil War came to Gettysburg. What took place right here at Gettysburg in just three days was the turning point for the entire American Civil War. During the first three days of July 1863, the North’s Union army and the South’s Confederate army turned this small farming town in Southern Pennsylvania with the population of 2500 into the site of a struggle for the future of the United States. The battle of Gettysburg
was the largest battle of the American Civil War, as well as the largest battle ever fought in North America. It would involve around 85,000 men in the Union’s army and approximately 75,000 men in the Confederacy’s army. Many historians believe that the South never recovered from its defeat here. (funeral music) The battle of Gettysburg had been costly for both sides, and despite the Union victory, war pessimism hung over the North. Photographs produced morbid
images of the carnage, exposing the nation to the horrors of war. Four months after the battle, in amid lingering northern doubts about whether the Civil
War was worth the cost, President Lincoln was
invited to Gettysburg to dedicate the Soldiers National Cemetery to the over 7,000 fallen soldiers. He was asked to keep his address short and just make a few appropriate remarks. (train horn) On the evening of November 18, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg at this station. He exited his train coach on the platform and then passed through the station onto Carlisle Street, where he was greeted by his host David Wills and other dignitaries. The group walked the short
distance to the Wills House on the town square in central Gettysburg where Mrs. Wills had a
feast waiting for them. After dinner, Lincoln
retired to his bedroom. He slept in this bed and much of the other furniture was in the room on that night and would have been used by the president. Lincoln had written portions of the Gettysburg Address before he left Washington, but he finished writing it in this room. The next morning he made a final revision to his speech before proceeding to the ceremony. The 19th of November, 1863, was Gettysburg’s most momentous day. Nearly 20,000 statesmen,
soldiers and citizens converged on this hill to consecrate the new Soldiers National Cemetery. The speakers platform
was located near here. The honourable Edward Everett, principal speaker and former governor of Massachusets, took
the platform at noon. His eloquent but exhausting speech lasted two hours. Following him, President Abraham Lincoln rose to deliver the Gettysburg Address. As the crowd strained to see and hear, Lincoln spoke deliberately
and without gestures. According to some observers, the people received his prayer-like words in stunned silence. The Gettysburg Address
was 10 sentences long and lasted just two minutes. Here in just 272 words, Lincoln reminded the northern public what they were fighting for, freedom and democracy. It became one of the most famous and influential pieces
of oratory in history. – [Man] Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought
forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived
and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great
battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate
a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and
dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget
what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here
to the unfinished work which they, who fought here, have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall
not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, 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. – President Lincoln
transformed into poetry the nation’s founding principles. While slave owners stood firm on the Constitution’s
protection of property, including their slaves, Lincoln insisted that America was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposal that all men are created equal. Lincoln sought to transform America. By redefining liberty and nationalism, by essentially fusing them together, Lincoln not only inspired the North to continue the fight, he forever changed how the world would think about freedom. The president started
by referring to the past and was immediately disputing a view that was widely held
in America at the time, that all men were not made equal. Many believed that blacks were designed to be slaves and subordinate to whites. Lincoln challenged this belief by returning to the words of the Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers, he thought, had started the country with a bright promise, equality. Lincoln believed that slavery made this promise impossible to keep. On that November day, Lincoln also spoke of just government, the government of the people, by the people, for the people. By that he meant democracy, an idea that was still unusual in a world of kings and tzars. If the North lost the war, the Union would fall apart, and what future could there
be for democracy itself? The world might lose its last best hope, as Lincoln said. At 6:00 p.m. Lincoln
was back at the station to board his train for the return trip to Washington. Abraham Lincoln and the town of Gettysburg would be forever
associated in world history with the enduring acclaim of the 2-minute speech. This old station stands today as a witness and reminder of that great event. A year and a half after Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address,
the North won the war. More than 620,000 men
died in the Civil War, more than any other war
in American history. Lincoln wanted the country to heal, forgive and rebuild. He wanted to be generous
to the southern states in helping them during the reconstruction. However, tragically Lincoln would not live to see the country rebuild. Three days after the South surrendered, John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. (sad music) Booth, a proponent of slavery an actor and a spy, believed that if he could kill the president, the policy of the
government toward the South might be radically altered to favour the Confederacy. So on the evening of
Good Friday, April 14, Booth slipped into the president’s box at the Ford’s theatre in Washington, D.C. and shot him point-blank in the back of the head. He then stabbed Major Rathbone, jumped down onto this stage, ran out the back door, mounted his horse and escaped the city. Lincoln was carried to a boarding house across the street from the theatre, but he never regained consciousness. Mary Lincoln, the
president’s distraught wife, spent most of the night
here in the front parlour between visits to her husband’s bedside. Her elder son Robert and close friends comforted her through the night. In this bedroom, the back parlour, secretary of war Stanton held several cabinet meetings, interviewed witnesses and ordered the pursuit of the assassins. President Lincoln, mortally wounded and bleeding profusely, was carried into this room and laid diagonally across the bed. A team of several doctors worked on him during the night. But nine hours after being shot, Abraham Lincoln died in this room at 7:22 a.m. on the 15th of April, 1865. “Now he belongs to the ages,” pronounced secretary of war Edwin Stanton. News of Lincoln’s death was met with immense grief. Across the U.S. church
bells pealed for hours. Patriotic bunting came
down from buildings, replaced by black crape. Especially grief stricken were freed slaves in the South and the nation’s freed black population of the North. On April 21, Lincoln’s body was placed on a 7-car funeral train and embarked on a cross-country journey from Washington through numerous cities to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. As the train passed
through cities and towns, 11 major cities held public funerals and countless other Americans paid their respects. When the train finally
reached Springfield, Abraham Lincoln was buried here at the Oak Ridge Cemetery. This cemetery is surpassed
only by Arlington as the most visited
cemetery in the nation. Yet, Lincoln’s work survived. The country did bring forth
a new birth of freedom. In 1865, it passed the
Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery forever. Two more amendments soon followed that granted citizenship to all regardless of race. The right to vote was no longer dependent on race or colour. Once kindled, Lincoln’s burning hope was never quite extinguished. The words of the Gettysburg Address carved on the wall of the Lincoln Memorial were a lasting beacon of hope for all African Americans and all other Americans. The Lincoln Memorial is
located in Washington, D.C. at the very heart of the nation. Thousands of tourists continue to visit this place every year. Built in white stone
with 36 iconic columns, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the most recognised structures in the United States. The 6-meter statue of Lincoln sits overlooking the reflecting pool. To his right is engraved his famous Gettysburg Address. Almost 90 years after the Civil War, the U.S. Supreme Court made segregation illegal. Lincoln’s vision became
the law of the land. Since that November day in 1863 Lincoln’s words have stirred and inspired countless millions all over the world. Those words speak to
the eternal human dream of lasting liberty, equality and freedom, a dream that belongs to everyone. A dream that would not, will not perish from the earth. Why? Because God has placed the desire for freedom in our hearts. We weren’t made to be slaves. We were designed to be free. We cannot be satisfied or find peace until we are free. And true freedom, freedom
from guilt and sin, can only be found in Jesus. You see being a slave to sin is the ultimate bondage. The freedom that Jesus offers is a spiritual freedom from the guilt and bondage of sin. Jesus is the truth. Knowing the truth, knowing Jesus sets us free. Free from sin, free from guilt, and free from condemnation. Wouldn’t you like to experience that freedom, true freedom? Well, you can. Why not ask for it right now as we pray? Dear Heavenly Father, today we’ve been reminded of the importance of freedom and just how precious it is. We admire men like Abraham Lincoln, who have championed the cause of the poor and the downtrodden. Today we want to recognise the greatest of liberators, Jesus Christ, and thank you for the freedom that he brings to our lives. Thank you for setting us free from sin and guilt. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. The story of Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address is certainly inspiring and has influenced millions of people around the world. If you want to fill the emptiness that leaves you restless, then I’d like to recommend the free gift we have for you today. It’s a Bible study guide, We Can Believe in God. As you read it, you will find rest in Him. This study guide is our gift to you and is absolutely free. There are no costs or
obligations whatsoever so don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to receive the gift we have for you today. Here is the information you need. – [Man] Phone or text us at 0436-333-555 in Australia, or 020-422-2042 in New Zealand, or visit our website tij.tv to request today’s free offer, and we’ll send it to you
totally free of charge and with no obligation. Write to us at GPO Box 274, Sydney New South Wales 2001, Australia, or PO Box 76673 Manukau, Auckland 2241, New Zealand. Don’t delay. Call or text us now. – If you’ve enjoyed today’s journey, be sure to join us again next week, when we will share another
of life’s journeys together and experience another new and thought-provoking perspective on the peace, insight,
understanding and hope that only the Bible can give us. The Incredible Journey truly is television that changes lives. Until next week remember the ultimate destination
of life’s journey. Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth. And God will wipe away
every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death,
nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (graceful music)

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