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He comes to us in the mists of legend as a kind of homespun Socrates brimming withprarie wit and folk wisdom There is a counterlegend of Lincoln one shared ironicallyenough by many white Southerners and certain black Americans of our time Neither ofthese views of course reveals much about the man who really lived--legend and politicalAs a man Lincoln was complex many-sided and richly human He was anintense brooding person he was plagued with chronic depression most of his life At thetime he even doubted his ability to please or even care about his wife Lincoln remained amoody melancholy man given to long introspection about things like death and mortality Preoccupied with death he was also afraid to insanity Lincoln was a teetotaler becauseliquor left him flabby and undone blurring his mind and threatening his self-control One side of Lincoln was always Supremely logical and analytical he was intrigued by theclarity of mathematics As a self-made man Lincoln felt embarrassed about his log-cabinorigins and never liked to talk about them By the 1850s Lincoln was one of the mostsought after attorney in Illinois with a reputation as a lawyers lawyer Though a man ofstatus and influence Lincoln was as honest in real life as in legend Politically Lincolnwas always a nationalist in outlook an outlook that began when he was an Indiana farmboy tilling his farther mundane wheat fieldLincoln always maintained that he had always hated human bondage as much asany abolitionist He realized how wrong it was that slavery should exist at all in aself-proclaimed free Republic He opposed slavery too because he had witnessed someof its evils firsthand What could be done So went Lincolns argument before 1854 Tosolve the ensuing problem of racial adjustment Lincoln insisted that the federalgovernment should colonize all blacks in Africa an idea he got from his political idolThen came 1854 and the momentous Kansas-Nebraska Act brainchild ofLincolns archrival Stephen A Douglas At once a storm
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