Abraham Lincoln, Poet

Gary R. Hess asked:

Obviously, Abraham Lincoln is best known as an American President. As the first Republican president, he helped lead the Union against the Confederates during the only United States Civil War. He helped free the slaves, keep the country in tact, gave one of the most famous speeches in United States history, and helped defuse a war scare with Britain. Sadly, Lincoln also became the first US president to be assassinated. Today, he is considered one of the greatest United States presidents in history.

Although many won’t believe this, Lincoln was also a regular human being. Throughout his childhood years, he was a passionate reader of poetry. As he grew older–like many teens–Lincoln would become more and more interested in writing poetry. One of his earliest surviving poem is also my favorite.

Abraham Lincoln
his hand and pen
he will be good but
god knows When

Amusing, if I do say so myself. This poem is said to be written in his arithmetic book; I guess everyone was bored in class at least once or twice.

Lincoln continued to write for the rest of his life. He was even part of a poetic society in which he submitted several poems, many of which were crude and satirical. As he continued to age, he left the crude and ill-natured poems and started writing more seriously.

As president, Lincoln continued to write, including his last documented verse written in response to the Union’s victory in Gettysburg.

Although Abraham Lincoln’s poetry isn’t of the same status as Robert Frost or John Keats–Lincoln is said to call his own writing as doggerel–his works offer many insightful words into the everyday life of a true American leader.

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