Statement by the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia supporting Lincoln images in the public square
Washington D.C. February 12, 2021
Abraham Lincoln is usually ranked by historians and the public as our nation’s best president. He is the most written-about and admired figure in American history. Both current political parties routinely rely on Lincoln’s wisdom. His likeness and his name deserve to be honored throughout the United States.
A poor boy born in a log cabin in the Kentucky woods rose to greatness by educating himself and moving his country toward universal freedom. Lincoln was the right person at the right time to lead America through its greatest crisis. He is rightfully admired for his lifelong opposition to slavery, his Emancipation Proclamation, preservation of the Union, support for the emerging modern free labor economy, welcoming immigrants, and his embrace of voting rights for African Americans. A white supremacist killed him for these ideas.
Some today decry a few of Lincoln’s words and actions. They do so while minimizing what he worked tirelessly to accomplish. Lincoln was a strategic visionary devoted to ending slavery and expanding freedom for those traumatized under it. He did this knowing the vast majority of his countrymen and voters were profoundly racist. He was a principled pragmatist who knew he had to use power to work for a vision of freedom and equal rights for all people. Lincoln’s humility and gift for the highest expression of American values make him a role model for the ages. Historically, there was no foreseeable path to ending slavery before the 20th century without Lincoln, his plan, his skill, and his persistence.
By honoring Lincoln in public, we challenge ourselves to live up to his humanitarian vision of equality for all. This tradition not only uplifts the United States, it inspires the entire world. Let us have more images and public buildings bearing his name to forever remind us of the importance of his leadership and example.
Photo: The late Dr. John T. Elliff, past president, at the 150th anniversary re-dedication service for the first Lincoln monument. This figure of Lincoln was erected in front of the old Washington City Hall (District of Columbia Courthouse) building in 1866. Credit: Linda Elliff.