Lincoln the Loser

Have you ever looked at a list of Lincoln’s losses?

It’s absolutely my favorite thing about Abraham Lincoln, the fact that for a huge chunk of his life, he was a loser. I mean just stop and think about it the man is born into poverty, his mother dies, he failed in business, was rejected from law school, spent 17 years of his life paying off his bankruptcy, suffered the death of his sweetheart, had a nervous breakdown, by 19th century standards the guy is goofy looking and too tall, and I haven’t even gotten to all the times he ran for office and lost or wasn’t reelected. Don’t feel too bad for Lincoln, I could accompany this list of losses with an equally long list of successes but that’s not the point of this post. Lincoln is my hero because despite his losses he never stopped trying to do good in the world. Every time the world hit back, Lincoln stood back up and just kept swimming. In 1860 Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States and for years to come, he will consistently be voted the most popular US President.


I’ve spent a good chunk of my life visiting Lincoln-related historic sites and artifacts. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to get up close and personal with some Lincoln letters. Included in the batch was a letter written by Lincoln’s oldest son Robert Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln. Mary Lincoln’s is easy to spot as it was lined in black. This lets us know that this letter was written after Lincoln’s death as it is considered mourning stationery. The letters were written to Joseph Medill, co-owner and manager of the Chicago Tribune, and an important member of the Republican party. Medill helped secure Lincoln the nomination for President. Many of the letters, as a result, were about…The Chicago Tribune. No Gettysburg Address level stuff here but still a great reminder that while we all are going to face failures in our life we also can accomplish amazing things if we, as Lincoln once said, “…have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”