Today Honest Abe would have been 201 years old. There are many things and questions written about Abraham Lincoln; things written about his speeches, did he have a death wish, was he clinically depressed, how tall he was and what his favorite jokes were.
During President Obama’s run for office, he quoted Lincoln often and even made the book “Team of Rivals” very popular. Every presidential candidate at some point in his run for office quotes Lincoln, hints at comparisons to Lincoln, and claims they know what Lincoln would have done if he were alive today.
I don’t think Lincoln knew what he was going to do half the time. While he was one of the smartest men to ever hold the office, I think Mr. Lincoln didn’t always have a pre-determined plan, but thought things out fully before making decisions.
Think about it, Lincoln was a self-educated man, with about 18 months total formal schooling, with the rest learning on his own. With his own schooling, he became a lawyer, a House Representative for Illinois, and President. To self-educate, you need to read extensively, and also interpret and come to some sort of conclusion on your own. There is nobody there to guide you to an answer, or even give you one if you don’t know the answer. Lincoln had to have spent his entire life thinking this way. It was the only way he knew. He had to think of every single situation going on and every thing he read from multiple angles and come to some rational understanding on his own. To me, this seems why Lincoln was a calm man. He knew there was more than one side to a situation, and he usually thought about the other two and three sides before anyone else, it was innate. This also gave him the confidence in knowing that the decisions he made were the right decisions.
This is why Lincoln was fully capable of running his own campaigns, writing his own speeches, assembling a strong cabinet, freeing the slaves, and saving the Union. When he set out for the Presidency, did he think states would actually secede from the Union, pushing the nation into a civil war, or have to free the slaves sooner than later? I doubt he saw most of that coming, but when it arrived, he knew he had the confidence to handle whatever situation was put in front of him.
Lincoln was always thinking outside the box because he knew that was his advantage to everything.