Today is the 201rst birthday of Abraham Lincoln. It is a state holiday here in the Land of Lincoln, of course, and in California, Connecticut, Missouri, New Jersey and New York.
One fact that all Americans know about Lincoln is that he was born in a log cabin. He was indeed, a one room log cabin on Nolin Creek in Kentucky. With the passage of time this fact has become picturesque, almost quaint. This is a grave mistake for anyone wishing to understand Abraham Lincoln. The log cabin symbolized for Lincoln his entry into the very hard life of a pioneer family. Unending physical toil aged men and women before their time. The arduous life of the frontier also made sudden death an often unwelcome guest. Lincoln’s brother Thomas died in infancy. His mother Nancy Hanks died when Lincoln was 9. His sister Sarah died in childbirth at age 20, along with the son she had just brought into this world. His namesake, his paternal grandfather Abraham, was killed in 1786 by Indians. Lincoln was born into a very tough and unforgiving world. (more…)