The power of a speech
In the Wall St Journel – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123249782074700433.html?mod=djemTEW
Great article in general, but pay special attention the the following words in the 12th paragraph: “Lincoln’s first inaugural was a masterpiece of conciliation, but it did little to soothe antagonistic passions in the South or keep the Confederacy from seceding. The importance of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, another masterpiece, was almost wholly overlooked by much of the country. A mere 272 words, it was so short that only one fuzzy photograph of the occasion exists. And Lincoln’s second inaugural, arguably the finest speech given in American history, was treated with contempt by most Southerners. In each case, only with the flow of time do we see how important these speeches are to the overall narrative of the American story.”
Kind of puts the speeches in Thucydidies in a new perspective. Perhaps it truly was a war of words and politics rather than blood and steel, although the latter was necessary to make sure everyone paid attention.
And the ending of this article: “And finally, Lincoln knew that as president of the United States, he was the steward of the precious fabric of American democracy, and equally importantly that he was just one link, and a temporary one at that, in the chain of presidents elected to watch over it.”
“Treat people as if they were what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” — Johan von Goethe