Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Jean Hinton

"Let us have faith that right makes right, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it." (Cooper Institute Address,1860) Had Abraham Lincoln believed that "might made right", as opposed to his assertion at Cooper Union, he could have crushed the rebellion from the start, destroying the culture and the people of the rebellious states whose ancestors had settled America and won the Revolutionary War. The North clearly had the advantage in population and resources. However, that approach did not "match" the culture of the United States as he understood it. It wasn't "right". He appealed for moderation, for a fair resolution of the issues that brought about division, and for a respect between partisans. And he pardoned those weaker than himself. What stands the test of time is Lincoln's belief in the strength of the American system as created by the forefathers. So many could not have fought for so long, only to see their great experiment disgarded. As such, he bore the burden of a Civil War. He ordered men to their death. He suffered slander and eventually gave his life. He concluded: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." (Second Inaugural, 1865) Jean Hinton Decatur, IL November 19, 2013