Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Ashley Gustafson

“Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.” A powerful message is present in this quote. On February 27th 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke these words in the Cooper Union Address in New York City. The message not only applies to people in that era, but to people in all eras. Today, companies, leaders, and social media are constantly trying to change us into the perfect person they imagine us to be. But as people and society, we cannot change who we are. We can either modify, or adapt to some challenges, but we cannot completely change our feelings, dreams, or goals. In this quote, Abraham Lincoln is trying to explain to us that we should stay true to who we are, what we believe in, but most of all we need to do what is best for our civilization. At this point of the speech Lincoln was discussing that the government had lost itself somehow. It was not longer staying true to the ideals set forth in the Declaration by our founding fathers. In Lincoln's speech he focused on three topics to address the argument over slavery. He conveyed to the country that slavery wasn’t part of “human nature” and the decision to support it would thrust our country into the great civil war. He urged our country to work together and stay true to ourselves and do what we feel is right for us. This very well applies to not only 1860 but today because as time goes on the world falters and threatens to crumble and it’s up to us to keep it together. Ashley Gustafson Fisher High School Fisher, IL