Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Cameron Schwing

When asked to describe destroying an enemy, most people would likely mention the use of physical aggression to inflict harm or even kill the potential enemy. The word “destroy” typically has a negative connotation, one that involves peril and destruction. However, Abraham Lincoln had a different philosophy, as he developed numerous beliefs and perspectives atypical for his time period. He once said, “Do I not destroy my enemy when I make them my friends?” Countless issues in today’s world can be directly related to this, as wars and even smaller civil conflicts are prime examples. Every day, current events involve attempts to destroy enemies, however most means of attempting to destroy an enemy involve violence and aggression. If humanity was to follow this specific belief, enemies would indeed be destroyed, but due to the unconventional method of making those enemies become friends. Lincoln attempted to persuade people to take a nonviolent approach when dealing with their “enemies”. However, “enemies” are not necessarily just other people; they can also be conflicting ideas, beliefs, and even internal conflicts. Most people would not consider themselves as their own enemy. This causes them to be more susceptible to self-deterioration, as they are unaware of the damage they can inflict upon themselves. On the other hand, they could recognize attributes of themselves as potential “enemies”, but overcome them in a harmful manner, attempting to force the “enemies” out of them instead of peacefully eliminating the problems by accepting them. This can be applied to other people as well. If people were willing to accept their enemies as friends, the world would be a much more peaceful place. Cameron Schwing Fisher High School Fisher IL