Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Olivia Heffernan

“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The meaning of this renowned phrase, from one of our founding forefathers, is commonly neglected in today’s society. Our present government is run by primarily politicians, who are only politicians. The majority of our population does not hold any political office, yet our prime representation of “the people” is just that. I’m not proposing that there be no politicians in our government, but that the politicians be immersed members of varying walks of life to create a well rounded government. The past citizens of America created the government based on their needs; but we are an evolving people, which means additions to our amendments should be highly considered when proposed so that our government is “by the people, for the people”. Lincoln understood the importance of our government acting as one “people” when he united them through the Emancipation Proclamation. As a nation we cannot function together if we divide ourselves into separate parties, ethnicities, and cultures. We should be original in these aspects, but also able to see beyond these attributes and work together as one; without this cohesiveness, our government cannot be considered “of the people”. These three propositions reflect what our government was founded on centuries ago, and what it needs to continually be structured in. When this statement is understood fully by all members of congress and our president, our nation will run as one force instead of a divided house. It takes a great leader to bring together a separated nation, but if we do not it will surely perish. Olivia Heffernan Fisher High School Fisher, IL