Monday, April 04, 2022

First Paragraph

Abraham Lincoln authored undeniably great speeches. Yet, especially in his presidential addresses, he often downplayed words, stressing instead the need for action. Mere words could not bring forth the "new birth of freedom" - only battlefield victories could do that. As Aristotle told us long ago, the special virtue required of those in political office is prudence or practical wisdom; making the right decision amid the press of events is crucial. Lincoln had that capacity for political judgment. But Aristotle also asserted that politics is inextricably linked to the human faculty of speech. Especially in democratic regmes, political figures rely heavily on the spoken and written word; through persuasion they inspire the action of citizens. Lincoln was attentive to this necessary sequence of logos and praxis, the way in whicb our saying leads to our doing. At each step of his political career, the actions of Lincoln were preceded and supported by extraordinary speech - speech that by the compelling quality of its grammar, logic, and rhetoric moved the nation.

- From His Greatest Speeches: How Lincoln Moved the Nation by Diana Schaub 

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