The Meaning of Tenacity

Born in a one room farm house he was the middle of three children and the older brother to a sibling who died during infancy. He was the son of an uneducated man and, at age seven, he was forced to go to work to help support his family. Tragically, at age nine, his mother died and a year later his father remarried. At age nineteen he ventured out on his own taking his first boat trip to New Orleans. That same year his stepsister died at childbirth. At age twenty-two he made his second trip to New Orleans and left his home and his family for good. His separation may have been made easier by his estrangement from his father, a person about whom he spoke very little later in life. He served briefly in the military where he was elected captain of a volunteer company; a distinction that gave him great satisfaction and opened new avenues of opportunity. He started a business which eventually failed, and he made a bid for the Illinois Legislature but lost the race. He took a job and began law school but had to give-up his aspirations of becoming a lawyer after losing his job. He borrowed money from friends to start another business but that business, too, failed and he had to declare bankruptcy. He spent the next seventeen years paying off his debts.

He made a second run for the Legislature but lost the race yet again. At age twenty-six he was engaged to be married but his sweetheart died leaving him heartbroken; a year later he suffered a nervous breakdown and spent the next six months in bed.

At age twenty-nine he lost a bid to become speaker of the state legislature and two years later was defeated in a bid to become an elector. Between the ages of thirty-four to thirty-nine he made three attempts to become a

Congressman but lost each race. At age forty he was rejected for the job of Land Officer in his home state and was defeated in a bid for the Senate at age forty-five. Two years later, at age forty-seven, he lost a race to become Vice President, receiving less than 100 votes. At age forty-nine he lost his second Senate bid, AND in 1860, at age fifty-one, he became the sixteenth President of The United States. That great man was none other than Abraham Lincoln.

Thought, by many historians, to be the greatest American President, Abraham Lincoln guided his country though one of the most devastating periods in its history – the Civil War. Sadly, however, President Lincoln’s personal challenges did not end when he was elected President. Three of his four sons with Mary Todd Lincoln died before reaching adulthood. Through it all, however, Lincoln persevered and never lost sight of the future. His life teaches us that no matter how bleak things may appear we should never give-up. It is with his inspiration that I dedicate this Web site to my young daughter.

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