Abraham Lincoln 3 Essay Research Paper Abraham — страница 3

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Usually, while he plowed or split fence rails, he kept a borrowed book tucked in his shirt to read while he lunched or rested. He could turn in a good day’s work when he had to. Many neighbors, however, called him lazy, saying he was “always readin’ and thinkin’.” Once Abe grinned and told his farm boss, “My father taught me to work, but he never taught me to love it.”A farmer loaned him ‘The Life of George Washington’, by Parson Weems, and Abe left it in the rain. To make up for his carelessness, Abe shucked corn for him for three days. All his life Abraham Lincoln made every effort to do the fair thing. He could never get enough to read. He said: “The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” Once

he tramped nearly 20 miles to Rockport to borrow one.Storyteller, Ferryman, and Law “Listener”After supper Abe often walked down the road to Gentryville to join the “boys” at Gentry’s store. His humorous stories, sometimes told in dialect, were popular with the young men lounging against the log counter. He loved to imitate travelers and local characters and would throw back his head with a booming laugh. In his own speech he pronounced words as he had learned them on the Kentucky frontier, such as “cheer” for “chair” and “git” for “get.” That was the way all Southern woodsmen talked. Between farm chores he helped to run a ferry across the Ohio River to Kentucky. When he was 18 he built his own scow and rowed passengers over the shallows to steamers out

in the river. Always he kept teaching himself new things. He became interested in law. Borrowing a book on the laws of Indiana, he studied it long into the night. He strode miles to the nearest courthouse to hear lawyers try cases. He even crossed into Kentucky to listen in court. Every visit taught him more about the ways of lawyers and furnished him with new stories. Throughout his later life as a lawyer, politician, and statesman he shrewdly drew on this rich fund of stories to make a legal point or to win audiences. Down the Mississippi to New OrleansWhen Abe was 19 he got his first chance to see something of the “outside world.” James Gentry, the owner of the country store, hired him to take a flatboat of cargo to New Orleans, then a wealthy city of some 40,000 people.

With Gentry’s son, Allen, Abe cut timber, hewed great planks, and built a flatboat called a “broadhorn.”New Orleans was 1,000 miles down the twisting Mississippi River. From sunup to sundown the two brawny young men pulled the long oars–about 40 feet long at bow and stern. Often they hurriedly hauled back on the side sweeps to swing the boat from snags, clumsy flatboats, or trim steamers caught in the shifting currents. They lived on board, cooking and sleeping in a rickety lean-to on deck. At night they tied up to a tree or stump on the muddy bank. In New Orleans Abe saw his first auction of slaves. At that time slavery was lawful in all the United States south of the Ohio River. The tall, thoughtful young man winced at the sight of slave gangs in chains being marched

off to plantations. Later he said, “Slavery is a continual torment to me.”To Illinois and Splitting RailsBack from New Orleans, Abe clerked part time at Gentry’s country store and helped his father get ready to move to Illinois. The Indiana farm had not been a success. Through the winter the men built wagons and chests and made yokes and harness. In March 1830 they started their 200-mile trek. Fording rivers and creeks, the heavy wagons often broke through the ice. Lincoln later said: “Once my little dog jumped out of the wagon . . . broke through, and was struggling for life. I could not bear to lose my dog, and I jumped out of the wagon and waded waist deep in ice and water, and got hold of him.”The family settled on the Sangamon River, some ten miles southwest of

Decatur, Ill. Once more Abe helped to clear a farm. With a cousin, John Hanks, he then split 3,000 rails to fence some neighbors’ land. He was truly “right handy with an ax.” His feats with an ax on the Illinois prairie led his political supporters to call him, later in life, the “rail splitter.” Even in his last years, as president, he could hold an ax straight out at arm’s length–something very few young men could do.Starts His Own Life at New SalemAfter a winter of cold and illness Thomas Lincoln again moved, about 100 miles southeast into Coles County. This time Abe did not go. He was 21 years old and ready to live his own life. Loving the river, he again took a flatboat to New Orleans, loaded with pork, corn, and live hogs. On his return he hired out as a clerk