Abraham Lincoln 3 Essay Research Paper Abraham — страница 4

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in the village store at New Salem, Ill. The tiny settlement stood on a bluff above the Sangamon, about 20 miles northwest of Springfield. Here he lived for six years (1831-37). For $15 a month and a sleeping room in the back, he tended store and a gristmill. Tales sprang up fast about Lincoln in the New Salem days. People spoke about his strict honesty and his giant strength. Some told how he once walked six miles to give back a few pennies to a woman who had overpaid for dry goods. Whenever a settler bought furs, or an oxen yoke, gun, tea, or salt knew he would get his money’s worth from “honest Abe.” He would also enjoy a laugh at one of Abe’s stories. Lincoln’s employer boasted of Abe’s strength and wrestling ability so much that a gang of toughs in nearby

Clary’s Grove challenged him. Men trooped in from the neighboring villages to see the match. The Clary’s Grove champion was Jack Armstrong, a thickset, powerful man. He had always thrown all comers. He rushed at Lincoln, trying to hurl him off his feet. Lincoln held Armstrong off in his long arms, then grappled and threw him to the grass where they rolled over and over. After a panting, grunting tussle Lincoln let go of Armstrong and, according to some stories, said: “Jack, let’s quit. I can’t throw you. You can’t throw me.” Armstrong shook Lincoln’s hand, saying he was the “best feller that ever broke into this settlement.” They became good friends. In matches with other powerful wrestlers Lincoln often simply tossed them over his head. With his great long

legs he was the fastest foot racer, and when he had to fight with his fists he did. Captain in Black Hawk WarWhen the Black Hawk War broke out in April 1832 Lincoln and the Clary’s Grove men enlisted. The war was a series of border raids by Sauk and Fox Indians led by chief Black Hawk. They crossed from Iowa into Illinois and attacked and scalped settlers. (See also Indians, American, “Centuries of Struggle Between Indians and Whites.”)The Clary’s Grove men elected Lincoln captain of their rifle company. The honor pleased him, but he knew nothing about military life. Once he could not think of the order he should give to march his company through a gate in formation. Scratching his head, he finally commanded: “Halt! this company will break ranks for two minutes and form

again on the other side of the gate.”When Lincoln’s term of enlistment ended in 30 days he re-enlisted as a private. In all, he served three months. He never fought in a battle, but he twice saw the horror of bodies scalped by the Indians. His army experience, learned on long marches and in rough camps, taught him sympathy for soldiers’ hardships in the field. In later life, when he was commander in chief in the Civil War, he treated soldiers’ failings with great understanding.Loses in Politics; Opens a StoreJust before the outbreak of the Black Hawk War, Lincoln had decided to run for the Illinois legislature. After his war service he again started his campaign. He was 23 years old, lanky and so tall that his cheap linen pants never reached his ankles. His coarse black

hair was always mussed and his dark-skinned face was already deeply lined. In a circular he sent out to voters, he wrote: “I was born and have remained in the most humble walks of life.” While he was speaking at one political rally a fight broke out. Lincoln strode up to the man who had started the brawl, seized him by the neck and seat of the pants, and hurled him out of the crowd. Lincoln then calmly went back to his speech, saying: “My politics are short and sweet, like the old lady’s dance.” In just two or three sentences he told what he would vote for and ended by saying: “If elected I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same.” He did not carry the district, but his local popularity gave him nearly every vote in New Salem. Meanwhile the New Salem

store failed. Lincoln was out of work. He thought of learning to be a blacksmith, but another New Salem store was put up for sale. Lincoln, with William Berry as partner, bought it on credit. Neither one, however, was much interested in tending to business. Lincoln preferred to visit with the few customers or to lean against the door and read. After several months Berry died, leaving Lincoln more than $1,000 in debt. Eventually he paid back every cent, but it took him years. Becomes Postmaster and SurveyorFailing as a storekeeper, Lincoln again was “hard up.” In May 1833 his friends got him appointed the postmaster of New Salem. The job paid only about $50 a year, but it took little of his time and gave him the chance to read all the incoming newspapers free. He read every