President Abraham Lincoln
With less than a year of formal education, the desperately poor Abraham Lincoln was a chronic depressive beset with nightmares and obsessed with ominous premonitions. He had not one favorable word to say about his father.
An admittedly superstitious, stubborn atheist in his youth, Lincoln fretted over his checkered heritage of illegitimacy, melancholy, and madness. Fearing his family to have been uniquely cursed, Lincoln wrote and published a poem about killing himself.
Our sixteenth president underwent punishing medical treatments and, by all accounts, came within an inch of being “a perfect lunatic for life.” Mary Todd contributed her own emotional baggage to their martial union.[xv]While Lincoln-Douglas debates set Lincoln on the national stage, the prairie lawyer felt unfit to be president. Prior to his election, Lincoln’s political résumé registered more defeats than victories.
For apparent reason, election of the “Rail Splitter Candidate” struck many, if not most, as incredulous. Having penned an agnostic tract (“his little book on Infidelity”)—this, in an attempt to disprove the divinity of Christ—our sixteenth president, once elected, uncharacteristically plunged into prayer, Bible study, and church worship.
He who denied sacred authority of the Bible now cherished it as “the best gift God has given to man.” In a word, this “horrid and hideous, ape-like” figure (The Charleston Mercury) was clearly transfigured.[xvi]In due time, Lincoln’s administration handled the most momentous crisis in our nation’s history.[xvii] Doing so, he united a bitterly divided nation and, according to the DC Daily National Intelligencer, spoke healing words worthy of being “printed in gold.” Under Lincoln’s leadership, the first nation in history explicitly committed to permanent protection of the institution of slavery issued a world-changing announcement crediting God with deciding the issue. Enter, the Emancipation Proclamation.[xviii]Sam HoustonTexas might still be a part of Mexico today if “Big Drunk” Sam Houston hadn’t passed through dark years of depression and drunkenness only to earn one of the most astonishing victories in the history of warfare.
Houston’s stern Presbyterian upbringing, seasoned with Cherokee spirituality adopted as a teen, gave way to born-again Baptist fervor.[xix] Houston established himself as first president of the independent Republic of Texas, and almost one-third of the present area of the American nation (nearly a million square miles of territory) changed sovereignty when America acquired Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma.[xx]
Exceptionalism Demands Special ResponsibilityIn our nation’s founding, some hidden hand seemed to manipulate a complex chain of seemingly haphazard, uncommonly enabling occurrences. Yale Professor David Gelernter opines, “The American Religion incorporates the biblical ideals of a chosen people in a promised land.” Our nation was considered “the hope of the world,” but the reality of American exceptionalism in no way demands fantasies about American perfectionism any more than Israel’s destiny, expounded in Daniel’s seventy-weeks prophecy, demands human perfection. Moreover, with Divine call comes special responsibility.[xxi]Mission Accomplished Against All Odds………… MORE!!!!!