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February 16, 2014

Editorial: Washington and Lincoln: Men of flesh and blood, not marble


“When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a ‘drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.’”

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”

Washington seems even more a figure of marble, not flesh and blood. His world is so foreign to our own, and even in his day, he was seen as a sterling and prestigious figure, a man who clearly stood above others.

But Washington, like Lincoln, was a keen observer of his fellow man. Here are a few of Washington’s quotes that bear repeating:

“It is better to be alone than in bad company.”

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

“There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”

“Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind, than on the externals in the world.”

“Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”

Mothers Day is still a few months ahead of us, but both Lincoln and Washington had something interesting to say about their mothers:

Washington: “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

Lincoln: “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

So on Monday, take a moment to reflect on Lincoln and Washington not as marble statues but as flesh and blood men. Their personalities and observations are as relevant to us today as they were in their own time.

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