ADDoration Ministries
Friday, July 30, 2021
God is SO GOOD; although I have ADD.

Abraham Lincoln


Abe Lincoln was an outstanding example of an ADD sufferer who maximized his positive ADD traits to be perhaps the most influential in United State history. Among the famous ADD'er lists that I have seen, Abe Lincoln is on every one. In addition, a noted mental health authority says that Abe was bipolar too. He was moody and absent minded. He had the ADD positives of compassion and seeing things from a unique perspective.

He came from a humble family in a log cabin. Education was primitive in those days, but Abe was hungry for knowledge and resourceful in coming upon books to study. Perhaps he hyperfocused on books, but so what. His study prepared him for his brilliant future. In addition, he had great physical strength for using his ax, hence the nickname “The Rail Splitter.” Even as a boy, he was a brilliant public speaker, and he often imitated famous speaker voices.

During his youth, he became very spiritual with a deep belief in the higher power. His belief in The Bible and God lasted throughout his life. However he never joined a church, because he chose to be just Christian, without any denomination label. He studied the Bible thoroughly and frequently quoted scripture in his writings and speeches. The Bible molded his strong anti-slavery views. As president, he kept a Bible on his oval office desk and frequently read it. By the way, church non-membership was suitable for Abe Lincoln, but isn't advised for most Christians (you need the support of other parishioners).

In young adulthood, his first job was working at a store in New Salem, Illinois (about 20 miles from Springfield). That business failed. He then ran for election to the Illinois legislature, but was defeated. Two years later, he ran again for the state assembly and won. Attorney John Stuart encouraged him to study law. Three years later he became a lawyer in Springfield with the partnership “Stuart And Lincoln.”

He met Mary Todd soon after moving to Springfield. Mary also had disorders, was high-strung, and perhaps was another type of ADD. Abe and Mary had a stormy courtship. But they went on to a loving faithful marriage that lasted until Abraham's death.

He was elected to the United States House of Representatives, but he chose to serve only one two year term. He then went back to Springfield to return to law practice, where he had an excellent reputation in Illinois.


The slavery issue propelled the turning point in his political career. As an ADD'er, Abe had deep feelings against the injustice of slavery. He believed that slavery is wrong. During the mid nineteenth century, the issue of slavery heated up. Whether there be western slave states was hot, because all the southeastern cotton plantation states were already states. In 1854, a Democrat US senator from Illinois, Stephen Douglas, was instrumental in passing a compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which legislated “Let each new state decide for themselves.” Protest against the Kansas-Nebraska Act triggered the formation of a new political party named Republican. Yes, that was the beginning of the same party as today's Republican party, the party of Ronald Reagan and both George Bush's. At first, the Republican Party was mainly anti-slavery. Abraham Lincoln joined the new Republican Party. I interject, obviously the Republican Party evolved to other things after The Civil War.

In 1858, there were the renown Lincoln-Douglas debates. Democrat Senator Stephen Douglas was up for reelection. Abraham Lincoln was the Republican challenger for that Senate seat. Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of debates. Both men were brilliant public speakers. Lincoln had the ADD positives of compassion and spontaneity. Lincoln's position was that this nation cannot endure permanently half-slave and half-free. This is related to Lincoln's famous quotation, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The seven debates were at public meetings in various Illinois cities, and they were heavily attended (no radio nor TV back then). The debates captured national attention. Hence Lincoln then became a nationwide celebrity. But Stephen Douglas was reelected to the Senate seat.


In 1860, Lincoln miraculously was elected president of the United States, by only 40 percent of the popular vote. The 1860 election was an anomaly. Lincoln ran from the Republican Party that frankly was then anti-slavery. The Democrats then split into Northern Democrat and Southern Democrat, because the leading Democrat, Senator Stephen Douglas, angered the pro-slavery faction. In addition a significant fourth party came along, the Constitutional Union Party. Therefore four significant presidential candidates were on the ballot in November.
Republican, Abraham Lincoln
Northern Democrat, Stephen Douglas
Southern Democrat, John Breckinridge
Constitutional Union, John Bell

Lincoln did get the majority of the electoral votes.


Immediately there was proof of his quotation, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Even before his inauguration, seven southern seceded from the Union, and four more seceded soon after inauguration. Then the southern states organized as the Confederate States. The southern states chose not to live under an anti-slavery Republican administration.

Lincoln felt that we cannot permit the south to secede. Any state seceding because they don't like the results of a presidential election -- that is indicative of a weak nation. The Confederacy immediately seized all military posts within their boundaries. Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was vital to the Union. So President Lincoln sent reinforcements to the Union officers at Fort Sumter, but the Confederacy considered that to be an act of war. Confederate artillery fire upon Fort Sumter was the start of The Civil War. At first, The Civil War was not for abolishing slavery, but was instead for the purpose of proving that our nation can remain together as a democracy.

Let me digress a moment on to Mary Lincoln. Mary was handicapped in being a first lady, because of her ADD. The pressures of being first lady weighed heavily on her high-strung nature. Temper outbursts cost her friendships. Some government officials considered her to be haughty. To top this off, Willie, one of their sons died at age 11, while in The White House. Mary was inconsolable after Willie's death. Willie was their second son to die. Edward died before his dad became president.

Getting back to Abraham, you might wonder how did he cope with his ADD and being bipolar while being president. I answer that as that God carried him. God must have guided him, especially as Civil War Commander In Chief. The Civil War was the foremost pressure on him. And the nation was divided on sentiment about the war. It did take a toll on his emotional health. He slept little during crises in the fighting. The death of son Willie weighed heavily on Abraham too. But God did guide him in his duties. As I said before, he did keep a Bible on his Oval Office desk. God knew that Abraham Lincoln was the man that our nation needed, at that time in history.

Lincoln didn't have universal support from the people. Many northern Union citizens felt that we shouldn't be fighting The Civil War, and some even had the sentiment to just let the south exist as a separate Confederate nation. Lincoln knew that sentiment meant to concede that we are a weak nation. Lincoln was committed to prove that our democracy can permanently survive.

The Civil War itself was going badly for the Union, during 1861 and 1862. Commander In Chief had trouble finding a suitable general to lead the Army. Five generals were relieved of duty when they turned out to be disappointments (McDowell, McClellan, Pope, Burnside, and Hooker). Meanwhile, the Confederate army had a brilliant leader, General Robert E Lee. The Union suffered defeats at Bull Run, Manassas, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. But the Union had victory at Antietam. In 1962, there was a ray of hope near the Mississippi River, with victories led by General Ulysses S Grant. Also in 1862, Navy Admiral David Farragut captured New Orleans.


During 1861 and 1862 Lincoln realized the wisdom of a moderate view on slavery. At that time, the war wasn't so much about slavery. Lincoln realized that we don't want secession of the Border States, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. At that time, The Constitution allowed slavery in the slave states. In other words, timing was important.

During 1861 and 1862, some impulsive Union generals freed the slaves, but President Lincoln overruled them. Not yet!!!

During late summer of 1862, events caused Lincoln to become more proactive against slavery. The Union victory at Antietam was one sign. Some foreign nations had become sympathetic with the Confederacy. And besides many northerners were lukewarm on the slavery issue.

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1, 1863. But the Emancipation Proclamation wasn't effective. It was a presidential declaration, not legislation. But it did cause the war to increasingly be anti-slavery. It also gave Union generals justification to free the slaves.

The official end of slavery happened with the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution. That happened after The Civil War.


During July 1863, two major events were the turning point for the Union. This was after Confederate General Robert E Lee launched his boldest move -- a campaign into Pennsylvania toward Philadelphia for the purpose of separating Washington, DC, from the rest of the nation. Lee's army entered Pennsylvania and marched to a small town called Gettysburg. That is as far as Lee got. Union General George Meade led the Union Army to meet them at Gettysburg. July 1 to July 3 were bloody battles that resulted in a decisive victory for the Union at Gettysburg.

The next day, July 4, was the other major event when General Ulysses S Grant captured Vicksburg. Vicksburg was the last Confederate stronghold along the Mississippi River. In effect, Grant's success divided the Confederacy, because the Union now possessed the Mississippi River.


OH, THE BRILLIANT SPEECH OF LINCOLN that is often considered the ultimate speech ever spoken. Yes, I am speaking of the Gettysburg Address. It was November 19, 1863, when a cemetery at a battle site was dedicated. Short speeches often are the most effective -- Lincoln only spoke for two minutes. His brilliant ADD seeing things from unique perspective resulted in some most profound thoughts about our democracy.

The last words of Lincoln's Gettysburg address: 
"That these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."


During 1864, the war continued; although there were the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. People were tired of war. Lincoln's popularity suffered. Lincoln was up for reelection in 1864. Many people called him “The Butcher.” The Democrats nominated for president General McClellan, one of the generals that Lincoln had fired. There was the prospect that Lincoln might not be reelected. Some people were concerned that a Democrat president might negotiate with the Confederacy for two separate nations.

Fortunately the tide turned in 1864. In March 1864, Commander In Chief Lincoln appointed General Ulysses S Grant Army Supreme Commander. Three decisive events happened that year, to cause people to regain faith in Lincoln's leadership. 
(1) General Grant won a series of victories in Virginia. 
(2) Ruthless General Sherman led the infamous march through Georgia with Atlanta burning -- then he continued into the Carolinas. 
(3) Admiral Farragut captured Mobile Bay.

God knew who would be best to serve our nation after the 1864 election. Lincoln was easily reelected by an electoral vote of 212 to 21.


At the time of Lincoln's second inauguration, the end of the war was near. General Grant's army was then approaching Richmond (the Confederate capital). Lincoln's second inaugural address communicated a vision of a reunited nation healing the wounds. In that speech were the words, “with malice toward none.”

April 9, 1865, was the long awaited end of the Civil War. This was shortly after Grant's army captured Richmond. On April 9, Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S Grant. With authority from Lincoln, Grant extended generous terms to Lee and his army.

On April 11, 1865, Lincoln's last speech was somber. Louisiana had already applied for readmission back into the Union. People were divided on what we should do about the south and whether black people should vote. Within the audience of Lincoln's April 11 speech was a man named John Wilkes Booth, who was a southerner. Booth didn't like what he heard in the speech, and he was beastly angry.


Lincoln only served five days as president after the war. On April 14, 1865, Abraham and his wife Mary attended a performance at Ford's Theater, where John Wilkes Booth regularly performed as an actor. John entered the presidential box and shot Abraham from behind, then jumped out of the box and broke his leg. He limped and shouted “Sic Semper Tyrannis” (Thus Always To Tyrants), which was a Virginia state motto. Even with a broken leg, he escaped on horseback to Virginia. Somehow he got to Dr. Mudd, to have his broken leg treated. Federal troops trapped Booth in a barn and shot him to death.

A case could be made as for whether John Wilkes Booth was ADD. He was a prominent actor in area theaters; hence he was the artistic type. He was from a family of actors. His dad, Junius Booth was an actor known for his fiery romantic portrayals, but alcoholism hampered Junius's career. Immediately before the assassination, John imbibed in alcohol (I believe brandy) in order to get the courage to murder our nation's president. Was John impulsive, very likely. We would have hoped that he would cool it and forget about the dastardly act. But uncontrolled rage propelled John Wilkes Booth.

If God guided Lincoln's presidency and if God carried Lincoln through the Civil War, then why didn't God protect him from John Wilkes Booth? I won't attempt to answer that one. I cannot explain everything. Did God want Andrew Johnson to be president -- I don't think so, because historians say that he was an ineffective leader (he was impeached and aquitted).


The assassination was especially devastating to Mary Lincoln. She was there when it happened. ADD Mary was already high strung, but her husband's death left her a mental and physical wreck. Vice President Andrew Johnson took over as president, but Johnson had trouble trying to get Mary to leave the White House. Mary's emotional state was hampering any residential move.

When Mary did move out of the White House, she returned to Springfield, Illinois. She lived another 17 years hampered by mental health problems. A further devastating blow came when son Tad died at age 18. Among four sons, only Robert Lincoln lived into adulthood and into old age (he lived to be 83). I interject that Robert was Secretary of War under Presidents James Garfield and Chester Arthur, and then he became CEO of Pullman Corporation. In 1875, Robert became deeply concerned about his mother, and he had Mary committed to a private insane asylum. She was released from the asylum within a year. She was a recluse during her remaining years.

<*(((>< your ADD brother in the Risen Christ,
Lester Hemphill
Founder of ADDoration Ministries