Lessons From Honest Abe

In honor of President’s Day, I wanted to share something I learned about my favorite president from the book, “Lincoln, The Unknown”, by Dale Carnegie.

“Lincoln…rode into Springfield on a borrowed horse, to begin what he called his ‘experiment as a lawyer’. He carried in his saddle-bag all his earthly possessions. The only things he owned were several law-books and some extra shirts and some underwear. He also carried an old blue sock stuffed with six-and-a-quarter-cent and twelve-and-a-half-cent pieces – money that he collected for postage before the post-office ‘winked-out’ back in New Salem. During this first year in Springfield, Lincoln needed cash often, and he needed it badly. He could have spent this money and paid the Government out of his own pocket, but he would have felt that that was dishonest. So when the post-office auditor finally came around for a settlement, Lincoln turned over to him not only the exact amount, but the exact coins he had taken in as post-master during the preceding year or two.”

Two things impressed me:

  1. All of his earthly possessions were books, shirts and underwear. (I need to cut back on my clothes budget and make room for a “books” budget.)
  2. He gave the post-office auditor the exact coins he had taken in as post-master of New Salem.

Now I understand why he was nicknamed “Honest Abe”.


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