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Religious and philosophical beliefs::Abraham Lincoln

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Religious and philosophical beliefs

As a young man, Lincoln was a religious skeptic,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> or, in the words of a biographer, an iconoclast.<ref>Carwardine (2003), p. 4.</ref> Later in life, Lincoln's frequent use of religious imagery and language might have reflected his own personal beliefs or might have been a device to appeal to his audiences, who were mostly evangelical Protestants.<ref>Carwardine (1997), pp. 27–55.</ref> He never joined a church, although he frequently attended with his wife.<ref>On claims that Lincoln was baptized by an associate of Alexander Campbell, see {{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> However, he was deeply familiar with the Bible, and he both quoted and praised it.<ref>Donald (1996), pp. 48–49, 514–515.</ref> He was private about his beliefs and respected the beliefs of others. Lincoln never made a clear profession of Christian beliefs. However he did believe in an all-powerful God that shaped events and, by 1865, was expressing those beliefs in major speeches.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

In the 1840s, Lincoln subscribed to the Doctrine of Necessity, a belief that asserted the human mind was controlled by some higher power.<ref>Donald (1996), pp. 48–49.</ref> In the 1850s, Lincoln believed in "providence" in a general way, and rarely used the language or imagery of the evangelicals; he regarded the republicanism of the Founding Fathers with an almost religious reverence.<ref>Grant R. Brodrecht, "Our country": Northern evangelicals and the Union during the Civil War and Reconstruction (2008) p. 40</ref> When he suffered the death of his son Edward, Lincoln more frequently expressed a need to depend on God.<ref>Parrillo, pp. 227–253.</ref> The death of his son Willie in February 1862 may have caused Lincoln to look toward religion for answers and solace.<ref>Wilson, pp. 251–254.</ref> After Willie's death, Lincoln considered why, from a divine standpoint, the severity of the war was necessary. He wrote at this time that God "could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds."<ref>Wilson, p. 254.</ref> On the day Lincoln was assassinated, he reportedly told his wife he desired to visit the Holy Land.<ref>Guelzo (1999), p. 434</ref>


Abraham Lincoln sections
Intro  Family and childhood  Early career and militia service  [[Abraham_Lincoln?section=U.S._House_of_Representatives,_1847&ndash;49|U.S. House of Representatives, 1847&ndash;49]]  Prairie lawyer  Republican politics 1854\u201360  Presidency  Assassination and funeral  Religious and philosophical beliefs  Health  Historical reputation  Memory and memorials  See also  References  Bibliography  External links  

Religious and philosophical beliefs
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