What if Abe had landed a plumb paid internship when he was young?

That’s the question that comes to mind when I see an historical anecdote such as this from Jean-Marie Valheur (via Instapundit):

You will often hear about his great speeches, wonderful quotes, witty little anecdotes here and there. Or insights into his complex marriage. His mental health issues and how he overcame them and carried on in spite of personal hardships. But what is every bit as interesting, to me, was the man’s physicality. Lincoln’s very body was the stuff of legends.

Everything you will ever read of Abraham Lincoln will tell you he was a man of great contrasts. For instance, his height of 6′4″ was impressive, but his shoulders were narrow and his body slim. His hands and arms were exceptionally strong and his voice rather shrill for a man his size. In his youth he was a wrestler, as well as a day-laborer known to easily do the work of three men. “No man could drive a nail deeper,” his old boss would admiringly say.

The habits of work and the feeling of strength change one’s perspective and affect the way one interacts with others and solves problems.  As our society becomes increasingly cerebral, with the conceit that we can figure out everything through the contrivances of “experts” and an awed respect for “subjectivity,” I’ve wondered (in light of my experience with manual labor) why none ever seem to factor in the effect of having labored and been strong.


Featured image by Clark VanDerBeken on Unsplash.

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