Lincoln and Darwin
Nature Bulletin No. 141 February 7, 1948
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
William N. Erickson, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation
LINCOLN AND DARWIN
On February 12, 1809, two boys were born, one on each side of the
Atlantic Ocean. Neither appeared to be particularly promising in their
childhood, youth and early manhood.
Abraham Lincoln, the American, grew up under hardships, heartbreaks,
and hazards of frontier life in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. Like so
many others of his time in an expanding young country, he had a thirst
for knowledge and managed to supplement his meager access to books
by long, leisurely, deep thoughts of his own as he swung an ax, tramped
the hills or plowed a furrow between the stumps. He even had to make
his own arithmetic book Charles Darwin, the Englishman, was a poor
student, according to the standards of his time, even though he was the
son of a doctor and the grandson of another famous doctor. He, too,
loved to tramp the hills and was fond of dogs, horses and hunting. He,
too, had an inquiring mind and thought his own deep thoughts as he
threshed out the why and wherefore of things.
Yet these two boys grew into men who will be remembered and
imitated wherever and whenever men seek freedom. The one, as
president, led this country with simplicity and deep understanding
through a bloody civil war to establish freedom from slavery. The other,
by common sense and the careful weighing of evidence, showed that
man is a child of nature and lives by nature' s rules. Both were prepared
for future greatness by their intimate acquaintance with the out-of-
doors. Both were simple kindly men, full of humor. Both hated injustice
and cruelty. Both loved the truth above all else and were driven by a
desire to improve the welfare and progress of their fellowmen.
Lincoln the statesman set free men's bodies. Darwin the naturalist set
free men's minds.
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Update: June 2012