I could not truly call myself an Illinois blogger if I didn't note that two hundred years ago on this day, Abraham Lincoln was born. Yes, it's true that he was born in a log cabin in Kentucky and spent his childhood there and in Indiana, but his family moved to Illinois when he was 21 years old. He stayed in the state for many years, rising from rail splitter to lawyer to one-term Illinois congressman to... well, back to being a lawyer. He only left Illinois after taking a job that required relocation.
What would life be like in America today if Lincoln had decided that his one term in Congress was enough of a political life for him? What if he had found satisfaction in being a lawyer? What if he determined that Illinois was where he was going to stay?
Fortunately, we don't have to dwell on those "what ifs," because we know his history. His history is an integral part of our national history. Indeed, the United States of America probably would not exist in this day - as it is - without him. Much has been written about him (see here for one blogger's list of books), and most likely there will be more. Each new book broadens our view of him, but we may never truly ascertain his greatness.
Happy birthday, President Lincoln. May each president, not just our current one, seek to emulate you.