TWO LIVES OF INTEGRITY: ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND FREDERICK DOUGLASS
There are two separate assignments for you to complete. One on Abraham Lincoln and the other on Frederick Douglass. Please do both.
Part 1 Introduction: One of Abraham Lincoln’s greatest attributes was his ability to recover and learn from failure. The quality of perseverance seemed especially useful to Lincoln as he struggled with “melancholy” (what might now be called depression). For Lincoln, learning how to persevere also meant learning how to adapt.
Part 1 Required Reading:
Lincoln’s Great Depression
Part 1 Questions:
[a] Based on your reading of Shenk’s article, “Lincoln’s Great Depression”, please identify two of Lincoln’s most successful adaptation strategies (skills, habits, or ways of thinking) that helped him use his struggle with depression to accomplish worthy goals. Provide textual evidence (e.g. quotations) to support your answer. Hint: Shenk argued that Lincoln developed a purpose-driven life, focused on redefining “the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.” Understanding how Lincoln defined the Declaration’s “spirit” will help you appreciate one of his most successful and impactful adaptation strategies.
[b] What idea or insight in the full article would you recommend to others (a friend, perhaps)? Provide a direct quotation from the article to support your answer.
Part 2 Introduction: The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass challenged and admired Lincoln. Both men eventually formed a close partnership leading to the abolition of slavery.
Part 2 Required Readings (two speeches by Frederick Douglass):
Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln (1876)
Composite Nation (1869) (Excerpts)
[a] Based on the two assigned speeches from Douglass, what characteristics does he display as a thinker and a writer? (People continue to read these speeches because they’re powerful and memorable. What makes them powerful and memorable?) Cite a specific example from each speech to support your answer.
[b] Leading a life of integrity: based on the readings in both assignments above, please identify at least one quality of character exhibited by Lincoln and/or Douglass you might wish to cultivate in yourself.