A Comparison of Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln

Published: 2021-08-30 21:15:09
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Some of it has to do with the trajectory of his life. In his rise from poverty, his self-study and ultimate mastery of language and of law, in his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat – in all of this we see a fundamental element of the American character, a belief that we can constantly remake ourselves to fit our larger dreams. (Senator Barack Obama, 2005) The above quotation, by Senator Barack Obama, during the inauguration of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, displays Obama’s views on Lincoln’s accomplishments not only during his presidency, but also throughout the course of history. Obama applauded the contributions made by Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s 16th president. As time has progressed, and Obama has announced his campaign for presidency, more and more people are grabbing the opportunity to compare the two presidential candidates from Illinois.
Though from two different time periods, President Abraham Lincoln and Senator Barack Obama are very similar, due to several reasons such as experience, viewpoints and eloquence. Both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama were very inexperienced when running for presidency. Lincoln was born in log cabin, to two uneducated farmers- Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks. His mother died when he was only nine years old. Lincoln’s formal education consisted of eighteen months of schooling. But he mostly taught himself and was an avid reader.
He began his career when he was twenty-three years old. He ran for Illinois General Assembly, but had an unsuccessful campaign. His political success began two years later, in 1834, where he was elected into the state legislature. At this time he began to teach himself law, and served four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, to a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and he moved to Indonesia for several years.
Later he returned to Hawaii, and graduated from high school. He attended college in Los Angeles, and later transferred to Columbia University. He continued his education by attending Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago. He ran for Illinois Senate in 1995, and was reelected in 1998 and 2002. He resigned from the Illinois Senate in 2004, when he was inducted into the US Senate. Neither of these candidates fit the mold of a presidential candidate when they announced their campaign.
Lincoln was the tall, gangly, uneducated man who lived in a log cabin for most of his life. Obama was the child of mixed race and foreign upbringing. Also both of them were running against a well-known candidate of the same party- Lincoln running against William Seward, a senator of New York, and Obama running against Hillary Clinton, the wife of former president, Bill Clinton. Even so, facing all the hardships of being the underdog, Lincoln and Obama were able to surprise the public with their strengths and beliefs.
Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln had various viewpoints that were similar. Though Lincoln was a Republican and Obama was a Democrat, they both were against an initially popularized war- Lincoln was against Polk’s Mexican War, and Barack Obama was against George W. Bush’s Iraq War. Lincoln accused Polk of wanting military glory, believed that Polk had violated the Constitution and had overstepped the boundaries of being president. Barack Obama was against the Iraq War. He believed it was not too late to remove the troops from Iraq.
He also believed it was possible to mollify the disputes in Iraq with peaceful talks and diplomacy, rather than President Bush’s beliefs supporting violence and warfare. Both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama also had a notable speech on race. They both started their speech with a reference to the Constitution-the backbone of American Government. Next, they both had to dissociate themselves from a person who had slandered their campaign. Lincoln had to distance himself from John Brown, a fanatical abolitionist and Obama had to detach himself from Jeremiah Wright, a pastor with extreme views at Barack Obama’s church.
Though Obama’s speech has been related to FDR’s Inaugural Address and JFK’s speech, it relates most realistically with Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address. They both spoke out, meeting the uncommon charge of extremism and called out for the improvement of the future. Through their similarity in viewpoints, Senator Obama and President Lincoln can be properly associated with one another. Finally, President Lincoln and Senator Obama’s uncanny eloquence had set them apart from the other candidates during their elections. President Lincoln’s eloquence was most celebrated in the renowned Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Lincoln believed slavery would get out of hand, while Douglas countered him by saying local settlers should be given the right to determine whether slavery should or should not be allowed in their territory. He always believed that all people should be treated equally, and always spoke his mind regarding the subject of equality. Senator Obama also retains this same quality of eloquence. He constantly speaks of change, and believes what America needs is a modification of its ideas, and doesn’t need the invariable reliance on past history.
Through their daring new ideas and viewpoints, and their persuasiveness in stating them, both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama have transcended their fellow opponents in history. Although the course of history has changed over 150 years, and the issues are different now, the startling resemblance between President Abraham Lincoln and Senator Barack Obama is evident. Through resemblances, such as experience, viewpoints and eloquence, both, once-presidential candidates, can be compared and categorized as similar.

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