Understanding the current phase of American government and the issues surrounding slavery and freedom, the ‘House Divided Speech’ by Abraham Lincoln provides a future vision of how American society should respond. Though some politicians his contemporary argue on this radical or extremist ideology, it gives readers the ability to think about how Lincoln sees the stability of America and the precepts surrounding the maintenance of what its principles stand for. Here, he saw the process of applying change not mainly as limited to what is only available but on the viability of uniting leaders for a particular vision towards social and political transformation.
Reflecting further on the speech, it can also be seen how Lincoln’s personality reflects how he views politics and social issues. He perceives a reality that is not mainly achieved by compromise. Here, it can be argued that he is an absolutist – one that tries to achieve change by modifying or transforming issues that serves the best of the American people. That is why his perspective is often considered both constructive and destructive by his peers during the period. It is constructive because it lays out the possibilities for the future of American society. At the same time destructive because Lincoln stresses on abrupt change where a current consensus has already been established.
In essence, the ‘House Divided Speech’ is one crucial document in American History because it personifies a leader who seeks to consolidate differences and create opportunities for transforming individuals and society. Despite the idea that his approach and appropriateness when it was delivered remains to be questionable, it gives insights to readers on how one leader tries to balance current issues prevalent during the period. In essence, it can be argued that this is one thing that highlights Abraham Lincoln’s legacy in American history: being able to take risks and exhibit leadership that goes beyond boundaries and is definitive and absolute.
Abraham Lincoln Online (2000) House Divided Speech. Retrieved from