Sunday, October 14, 2012

Abraham Lincoln, Esq.

I'm reading a book about the legal career of Abraham Lincoln. The book, Abraham Lincoln, Esq. edited by Roger Billings and Frank J. Williams, consists of a series of essays about particular aspects of his practice. In some ways very little has changed about the practice of law. I was surprised to learn that he did quite a bit of family law, but his primary core practice was  debtor/creditor law. Here is a quote that I appreciated:

" Day in and day out, Lincoln stared at the heat and friction created by the failings of human beings at war with one another. In a sense, he witnessed over five thousand little civil wars before he got to the big one in 1861. Lincoln was for all these people a lubricant: he allowed business relationships, families, friendships  and so forth to function without overheating, without seizing and locking up." (From Chapter entitled A. Lincoln, Respectable "Prairie Lawyer." by  Brian Dirck)

The author goes on to discuss how Mr. Lincoln and the law allowed the Illinois economy to grow because the law as the "grease" of the developing Illinois economy. Dirck continues:

"Heavens knows this probably was not a pleasant way to earn a living, though to his credit there is no record of Lincoln's ever grumbling about his lot in life as 'grease.' Bit pleasant or not, it was great education into the ways people interacted with each other."

How the practice of law influenced Lincoln and made history fascinates me.

1 comment:

  1. nice message from a book of Abraham Lincoln . Thanks for sharing this with us.