|Hot Babe Lincoln has Centre Connection
Abraham Lincoln is all the rage these days.
RELEASED: Feb. 24, 2005
DANVILLE, KYYou cant pick up a newspaper or magazine and escape the craggy face of our 16th president. Honest Abe is now an honest-to-gosh babe, shouts the USA Today headline. Hes on the cover of U.S. News & World Report; Liam Neeson will play him in an upcoming Steven Spielberg movie; the $115-million Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (Theme-park technology meets serious history, according to USA Today) will open this spring in Springfield, Ill.; on the Internet, Lincoln paraphernalia is selling like hotcakeseverything from t-shirts to mousepads to
Long before he became known (for this news cycle at least) as Abe the Babe, and even before he became known to his contemporaries as Honest Abe, the man on the $5 bill had a powerful connection to Centre College.
Lincoln, who was president from 1861 until his assassination in 1865, was indeed born in a log cabinin Hodgenville, Ky., on Feb. 12, 1809. He guided the country through one of its greatest crisesthe Civil Warand went on to become perhaps our most cherished president. But if not for a Centre College graduate, its hard to say if President's Day, Feb. 12, would have as much meaning to Americansor if America itself would be the same country it is today.
In 1832 Lincoln was far from looking as if he were on his way to becoming an American legend. He was a 23-year-old with no great ambition who planned to become a blacksmith. But John Todd Stuart (Centre College class of 1826) urged him to study for the bar. When Lincoln protested that he had nothing to study, Stuart loaned his good friend Lincoln a set of books, according to an autobiographical sketch Lincoln prepared in 1860.
With the encouragement from Stuart, Lincoln was admitted to the bar in 1837, and Stuart became Lincolns first law partner in Springfield, Ill. They remained partners for five years.
The Kentucky natives first met in 1832 when they fought in the same battalion during the Black Hawk War. After their military service, both ran for the Illinois General Assembly, although only Stuart won a seat in 1832. Two years later, Lincoln joined Stuart in the state legislature.
Lincoln married Stuarts cousin, Mary Todd of Lexington, Ky., in 1842.
Interestingly, Stuart and Lincoln disagreed on many issues of the day, but remained close friends until Lincoln's death in 1865. Stuart later headed the National Lincoln Monument Association, which built a monument to the fallen president in Springfield, Ill.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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