Saturday, February 12, 2022

Feb. 12: Abraham Lincoln, American president AND Charles Darwin, English naturalist


Sometimes the stars align and a birthday is shared by two people who are so outstanding that I can't pick one over the other. Such is the case with February 12, and not only were these two titans born on the same calendar date, but it was in the same year: February 12, 1809!

  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was arguably the greatest of the 46 American presidents (so far). He led the country admirably through its darkest episode--the War between the States--and paid the price with his own blood when assassinated by a rebel sympathizer. His speeches set a standard never met by others; see the "House Divided" speech, the "First Inaugural Address," the renowned "Gettysburg Address," and the "Second Inaugural Address."
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was a humble English naturalist whose writings completely revised our understanding of who we are: the result of natural processes rather than the special creation of God. His Voyage of the Beagle is a wonderfully readable account of a five-year journey around South America; The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man set out his theory in clear, logical prose. Though his idea has been tweaked and clarified as new evidence has come to light, it has never been replaced.


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