The C.A.T. Principle – Global Ebook Awards GOLD & SILVER Winner for Best Self-Help Non-Fiction Ebook of 2014 & 2016

Into The Great Wide Open: Touring The American West (Part IX)…

Touring the American West

President Abraham Lincoln

Into The Great Wide Open: Touring The American West (Part IX)…

The Illinois state capital of Springfield is a place unto its own. It emits a time of another era, but even more so, it casts a spell. Every street corner longs to tell a story and every building has an echo. It draws one into a past that once was, and a present that wishes to draw it forth. It embodies American history at its finest.

For almost 25 years, Springfield was home to one of America’s greatest historical figures. He walked the streets, visited the shops, and frequented the court houses.  It was here that he would practise law and hone his oratory skills. The same skills that would put him in good stead for the impending crisis ahead. It was home to a man who stood 6’4” and who would one day become one of America’s most memorable and effective Presidents. He was America’s 16th President, namely Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), or Honest Abe as many would call him.

American West

The Abraham Lincoln Library & Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

It’s not easy to write about such a giant of American history. How does one do justice to the trials and tribulations that Lincoln had to endure up to his assassination in 1865? The loss of his mother by age nine, his sister by age 18 and then the early death of his second and third children (Lincoln didn’t live to experience the death of his fourth child at the age of 18 in 1871), would be enough to drown anyone in sorrow. It’s his tragic, but yet successful life that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield does well to explain.

American West

The Springfield house where Lincoln lived for 17 years.

Walking through the exhibit, one learns quickly that America was standing at the brink when Lincoln took office as the first Republican President in March of 1861. By then, seven States had already seceded from the Union and the America that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had forged, looked destined to collapse. Collapse that is, were it were not for the prowess and courage of Lincoln. He faced down the secessionists and led the charge to abolish slavery. Without him, it’s likely the Republic would not have survived.

American West

Lincoln’s law office was on the 3rd floor of this downtown Springfield building.

The ensuing Civil War from April 12th, 1861 to April 9th, 1865 cost some 625,000 lives or approximately 2% of the 31,000,000 people living in the U.S. at the time. Amid the war, on January 1st, 1863, Lincoln proclaimed the Emancipation Proclamation changing the legal status of all slaves to free. As a result, approximately 3.5 million African American slaves were deemed legally free. This eventually led to the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in December 1865, which abolished slavery in the United States. Lincoln did not live to see the Amendment. An assassin’s bullet struck him down on April 14th that year, less than a week after the Confederacy surrendered in Appomattox, Virginia on April 9th.

American West

The Old Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield.

Lincoln’s legacy lives on and Springfield does a marvelous job of showcasing it. He is laid to rest here at The Lincoln Tomb in the Oak Ridge Cemetery, the second most visited cemetery in the United States. The house where he spent some 17 years of his life is now a well-preserved museum. The building that housed his law offices still stands and the Old State Capitol building still displays an office where he worked as a lawmaker. Unfortunately, he never lived to see the new Illinois State Capitol building, which was completed in 1888 after some 20 years of construction. It’s an exquisite example of French Renaissance and Italianate architecture.

American West

The Grand Foyer of the New Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield.

Springfield is worth a visit. From the beautiful sites to the friendly people, it’s one stop not to be missed. As such, it comes as no surprise that Lincoln would attribute much of his success to his time spent here. “To this place and the kindness of these people, I owe everything,” he said. I could see why.


American West

The tomb where Lincoln is laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield.



And so, with Lincoln on my mind, I entered the open road once again. Eastwards towards Ohio I drove, as my journey across the American West quickly wound down. One final stop was yet to come; one final history lesson yet to be learned…

Note: Photos are by the author.





For those interested, The CAT Principle now has a new podcast! Change, action, trust as they relate to life, culture and society are its themes. Join me on AppleSpotify and Anchor, among other platforms, for thought-provoking conversation and fascinating interviews. 

For more check out the Global Ebook Awards GOLD & SILVER Winner of 2014 & 2016, The C.A.T. Principle: Change, Action, Trust – Words to Live By available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. See the latest Amazon reviews here. Sign up above and receive this blog once every two weeks to your inbox. Comments and thoughts welcome.

The C.A.T. Principle

A 2014 Global Ebook Awards GOLD Winner for Best Self-Help Non-Fiction Ebook.

A 2016 Global Ebook Awards SILVER Winner for Best Self-Help Non-Fiction Ebook.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: