Abraham Lincoln, Concerning Slavery

Challenging the Institution With His Own Words

             with commentary by Randy Russell

Randy Russell is the Pastor for Spiritual Life at the Chapel Hill Bible Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Randy and his wife Kathy love being with their five children, Susanna, Peter, John Mark, Michael & David; and three grandchildren, Mackenzie, Lacey & Russell.  


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How did my interest develop in the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln? 

Raised in Dolton, Illinois, I attended Lincoln School in the Land of Lincoln. I remember class trips to Springfield and New Salem, viewing original Lincoln documents at the (then) Chicago Historical Society, as well as visiting the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. But my reading interest developed in mid-adulthood as I was challenged by Lincoln's journey through the rough waters of the Civil War.  

In my reading I learned of various perspectives of Lincoln's views on slavery. As I sought documents that allowed Lincoln to express his own thoughts, I discovered that he was a man of his times, influenced by racism and altruism. He was caught between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; between the abolitionists and the slave advocates. Understanding Lincoln's thoughts and actions in the sequence of each historical context caused an even greater respect for his decision-making in the complexity of a nation imploding.

After several years of study, I remain most impressed by... Lincoln’s leadership through multi-contentious conflicts; Lincoln's compassionate, unifying, & optimistic attitude while living in a depressing personal & national environment; and Lincoln’s tenacity of dealing honorably with the present while keeping a hopeful, principled eye forward towards the future.