Sunday, February 22, 2015

Washington and Lincoln

Last Monday was a federal holiday in the U.S.
We stopped to celebrate President's Day,
which was a day off for some workers and businesses.
For others, it was a day of shopping and sales.
The only meaning for our presidents was for the symbols on our money 
and as a day off.

As a teacher of 2nd graders, I found some books
to use to talk about the importance of history
and the roles that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln
played in creating the changes that have shaped our country.

George Washington
February 22, 1732-December 14, 1799

ADAD 52: On the Screen
Happy Birthday, George Washington!

George Washington is most often recognized as 
the gray-haired older man we see in portraits
and on our money.
However, he was a plantation owner and a general. 
He was a leader in charge of change during his time.

Washington was born on his family's plantation,
born into an affluent family.
When his father died, he left much of the property
to Washington's older step-brothers.
As his mother's oldest son, George helped his mother
run the plantation.

Mary Ball Washington

 As a young man, George Washington was a major in
the French-Indian War.

When Virginia once again returned to a peaceful state,
Washington was a "gentleman farmer" at Mount Vernon (1759-1775),
with an eye for innovations in farming and business.

In June 1775, he took up the command of the Continental Army.
As a general, his flexibility and openness to what was really important
helped defeat the well stocked, well trained British army.
Washington resided from this commission in 1783.

The calling for reform in our government after the Revolutionary War
compelled him to continue to assume a leadership role.
He presided over the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

He longed to retire to Mount Vernon,
but was unanimously elected and served two terms
as our first president (1789-1797). 
He declined a 3rd term, and was finally
able to return to Mount Vernon for a few years
before his death.

George Washington became the president
because of the important role he played in 
establishing our freedom from England
and in building our government.

Although he was a man of his times (owned slaves),
he was also honest, hard working, and an innovative thinker.
He stepped up to his calling as a leader.

Abraham Lincoln
February 12, 1809-April 15, 1865

Abraham Lincoln learned how to read at home.
He received very little schooling outside of his home environment,
but he continued to be an avid reader searching to borrow books
wherever he could find them.

When he was young, he helped to build his family's log cabin.
He continued to chop wood and perform many physical labor duties 
as a part of his duties at home.

Abraham was an excellent storyteller and speaker.
While many Presidents have had speech writers,
Abraham Lincoln wrote his own speeches.

He was well educated from the many books he read, 
his determination to learn, and his life experiences.
When he decided to be a lawyer, he worked with a lawyer
with an established business, read all of the law books in the library,
and then was accepted as a lawyer in partnership with his mentor,
paving his way for his later role in politics.

His role as the 16th President of the United States
is particularly noteworthy because he was the President
during the Civil War (1861-1865).

The north believed that slavery was wrong, and the south
believed that they should be able to keep their slaves.
Abraham Lincoln was against slavery.
The south wanted to establish their own country and government
in order to govern themselves and keep slavery.

Abraham Lincoln played a critical role in freeing the slaves.

Biography of Abraham Lincoln

One hundred years after Abraham Lincoln,
on August 28, 1963,
Martin Luther King stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial,
facing the Washington Memorial, and gave his famous
"I Have a Dream Speech",
building and supporting change through the cause of Civil Rights.

Whatever praise or criticism we have for their roles,
or in judging their values and lives from our own perspectives,
they have stood up and spoken up as a part of our history.

Rise up and be who you are.
Live your dreams.
Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

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