In fact, you might be surprised to learn that many of our historical figures, like Rosa Parks, were.

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In fact, you might be surprised to learn that many of our historical figures, like Rosa Parks, were.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that many of our historical figures, like Rosa Parks, were just in the right place at the right time. History is much more interesting and nuanced than what we have distilled it down to. For example, Abraham Lincoln was not the great emancipator of the slaves as many might believe. Lincoln was forced to implement the Emancipation Proclamation and this was after numerous petitions calling for the end of slavery from various groups of Blacks, Whites, and Native Americans. Up to this point, there had been numerous uprisings and revolts around ending slavery. Lincoln did this as it was strategic in winning the Civil War and his primary goal was to keep the Union together; he had no real interest in terminating slavery. Slavery did not end with the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln was the ultimate politician and would change his position to fit the audience. When he was running for senate in Illinois in 1858, he spoke in Chicago: Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man, this race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position. Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal.When Lincoln spoke in southern Illinois, two months later, his rhetoric had changed (direct excerpt with no changes made to nomenclature):I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor or bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races (applause); that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people…And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address in March of 1861: I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.How did Lincoln become such a famous President? Was it his oratory skills? He could speak very well and move an entire audience. Was it his political acumen? Lincoln had the ability to switch sides whenever it benefited his leadership. Or, was he representative of the people? What stereotypes exist regarding Lincoln?

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