Every third Monday in February, we take time to remember all the Presidents of our country and in particular we honor two very important Presidents of United States:
- George Washington, the first President and “Father of our Country”
- Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President and “Preserver of the Union”.
Washington helped create the United States. He was the leader of the American army during the American Revolutionary War. He took an army of ordinary people (farmers, merchants) and successfully defeated Great Britain, a world power.
In 1783 , after the war ended, Washington was happy to go back to his family and farm at Mount Vernon. However the nation soon needed him again. In 1789, he was asked to be the first President of this very young nation. Washington really did not want to be president. But everyone voted for him because of the trust they had in him. and he was voted in with 100% of the electoral votes. No other president has ever been elected with 100% of the votes. He was “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen”.
He did many great things for America during his presidency but maybe what he didn’t do is just as important. He didn’t become an “king” and rule the nation for life. After two presidential terms, he refused to run again and nearly all American Presidents have followed his example.
Lincoln kept the United States from breaking up into different countries. The states in the North and the states in the South had been arguing with each other for many years over slavery. Many people, mostly in the Southern states, believed that they could own people (slaves) as property. Others, mostly in the Northern states, believed that this was wrong and slaves should be free. Eleven southern states tried to leave the union and form a new country, ” the Confederate States of America” and this began the Civil War. The Civil War was the bloodiest war in American’s history where (over 600,000 people died). This war not only divided the nation, but families and friends were on opposite sides of the battleground. It was a terrible time for the nation.
Lincoln, a wise and compassionate president, was able to lead the North to victory and the Union was saved. During the war, he also ended slavery by first freeing slaves under the Emancipation Proclamation and then by working with Congress to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that banned slavery from the nation.
He inspired the nation then and continues to inspires Americans today with his vision of America – “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”
As you enjoy the day, give thanks to these Presidents and to all our Presidents who have served America .
To see all the Presidents look at this unusual video
This funny little tune can also help you learn about President’s Day (and a three day week-end)
Now check how much you know …. click on the link for the Presidents Day Quiz