The American Bar Association (ABA) dedicated Law Day 2009 to the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and the legacy of liberty he left to all Americans. On May 1, the ABA commemorated Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial with the rich and resonant theme “A Legacy of Liberty” and saluted this American hero whose commitment to human rights was a major thrust in the advancement of civil rights in this country.
Lincoln, the quintessential American lawyer and U.S. President, is a legend in our nation’s quest for civil rights and equal justice under the law. This legal giant – a simple, self-educated country lawyer – guided our divided country through the Civil War, preserving its democracy and abolishing slavery. He bequeathed an inspirational legacy of liberty to future generations of Americans and upheld the Rule of Law that prevails today.
Abraham Lincoln embodied the best in the legal profession. He started life in poverty and never forgot his humble beginnings. He educated himself, learned the law as an apprentice and was a true country lawyer who was very proud of his profession. The renowned “prairie lawyer” practiced law with integrity, professionalism and honesty. He was the epitome of his nickname, “Honest Abe.” Lincoln’s law practice and presidency were built on his core values.
Over the course of his revered career, Lincoln wrote and delivered, as an eloquent orator, some of most important and influential speeches in American history. He believed in the power of the law and the power of the written word. His legal background was the driving force in his actions and greatly influenced his oratory.
This beloved President, who embraced liberty, freed over three million slaves in the U.S. The Civil War broke out just as Lincoln became President, and he fought to restore this country to an indivisible nation governed by the Rule of Law. This strong and determined leader saved our union, our constitutional democracy and our nation by preserving our Rule of Law. Law Day 2009 paid tribute to this true champion of justice.