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With malice toward none...

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In "The Education of Abraham Lincoln," writer and educator Chip Denton says,

"Abraham Lincoln was educated, as he said in his inimitable fashion, 'by littles.' All his formal schooling—a week here, a month there--did not amount to one year, and mostly he educated himself by borrowing books and newspapers. He loved Robinson Crusoe and the tales of The Arabian Nights, a biography of Washington, and the poetry of Shakespeare and Burns. Someone recalled, 'I never saw Abe after he was twelve that he didn’t have a book in his hand or in his pocket. It didn’t seem natural to see a feller read like that.' Fond of talking and story telling, he found a book called Lessons in Elocution and began practicing his public speaking from a tree stump."

Lincoln evidently absorbed the art of rhetoric in this process, as is apparent in his Second Inaugural Address. Remember, he made this speech in the days in which people actually wrote their own speeches! Note the par…