Thursday will be the 200th birthday of our 16th president. Abraham Lincoln heads just about anyone’s list of our nation’s greatest leaders. In my pantheon of presidents, he stands side by side with Thomas Jefferson as No. 1. Both were uncommon men who advocated for the common man all of their lives.

Perhaps more than Jefferson, Lincoln had a common touch with the people, which was likely a product of his own very modest beginnings in this life. I’d like to celebrate him here with a few quotes, a short quiz and a special event at our school today.

So here are just a few Lincoln quotes for the ages, our own included.

“Upon the subject of education . . . I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.”

(I’ll send that one to our governor, who discounts education first in his cost-cutting instead of last.)

“These capitalists generally act harmoniously, and in concert, to fleece the people.”

(No shortage of candidates today to fit that description.)

“Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence.”

(Good riddance, Guantanamo.)

“Common-looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them."

(Refer to my new photo)

And now, Part II, a little Lincoln quiz I’ve assembled for you history buffs out there. The first 10 are easier than the second 10.


1. What was Lincoln’s nickname because of his prowess with an ax?

2. Who was Lincoln’s predecessor?

3. Who was his opponent for the Senate and the presidency in 1860.

4. Where were the first shots of the Civil War fired?

5. What was John Wilkes Booth’s profession?

6. After the battle of Antietam, what famous document did Lincoln sign?

7. Who was, by most accounts, the true love of Lincoln’s life?

(Hint: It wasn’t Mary Todd.)

8. Name three actors who have portrayed Lincoln on the screen.

9. Finish the quote: “A House divided against itself ________________________.

10. Name a toy, a state capital and a Ford model that bear his name.

Now a little harder:

1. What constitutional right was suspended by Lincoln during the Civil War?

2. Upon meeting her, Lincoln said, “So you’re the little lady who started this war.” Who was this lady?

3. Lincoln was watching what play when he was assassinated?

4. How tall was Lincoln?

5. Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated. Can you name the other three?

6. Which of Lincoln’s sons was the only one to grow to maturity?

7. What poet wrote “Oh Captain, My Captain” upon the death of Lincoln?

8. In 1832 Lincoln enlisted in the Illinois militia to fight which war?

9. Before Lincoln was a Republican, to which party did he belong?

10. Who was Lincoln’s first vice president?

(Answers at the end of this column)

Abe Lincoln will be at Hoover High School today in the person of J.P. Wammack, who, like his father before him, volunteers in schools throughout the area to play the part of Lincoln for the kids. He brings stories, anecdotes and solid-gold history to students who sit in rapt attention. He comes to our schools sporting a stove pipe hat, a suit that is authentic to the period and whiskers that present a perfect portrait of our 16th president. He captures Lincoln’s humor as well as his serious side, and his short visit will stay in the minds of students long after their history lessons fade away. Wammack is a local treasure, and I can’t think of a better way of saying Happy 200th to our most beloved president.


First 10:

1. The “Railsplitter”

2. James Buchanan

3. Stephen Douglas

4. Fort Sumter

5. Actor

6. The Emancipation Proclamation

7. Ann Rutledge

8. Raymond Massey, Henry Fonda and Hal Holbrook

9. “cannot stand”

10. Lincoln Logs, Lincoln, Neb., Lincoln Continental

Second 10:

1. Habeas corpus

2. Harriet Beecher Stowe (who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin)

3. “Our American Cousin”

4. 6-foot-4

5. James Garfield, William McKinley and John Kennedy

6. Robert

7. Walt Whitman

8. Black Hawk

9. Whig

10. Hannibal Hamlin

 DAN KIMBER is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District, where he has taught for more than 30 years. He may be reached at DKimb8@

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