Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Speed’

Best Stories about Abe Lincoln – The Lightning Rod

Monday, July 6th, 2020

The Lightning Rod

When Lincoln was a candidate for re-election to the Illinois Legislature in 1836, a meeting was held in the court house in Springfield, at which candidates of opposing parties were to speak.

George Forquer was a prominent citizen of Springfield. He had been a Whig, but became a Democrat – possibly to secure the position of Government Land Register from President Andrew Jackson. He had the largest and finest house in the city, and there was a striking addition to it, called a lightning-rod!

Forquer, although not a candidate, asked to be heard for the Democrats, to reply to Lincoln. He was a good speaker, and well known throughout the county. His special task that day was to attack and ridicule the young man from Salem.

Turning to Lincoln, who stood within a few feet of him, he said: “This young man must be taken down, and I am truly sorry that the task devolves upon me.” He then proceeded to attack Lincoln in a very overbearing way, and with an air of great superiority. He was fluent and adept at rough sarcasm. He ridiculed Lincoln’s appearance, dress, and opinions so fiercely that Lincoln’s friends feared the he would be too embarrassed to respond.

Lincoln stood calm, but his flashing eye and pale cheek indicated his indignation. Lincoln took the podium and stated,

“The gentleman commenced his speech by saying that ‘this young man,’ alluding to me, must be taken down. I am not so young in years as I am in the tricks and the trades of a politician, but, live long or die young, I would rather die now than, like the gentleman (pointing to Forquer), change my politics and with the change receive an office worth $3,000 a year. And then, feel obliged to erect a lightning-rod over my house, to protect a guilty conscience from an offended God!”


Lincoln home in Springfield, IL with no lightning rod attached!



This story is a recollection of a speech made by Lincoln in 1836, as told to William Herndon by Lincoln’s long time pal Joshua Speed. From, How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones, by Terry Sprouse.

Awaken the Sleeping Giant Within – The Abe Lincoln Way

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” Abraham Lincoln, 1854.

In 1849, after serving one term as a US Congressman, and with no political prospects, it looked like Lincoln would be relegated to the dust bin of history. He resigned himself to the life of a travelling lawyer (a circuit rider). Although he was extremely good at his job, he probably felt despair that his desire for a life in politics was beyond his reach.

In 1854, Lincoln’s life changed dramatically. Under the guidance of his long-time rival,Senator Stephan Douglas, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, a law which repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and changed the way that slavery was dealt with in the United States. Under the Missouri Compromise, slavery was essentially bottled up and restricted to the 13 southern states.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed slavery to expand into the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska, as well as to any other state, based on a majority vote. Lincoln, and other residents of northern states, were outraged that the evil of slavery could now spread like cancer to other states.

Lincoln was awakened like a sleeping giant. To stop this injustice became Lincoln’s all consuming passion.

“The passage of the bill roused me as never before,” said Lincoln (Letter to Joshua Speed, 1855).

A carefully crafted speech delivered in New York City, in 1860, propelled Lincoln onto the national stage like a hurricane, and established him as a credible Republican candidate for the presidency.

What awakens the sleeping giant in you?

If you can tie your deepest feelings to the thing that you do with your life, then you are following in Lincoln’s footsteps, and your life has true meaning.

My Path

Deep inside, I knew that I was more than just someone doomed to spend my life working an 8:00 to 5:00 job. I felt I had untapped skills and potential to write books and to be a public speaker. I started writing books in 2007, in my spare time, while working my regular job. My big opportunity came when I was laid off from my job, in 2010, and I was able to channel my energies into a writing and speaking career.

Focusing on Abraham Lincoln was an easy choice for me. He had long been a hero for me. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras in 1987, I read Carl Sandberg’s epic book, “Abraham Lincoln.” It was the greatest book I had ever read about the greatest man who had ever lived. It awakened in me the desire to both, become a writer, and to draw closer to Lincoln.

A “Lincoln-ized” Life

I am a short, skinny, balding, hair color enhanced 63-year-old former Peace Corps Volunteer. Abraham Lincoln is a human quote factory. Everything he said is either inspirational, insightful, or funny. Connecting with Abraham Lincoln is the best thing that ever happened to me.

When a radio host asked singer Don McLean, “What is the meaning of your song American Pie?” He replied, “It means that I never have to work again.”

In my case, linking my life with Abraham Lincoln does not mean that I never work again. However, my job is doing what I love most, to help individuals to “Lincoln-ize” their existence. I exhort others to fuse their spirit to that of Lincoln, and in so doing, to live a life filled with passion and purpose.

Coming Presentations:

June 5, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesArizona Society for Professional Hypnosis. Scottsdale Senior Community Center,1700 North Granite Reef Road, Meeting Room 7, Scottsdale, AZ, 6:30 pm.

June 7, 2018, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories,” Tucson Veterans Toastmasters Club, Pima Downtown University Campus, Roosevelt Building, room RV136, Tucson, AZ. Noon to 1:00 PM.

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesPrescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

February 16, 2019. “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Church of the Nazarne in the Village of Oak. Sedona, AZ, 1:30-2:30 pm.

September 20, 2019. “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Tucson Civil War Study Group. Tucson, AZ, 10:00 am.

February 12, 2020. “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Sun City Anthem @ Merrill Ranch in Florence, AZ, 2:00 pm.




Amazon Link


Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Always Say “Yes”

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture

Nourish humor and tell stories, so people say — “I felt like I had known him/her my whole life and we had long been friends.”


The Keys to Success II: The Best is Yet to Come

Amazon Link