Open main menu

Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/55

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.




It was Abraham Lincoln's speaking which made him the President of the United States. His first speech when he was twenty-three years old raised him out of the ranks of day-laborers in his tiny town. Later his speeches sent him to the state legislature, to Congress, and to the White House, and pointed out the path which this nation followed and is still following, although Lincoln has been in his grave for more than half a century.

How did he do it? How did this awkward, poor, uneducated man, with a bad speaking voice which often broke, make himself the greatest orator of his day? How did he deliver the Gettysburg Address, "which will live until languages are dead and lips are dust"? His methods are plain and simple. Every boy and every man, by following them, can make himself a speaker, and add to his influence with men. Here are some of Lincoln's rules for oratory:

Don't shoot too high. Aim low and the common people will understand you. They are the ones you want to reach — at least they are the ones you ought to reach. The educated and refined people will under-