Lincoln Heritage Museum remains open for normal operating hours (Tuesday-Friday 9 am to 4 pm and Saturday 1 pm to 4 pm), despite the closure of Lincoln College in May of 2022.



Courage – bravely standing for what is right in the face of opposition and personal fears

Examples of Lincoln’s Courage


  • Despite any deficiencies his bravery to pursue unknown opportunities such as a new communities and the study of law

  • His unpopular decision to enter a protest against slavery as a state legislator
  • His resolve and courage in pursuing the Emancipation Proclamation, even with the risks involved and the many critics encouraging him to retract it
  • His invitation for the nation to consider giving Blacks the right to vote

Abraham Lincoln Quotations Regarding Courage


  • “I expect to maintain this contest until successful, or till I die, or am conquered, or my term expires, or Congress or the country forsakes me…” – Abraham Lincoln in a letter to his secretary of state, William Seward, June 28, 1862

  • “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.” – Abraham Lincoln in his Message to Congress, December 1, 1862
  • “I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper. And my whole soul is in it.” – Abraham Lincoln to William Seward in signing the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863




Stories of Lincoln’s Courage



While showing goods to two or three women in Offutt’s store one day, a bully came in and began to talk in an offensive manner, using much profanity, and evidently wishing to provoke a quarrel. Lincoln leaned over the counter, and begged him, as ladies were present, not to indulge in such talk. The bully retorted that the opportunity had come for which he had long sought, and he would like to see the man who could hinder him from saying anything he might choose to say. Lincoln, still cool, told him that if he would wait until the ladies had retired he would hear what he had to say, and give him any satisfaction he desired.

As soon as the women were gone, the man became furious. Lincoln heard his boasts and abuse for a time, and, finding he was not to be put off without a fight, said: “Well, if you must be whipped, I suppose I may as well whip you as any other man.” This was just what the bully had been seeking, he said, so out of doors they went, and Lincoln made short work of him. He threw him upon the ground, held him there as if he had been a child, and gathering some “smartweed” which grew upon the spot, rubbed it into his face and eyes, until the fellow bellowed with pain. Lincoln did all this without a particle of anger, and, when the job was finished, went immediately for water, washed his victim’s face, and did everything he could to alleviate his distress. The upshot of the matter was that the man became his fast and lifelong friend, and was a better man from that day. It was impossible then, and it always remained, for Lincoln to cherish resentment and revenge.

From Lincoln’s Life, Stories and Speeches by Paul Selby



There lived, at the time young Lincoln resided at New Salem, Ill., in and around the village, a band of rollicking fellows, or, more properly, roistering rowdies, known as the “Clary’s Grove Boys.” The special tie that united them was physical courage and prowess. These fellows, although they embraced in their number many men who have since become respectable and influential, were wild and rough beyond toleration in any community not made up like that which produced them. They pretended to be “regulators,” and were the terror of all who did not acknowledge their rule; and their mode of securing allegiance was by flogging every man who failed to acknowledge it.

They took it upon themselves to try the mettle of every new-comer, and to learn the sort of stuff he was made of. Some of their number was appointed to fight, wrestle, or run a foot-race with each incoming stranger. Of course, Abraham Lincoln was obliged to pass the ordeal.  Perceiving that he was a man who would not easily be floored, they selected their champion, Jack Armstrong, and imposed upon him the task of laying Lincoln upon his back.

There is no evidence that Lincoln was an unwilling party to the sport, for it was what he had always been accustomed to. The bout was entered upon, but Armstrong soon discovered that he had met more than his match.  The boys were looking on, and seeing that their champion was likely to get the worst of it, did after the manner of such irresponsible bands. They gathered around Lincoln, struck and disabled him, and then Armstrong, by “legging” him, got him down.

Most men would have been indignant, not to say furiously angry, under such foui treatment as this; but if Lincoln was either, he did not show it. Getting up in perfect good humor, he fell to laughing over his discomfiture, and joking about it. They had all calculated on making him angry, and they intended, with thj amiable spirit which characterized the “Clary’s Grove Boys,” to give him a terrible drubbing. They were disappointed, and, in their admiration of him, immediately invited him to become one of the company.

From Lincoln’s Life, Stories and Speeches by Paul Selby



As an Illinois state legislator, the young Representative Abraham Lincoln, on the 3d of March, 1837, began that series of anti-slavery measures which were ended and consummated in the Proclamation of Emancipation and the Amendment to the Constitution abolishing and prohibiting slavery forever throughout the Republic. At this time it required courage to speak or write against slavery. Resolutions of a violent pro-slavery character, and denunciatory of ” abolitionists ” and all efforts to abolish and restrict slavery, were carried through the Legislature by overwhelming majorities. The people of Illinois, at that time, were made up largely of emigrants from the slave States, and were filled with the prejudices of that section, and the feeling against anti-slavery men was violent, and almost universal. There then existed in Illinois a body of laws against negroes, called “The Black Code,” of most revolting cruelty and severity.

Under these circumstances Lincoln jeopardized his popularity by drawing up and signing a solemn protest against these resolutions. But among all the members of the house, over one hundred in number, he found only one who had the courage to join him.

Abraham Lincoln and Dan Stone were the only ones who had the nerve to express and record their protest against the injustice of slavery. This protest, qualified as it was, to meet, if possible, the temper of the times, declared that slavery is founded on injustice and bad policy.

The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Isaac N. Arnold, page 50



How woefully the friends had exaggerated the power of such a proclamation as they prayed the President to issue, is well shown in the reminiscences of Moncure D. Conway, published on August 3oth, in which he tells of the interview between the President, Senator Williams, Wendell Phillips, himself (Conway) and others, which occurred on the 24th of January, 1863.

The object of this delegation was to complain of the failure of the Emancipation Proclamation, and Mr. Phillips, as its spokesman, hinted that “the Northern people, now generally antislavery, were not satisfied that it was being honestly carried out by the nation’s agents and generals in the South.” The President said he “had not expected much from it at first, and, consequently, had not been disappointed,” and gave it as his impression that “the masses of the country generally are only dissatisfied at our lack of military successes.” He did not hesitate in the course of the interview with these distinguished men to say that “most of us here present have been nearly all our lives working in minorities and many have got into a habit of being dissatisfied;” and when this conclusion was deprecated, he added: “At any rate, it has been very rare that an opportunity of running this Administration has been lost.” And when Mr. Phillips patronizingly said: “If we see this Administration earnestly working to free the country from slavery and its rebellion, we will show you how we can run it in another four years of power,” to which, possibly remembering Mr. Phillips’s description of him as a mosaic, and a “man who had never walked a straight line in his life,” Mr. Lincoln said: “Oh, Mr. Phillips, I have ceased to have any personal feelings or expectation in that matter—I don’t say I never had any—so abused and borne upon as I have been;” and Mr. Conway tells us that his last utterance to the delegation as it left him was: “I must bear this load which the country has entrusted to me as well as I can, and do my best.”

Lincoln and Stanton, William D. Kelley, M.C., Appendix, page 87



The roll containing the Emancipation Proclamation was taken to Mr. Lincoln at noon on the first day of January, 1863, by Secretary Seward and his son Frederick. As it lay unrolled before him, Mr. Lincoln took a pen, dipped it in the ink, moved his hand to the place for the signature, held it a moment, then removed his hand and dropped the pen. After a little hesitation he again took up the pen and went through the same movement as before. Mr. Lincoln then turned to Mr. Seward, and said:

“I have been shaking hands since nine o’clock this morning, and my right arm is almost paralyzed. If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it. If my hand trembles when I sign the Proclamation, all who examine the document hereafter will say, ‘He hesitated.'”

He then turned to the table, took up the pen again, and slowly, firmly wrote “Abraham Lincoln,” with which the whole world is now familiar. He then looked up, smiled, and said, “That will do!”

From Lincoln’s Life, Stories and Speeches by Paul Selby



The following incident, remarkable for its significant facts, is related by Mr. Carpenter, the artist:

“Mr. Chase,” said Mr. Carpenter, “told me that at the Cabinet meeting immediately after the battle of Antietam and just prior to the issue of the Proclamation, the President entered upon the business before them, saying:

“‘The time for the annunciation of the emancipation proclamation could be no longer delayed. Public sentiment would sustain it—many of his warmest friends and supporters demanded it—and he had promised his God he would do it!’

“The last part of this was uttered in a low tone, and appeared to be heard by no one but Secretary Chase, who was sitting near him. He asked the President if he correctly understood him. Mr. Lincoln replied:

“‘I made a solemn vow before God that if General Lee was driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the Declaration of freedom to the slaves.’

“In February, 1865, a few days after the constitutional amendment, I went to Washington and was received by Mr. Lincoln with the kindness and familiarity which had characterized our previous intercourse.

“I said to him at this time that I was very proud to have been the artist to have first conceived the design of painting a picture commemorative of the Act of the Emancipation; that subsequent occurrences had only confirmed my first judgment of that act as the most sublime moral event in our history.

“‘Yes,’ said he—and never do I remember to have noticed in him more earnestness of expression or manner—’as affairs have turned, it is the central act of my administration, and the great event of the nineteenth century.’ ”

From Lincoln’s Life, Stories and Speeches by Paul Selby