Opinion | Every Illinois citizen must know about Lincoln


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Lincoln Memorial rests peacefully on the morning of Oct. 8, 2006. Columnist Noah argues all Illinoisians should know about Abraham Lincoln.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Since joining the Union in 1818, Illinois has grown into one of the most fascinating states in the country.

Mostly known for Chicago, Illinois offers so much more to its citizens and visitors outside the nation’s third-largest city. Popular state historical sites include the first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, the birthplace of Raggedy Ann and Andy in Arcola, Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois and the Superman statue in downstate Metropolis.

Illinois is also known for its famous residents too, like Roger Ebert, Miles Davis, John Deere, Walt Disney, Betty Ford, Richard Pryor, Melissa McCarthy and Jim and John Belushi. But one man, who appears all over the state in some form or fashion, takes the reins as the state’s most notable citizen: Abraham Lincoln.

With the state moniker “The Land of Lincoln,” the nation’s sixteenth president is one of the most important figures of Illinois and American history. With that, every Illinois citizen must know about Lincoln’s life in some way.

To Illinoisians who know more about Lincoln than the average person and those who don’t know much about him at all, Illinois is a great place to start learning about “Honest Abe.” There are popular sites like his home, law office, tomb and presidential museum in Springfield.

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    Even in small towns, especially across central Illinois, there is some plaque or location commemorating Lincoln’s time to that particular town. Whether he gave a stump speech or worked on a law case, most Illinois towns have Lincoln’s life well documented. It’s surprising that not a single one of them has something documenting a bathroom break or a drink after a long day on the judicial circuit.

    Nevertheless, it’s also surprising and quite shocking to discover countless Illinoisians don’t know much about Lincoln’s life besides the fact that he served as president during the Civil War. Quite honestly, it’s a little sad. Why would anyone not want to learn more about the life of Illinois’s greatest citizen? You don’t have to learn every detail, but a good basic outline would suffice.

    Other states have their most well-known citizens too: George Washington in Virginia, Mark Twain in Missouri, Dolly Parton in Tennessee and Elvis Presley in Mississippi. It’s safe to say many of those states’ populations don’t know about their most popular citizens either.

    Whether you are in the Windy City, downstate Cairo, Danville, Quincy or anywhere in between, you must know who Lincoln was. He’s one of the most prominent figures to ever walk the planet and Illinois is proud to call him its son. Illinois residents should appreciate Lincoln and know more about him. He’s in large part why Illinois is a great state to visit and an even better place to live.

    Noah is a junior in the College of Media.

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