By the Homestead Congress
President Barack Obama has many times publicly expressed his admiration for President Abraham Lincoln, whose 200th birthday will be on February 12, 2009. Since Lincoln is the President who signed the Homestead Act into law on May 20, 1862 and the Homestead Congress exists to support the work of Homestead National Monument of America, we thought it might be fun to look at some of the similarities between the two leaders.
- Neither Lincoln nor Obama actually came from Illinois, but rather moved there later in life and eventually became top political leaders in the state.
- Both men were elected to the presidency at relatively young ages. Lincoln was elected at age 51, Obama at 47.
- The two presidents were both raised by women other than their birth mothers. President Lincoln was raised primarily by his stepmother. President Obama spent a great deal of his youth living with his grandmother.
- President Lincoln was considered tall for the age in which he lived, standing six feet, four inches. President Obama is also taller than average, standing six feet, one inch.
- Both men named political rivals to their cabinets after winning election to the presidency. Lincoln placed all three of the other major Republican candidates for the presidential nomination in 1860 into his cabinet: William H. Seward as Secretary of State; Salmon P. Chase as Secretary of the Treasury; and Edwin Bates as Attorney General. In President Obama’s case, he named his major rival for the 2008 Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, as his Secretary of State. Another who sought the Democratic nomination, Senator Joseph Biden, was tapped as Vice President. Interestingly, both Seward and Clinton were Senators from New York before becoming Secretary of State.
- President Obama was sworn into office with his hand on the same Bible on which President Lincoln took the presidential oath.
- President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law; President Obama referenced the Homestead Act several times during his campaign for the presidency.
Do you know of any other similarities between Presidents Lincoln and Obama? If so, post a comment let us know!