Stories of Kindness from Around the World

If Only President Lincoln Had Some Smile Cards...


--by TheakstonCat, posted Oct 26, 2008

Before he became president, Abraham Lincoln spent twenty years as an unsuccessful Illinois lawyer -- at least he was unsuccessful in financial terms. But when you measure the good he did, he was very rich indeed. Legends are often untrue, but Lincoln was the real thing. During his years as a lawyer, there were hundreds of documented examples of his kindness, honesty and decency.

For example, Lincoln didn't like to charge people much who were as poor as he was. Once a man sent him twenty-five dollars, but Lincoln sent him back ten of it, saying he was being too generous. He was known at times to convince his clients to settle their issue out of court, saving them a lot of money and earning himself nothing.

An old woman in dire poverty, the widow of a Revolutionary soldier, was charged $200 for getting her $400 pension. Lincoln sued the pension agent and won the case for the old woman. He didn't charge her for his services and, in fact, paid her hotel bill and gave her money to buy a ticket home!

He and his associate once prevented a con man from gaining possession of a tract of land owned by a mentally ill girl. The case took fifteen minutes. Lincoln's associate came to divide up their fee, but Lincoln reprimanded him. His associate argued that the girl's brother had agreed on the fee ahead of time, and he was completely satisfied. "That may be," said Lincoln, "but I am not satisfied. That money comes out of the pocket of a poor, demented girl; and I would rather starve than swindle her in this manner. You return half the money at least, or I'll not take a cent of it as my share."

Kindness and honesty  makes you feel good about yourself and creates trust in others. It improves your relationship with yourself and with others. It's not much in fashion these days to talk about the benefits of kindness, honesty and decency, but the benefits are there and they are valuable and worth the trouble.

Lincoln didn't talk much about religion, even with his best friends, and he didn't belong to any church. But he once confided to a friend that his religious code was the same as an old man he knew in Indiana , who said,  "When I do good, I feel good, and when I do bad, I feel bad, and that's my religion."

I think I know exactly what he meant! And I think he would have gotten through a lot of smile cards.

(With thanks to Sree at Heartgraphs for the information)

 ...small acts - big differences...

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Readers Comments

Lisa Yarger wrote: My grandfather john was born to sarah lincoln(eldridge). I just want people to know that the kindness of the lincoln family goes on to this day. We are still raising our families to give back and the majority of us are still poor. My grandfather was a foster father who took care of 243 children in the depression era and he attended every one of their high school graduations. I am proud to have such a legacy in my family tree!
kate wrote: I have never read any of those stories about lincoln so thank you for sharing them. I particularly like the response that shared the definition of any man's religion "whose dog and cat are better for it" - paraphrased here, but i got the gist of it, and it's a good thought. Thank you for the post.
Kay wrote: "when i do good, i feel good, and when i do bad, i feel bad, and that's my religion. "
Great line for a great quote from a one of the kindest, greatest us presidents.

I am going to be using this one for a while. That is my religion too. :):)
Excellent post.
Kay wrote: "when i do good, i feel good, and when i do bad, i feel bad, and that's my religion. "
Great line for a great quote from a one of the kindest, greatest us presidents.

I am going to be using this one for a while. That is my religion too. :):)
Excellent post.
myfbil wrote: Lincoln is a very big and important part of my life. Thank you for sharing this with us. :)
Mark wrote: Very selfless. I always take the time to read about lincoln. Thank you
WE LOVE MR. FUNK wrote: I love the top hat it is so big :) yayyyyyyyy hahahahahaha
we love mrs paul wrote: We love this tall dude w. The hat (: uhmmm yeahh teehee (:
brighteyes wrote: He's my favorite president too.


Thanks for the researched material on his kindnesses. And never give up hope that another president may soon walk in his shoes. And make a huge difference not only in ud but worldwide!


May god bless you, lincoln & us all!

Brighteyes ;)


Alibaba wrote: I am muslim but love the religion abraham lincoln the religion of kindness and commitment with the judment principles are the guidelines for generation to generation to reborn with refine ideals and history revolves in 360 degree.

Stay safe obama.

I must salute abraham is the realm of

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