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What does this quote by Abraham Lincoln mean: "If friendship is your weakest point,...

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jaseleeynn | Honors

Posted June 22, 2012 at 4:23 AM via web

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What does this quote by Abraham Lincoln mean: "If friendship is your weakest point, then you are the strongest person in this world."?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 22, 2012 at 5:03 AM (Answer #1)

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It is always difficult to analyze a famous quote when taken out of context, and this quote by Abraham Lincoln is certainly no exception. 

Lincoln's quote begins by addressing friendship; Lincoln values friendship, but also recognizes the importance of being your own person.  So how can friendship as a weak point relate to strength?  Friends are a valuable resource.  Perhaps the key to understanding this quote lies in yet another pearl of wisdom from our sixteenth president.  In another quote, Lincoln says:

"I am thankful to all those who said 'no' to me. It's because of them I did it myself."

With this thought in mind, friendship may seem like a detriment to building personal fortitude and strength; going alone and depending solely on one's own merits builds immense character. 
If friendship was a person's weakest point, that person would probably not have very many friends to support and encourage them; he or she would have to be incredibly independent and strong. 

As a self-made man, Lincoln would certainly appreciate the importance of self-reliance. 

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