What was significant about Abraham Lincoln's Temperance speech? 

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This speech, given nearly a quarter century before Lincoln would become president of the United States, is interesting in the sense that it exemplifies many of the things about Lincoln that will catapult him into the national spotlight later on.  That is to say, Lincoln's letters, speeches and other documents always reflected his sense of humor, and his sense of human dignity, as well as his thoughtful use of logic and reason, acknowledgement of human spirituality, respect for the law, and knowledge of the Bible.  His rhetoric was often peppered with Biblical and literary allusions, and while he was a shrewd politician, character always informed his words to a much greater extent than politics.  As always, his voice in the discussion of temperance was a voice of reason and moderation rather than personal attack and division, a precursor to the stunning (to some) plans he would later articulate to simply send all the soldiers, even the Confederates, home to their families at the conclusion of the Civil War:  "With malice toward none, with charity toward all", he would say before his death ended his plans for a merciful Reconstruction of the North and South.

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