Lincoln tried love and left for all history a magnificent drama of reconciliation. When he was campaigning for the presidency one of his arch-enemies was a man named Stanton. For some reason Stanton hated Lincoln. He used every ounce of his energy to degrade him in the eyes of the public. So deep rooted was Stanton’s hate for Lincoln that he uttered unkind words about his physical appearance and sought to embarrass him at every point with the bitterest diatribes. But in spite of this Lincoln was elected president of the United States.
Then came the period when he had to select his cabinet, which would consist of the persons who would be his most intimate associates in implementing his program. He started choosing men here and there for the various secretary ships. The day finally came for Lincoln to select the man to fill the all important post of Secretary of War. Can you imagine whom Lincoln chose to fill this post? None other than the man named Stanton.
There was an immediate uproar in the inner circle when the news began to spread. Advisor after advisor was heard saying,” Mr. President, you are making a mistake. Do you know this man Stanton? Are you familiar with all of the ugly things he said about you? He is your enemy. He will seek to sabotage your program. Have you thought this through Mr. President? Mr. Lincoln’s answer was terse and to the point: “Yes, I know Mr. Stanton. I am aware of all the terrible things he has said about me. But after looking over the nation, I find he is the best man for the job.”
Stanton became Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war and rendered an invaluable service to his nation and his president.
Through the power of love Lincoln transformed an enemy into a friend.
It was this same attitude that made it possible for Lincoln to speak a kind word about the South during the Civil War when feeling was most bitter. Asked by a shocked bystander how he could do this, Lincoln said, “ Madam, do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?