Figures of History
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln will always be remembered as one of the best presidents in the history of the United States. He united a divided country, freed the people, and made friends of his enemies. With all these accomplishments, it is difficult to know that Lincoln actually endured many failures. However, he strove to continue regardless of the circumstances. He lost a few political races, his first girlfriend passed away, his first businesses did not succeed, he lost a family member, he was overlooked and ridiculed by many people for his appearance and demeanor. It is speculated he suffered from melancholy or maybe even depression. Yet, Abraham Lincoln did not let any of these circumstances change his inner beliefs. He was going to do good in this life regardless of the circumstances. And good he did.
“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” – Abraham Lincoln
He succeeded in life by going forward with everything he placed his mind to be. He taught himself law by reading books in his cabin. He learned to be one of the best story tellers of the time and poetry writers. He was liked and adored by many. Even when he was ridiculed by people, those same people were later astonished by the hidden genius inside Lincoln. Among these accomplishments, Lincoln rose to the occasion when the country needed him the most. When civilization was collapsing under the wait of sedition and internal strife, Lincoln accepted the responsibility to unify the country.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading today.” – Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln decided to accomplish the most difficult task at the time. With a Civil War starting, Lincoln took his best team of advisors and mounted strategies to unify the country. To say the least, his advisors, were not his friends. They were rather opponents but Lincoln knew the importance of seeing the world from multiple view points. He made sure to use his advisors to learn strategies and know information to make better points. He left ego at home and decided to work together with his political opponents to make a more perfect union. That is something unheard of in today’s times. Instead of uniting together for our own betterment, we are being harnessed to attack each other. We must learn what Lincoln did.
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” – Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln knew that he needed to unite the country and he did with the help of his cabinet. He freed those that were in bondage and fought for a nation that would honor every life the same. He worked to reconstruct the nation that was damaged from within. He will be remembered as the unifier and restorer of the union among the many great accomplishments he did.
Winston Spencer Churchill
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill
Winston Spencer Churchill was born in November 30, 1874. He was to become the most important, defiant, and mentally strong leader of the Western world for the 20th century. Among the many adjectives that could describe Winston Churchill, being headstrong in a positive way allowed him to defend the liberties of those in the Western world. When Nazi Germany invaded Europe and terrified the world with the enormous signs of destruction, Winston Churchill refused to capitulate. Of all the English leaders in Parliament, Winston Churchill, was the only leader to refuse to sign a treaty with the German leaders. While several English leaders feared Germany and wished to pacify it through forfeiture of sovereignty, Churchill decided to mount a defense to the German might.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill
When most Europe lay crumbling from the attacks of the German armies in World War II, Churchill decided to mount a resistance. He wrote extensively to the United States in favor of getting much needed equipment to defend democracy. He wrote a speech to unite England against the tyranny of the time. He decided to mount soldiers in strategic points to allow time for reinforcements to arrive. To say the least, this will to fight despite all obstacles makes Churchill stand as a defender of Western History.
“Never, never, never, give up.” – Winston Churchill
And what else could we expect from a self-made man. He learned to write, read, and continued to excel at everything he placed his mind to. Churchill was known to write extensively on multiple subjects from the time he acted as a war correspondent, writing about his experiences in his British army service, to his experiences flying airplanes. Winston Churchill enjoyed living and enjoyed breaking limits. We know so much about him due to his extensive writing ability and volumes of information that he would dictate or write himself. He made sure that his ideas were recorded but also made sure to have fun while at it. Such men are able to lead when history calls for it.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
A man of many successes but also of failures. It is impossible to recount the amount of times he was criticized for simply existing. People forgot about him after freeing the Western world from German Nazi destruction. He was often ridiculed by his own party or by the opposition party but he remained calm and collected. When a woman complained that he was a drunkard, Winston quickly quipped, “I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober while you will be ugly.” Such quick wit and mental fortitude shows that no one was allowed to have fun at the expense of Churchill.
“If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
Despite all his supposed eccentricities and peculiarities, Winston Churchill was a leader than united a nation that wanted to fear the enemy. Churchill inspired greatness and fortitude even in the most trying times. His famous speech shows what kind of a man he was. A man that always places one foot in front of the other and continues, no matter the circumstances. A man who did not look to inspire pity or fear but rather unity and cohesion. By resisting World War II Germany, Churchill decided to embrace truth and protect history from being ravaged by evil doctrines. Even after England suffered terrible losses of life through the defense of Europe, it gave time for a nation to come to its rescue and the rest … well here we are speaking English, enjoying a representative democratic republic, with liberties.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
“The true work of art is but the shadow of divine perfection.” – Michelangelo
Michelangelo is considered the quintessential “Renaissance Man”. A person that was a polymath, or individual capable at excelling at multiple subjects through dedication and persistent determination. He had a voracious curiosity that so few channeled into creativity. Michelangelo learned multiple languages, sculpted, painted, served as an architect, and wrote multiple poems among other activities. This example alone shows us what the human potential is capable of achieving if only it is perfected through careful observation and dedication to worthwhile activities.
“There is no greater harm than that of wasted time.” – Michelangelo
Among the many amazing works of art include the David and the Pieta. Among the fascination that these works inspire are the human-like form that Michelangelo was able to create from sight. The Pieta demonstrated a saddened Mary holding on to Jesus’ body after suffering the crucifixion. Both the David and the Pieta show the amount of realism that can exist in art. We can see the divinity of GOD’S creation in the artist’s work.
“Many believe- and I believe that I have been designated for this work by GOD. In spite of my old age, I do not want to give it up; I work out of love for GOD and I put all my hope in Him.” – Michelangelo
Michelangelo was a man of faith who devoted himself to his work. He perfected his craft through countless hours of attempting the same strokes over and over until he painted exactly as his mind imagined his art to be. His level of detail and perfection is rarely seen even in today’s post-modern art which boasts the most amount of materials to produce masterpieces. Michelangelo had a strong calling to do his best at everything that he attempted.
“Genius is eternal patience.” – Michelangelo
Michelangelo took hours upon hours of his days making sure his artwork was in accordance with his mind’s plans. He had to have some form of patience in order to reach what he reached. Painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel must have been no easy feat, yet he was able to accomplish one of art’s best pieces. Michelangelo could be said to have had sheer brilliance in everything he partook, but patience must have been among his greatest virtues along with his humility and faith in GOD.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci
“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was another individual that reflected what it meant to be a “Renaissance Man”. Among the many skills and talents, da Vinci excelled and was an inventor, mathematician, painter, drawer, sculptor, engineer, architect, musician, scientist, writer, historian, cartographer, as well as many others. Leonardo da Vinci was similar to Michelangelo in the level of detail that he ascribed to his paintings.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Among the many works of da Vinci, the Mona Lisa as well as the Last Supper stand out as his most famous works. The Mona Lisa depicts a woman in a serene demeanor that has an ambiguous smile or emotion. The Last Supper depicts Jesus with the twelve apostles the night before the crucifixion was to occur. The amount of detail and realism is astounding and leads the viewer the ask themselves how such art is possible.
“The natural desire of good men is knowledge.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci perfected his art and continued learning. Among the most amazing facts concerning this individual is that he had a notebook containing notes of flying vehicles, tanks, and similar mechanisms of action that could be said to have been inspiration for the planes and tanks we have now. The amount of ingenuity that this man possessed was astounding. This is all during the 15th century. There is something that happens when a person decides to focus on the beauty and innovation of life and maximizes their time.
“Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!” – Leonardo da Vinci
After finding the ability to master multiple topics and lead to beautiful works of art and masterful innovations, da Vinci seems to be a perfect example of the universal genius. He serves as an example of what the human mind is capable of achieving if only it has its sights placed on its goals. He wrote much about the need to act and not only think. He was as much pragmatic as philosophical. The perfect balance existed that led to his abstract ideas becoming visible to everyone around him.
“The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian individual who was a writer and poet. Solzhenitsyn would write freely about what he believed and would send his correspondence to friends. Up until the point when the Soviets took power and opened on of his letters. The clear intrusion of privacy did not register in the minds of the Soviets as it was known that Aleksandr was a writer. Like any group think ideology, the Soviet Communists decided that in order to prevent wrong think or evil ideologies from flourishing (evil as in everything that they, the Soviets, themselves did not believe in), they needed to invade the Aleksandr’s privacy and bring him to social justice.
“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
After having his letter stolen and taken into the Soviet court, Aleksandr was charged with writing against the Communist government. He was sentenced to confinement and taken to multiple locations. It was there that he found out what the reality of Communist was. He made it his mission to find out the most he could from the people’s own mouths concerning the government. He found out at the reality was worse than he thought. People were silenced, tortured, used, abused, hated, envied, destroyed, all for the sake of unlimited power. Neighbor hated neighbor and soldiers used their power to get what they wanted.
“Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually also recognize the voice of conscience.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
As he continued to live under the terrible management of the government, Aleksandr learned to understand those compatriots who had suffered the same fate. They all specified how they were lied to and how they never understood why. Aleksandr understood that the government was using lies as the only method of suppressing the truth. To the outside world, Russia was seen as a strong force, but inside the country, people were suffering. Many people were sent to labor camps where they worked for no pay and only a stingy meal. All was not well in the Soviet Union.
“For us in Russia, communism is a dead dog, while, for many in the West it is still a living lion.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Russians living in the Soviet Union knew what their truth was. They knew that it was a cannibal like led government that survived by eating its own citizens. Russians knew that in their day to day lives. Only the West was unaware of the reality of the roaring Bear. It is many years later and yet we see the influence that such a dangerous ideology leads many astray. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was able to speak the truth and was able to write the reality he lived in. For that, the West, should be greatful for the truth expressed by Solzhenitsyn.
Anne Marie Frank
“I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!” – Anne Marie Frank
Anne Marie Frank was a young girl born in Germany that lived in the Netherlands during the occupation of the German forces. Her family lived some of the worst times in history as they were persecuted for their Jewish ancestry. With intelligence and bravery, the Frank Family was able to hide from the German soldiers for as long as they could. For about two years, they survived by living in a hiding place behind bookshelves in Anne’s father’s workplace.
“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” – Anne Marie Frank
To think of the horrors that any individual had to endure simply for the fact of being Jewish is beyond terrifying. Worse was the fact that innocent children were attacked as well. Anne Frank was an example of individuals who were not allowed to continue during the bloodthirsty reign of the German Nazis. Such examples should serve as a form of truth to the deceitful nature of ideologies. Anne Frank did the best she could by writing in her journal everything she saw. From the interactions of her family members up to the sounds and noises that caused pain for the fear of discovery.
“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” – Anne Marie Frank
Anne Frank wanted to be someone great. She did, in fact, manage to become great. She opened our eyes to the destructive nature of mankind, but also to the gentleness and divine nature of those that carry goodness in their lives. Anne Frank described in her writings that she thought that even after all the evil that the German Nazis had decided to partake, she believed in the goodness of the human spirit. She also wanted to be a great journalist and wanted to be great. She accomplished that and much more.
“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” – Anne Marie Frank
Anne Frank’s story should serve as a reminder to what happens when we dehumanize our adversaries or perceived adversaries. We should always think that even in the worst of disagreements, we should respect each other and care about each other. Even if words offend, actions should never lead us to perdition. Anne Frank’s story is very dear since I watched a play when I was in eight grade and I remember the sadness of every moment when the Frank family saw or heard German footsteps in their hiding place. No one should have to live like that. No one should be treated as less than human and yet it happens in the current world we live in. We need to take lessons from Anne Frank, the fourteen year old girl, that was able to teach the world that no matter how much evil in the world exists, the goodness of people is much greater.
“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” – Anne Marie Frank
Viktor E. Frankl
“He who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how.” – Viktor E. Frankl
One of the mentally strongest men of history. This individual was wronged multiple times by a society that felt the need to embrace national socialism and fascism and yet continued to survive and thrive. Amid all the odds of life, Dr. Frankl was able to muster the strength to resist any or all of the insults, injuries, hatred, and group think that was set against him. His story should be a great example of the perils of following the group for the sake of following the group and the importance of individual will to liberty, self-determination, and a firm belief in GOD.
“Decisions, not conditions, determine what a man is.” – Viktor E. Frankl
Viktor E. Frankl was taken by the German Nazi soldiers who embraced nationalist socialism. They worked together to ascribe all their ills on a common enemy. This illogical hatred was used as fuel to continue the assault on individuals that did not share the Nazi beliefs or their appearance or bloodline. Yet, no one rose up and spoke out against the onslaught of precious human life. There was rarely any dissidents because they would feel the fury of the evil empire. So great was the fear of people of Germany that even prominent English politicians feared from afar. They would have rather capitulated to the growing strength of the hateful yoke than speak against it. Only a sane English individual by the name of Winston Spencer Churchill believed on the need to defend life from death and to show strength where weakness abounded.
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by the lack of meaning and purpose.” Viktor E. Frankl
Through the organization of oratory and lies, did the empire gain strength. Attacking and destroying human life that they deemed different from themselves. Jewish individuals were taken into captivity and destroyed in a show of force that can only be described as unrestricted hatred and a dedication to the eradication of human life. While these changes occurred, few individuals dared to challenge the authority that was demonstrating unrestrained destruction. Qeue Viktor E. Frankl. The individual who demonstrated in his recollections, “Man’s Search For Meaning,” just how vicious and cruel ideologies can be. While suffering from the unfair captivity of Nazis, Viktor E. Frankl was able to take all the abuse, all the suffering that he was witnessing, and demonstrate a stoic nature so few could muster under those circumstances. Rather than lose his will to live as many did in the concentration camps, Frankl must have thought, “He that has a why can bear any how.” He continued regardless of the circumstances and regardless of everything that he had endured.
“Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her own life.” Viktor E. Frankl
Although he was publically ridiculed and beaten, he continued showing that he was in control of his own destiny. Even in the worst circumstances he demonstrated that no one was to take the sovereignty that he was endowed with. He alone defied the order that he was living in from within. Even after being accused and whose life was changed drastically, he continued on as if nothing changed. He placed himself in a mentality where he was able to withstand any insult, any hurt, any problem, because he was more than the circumstances. He was more than his enemies. He was much more than all of these combined. His book gives so much hope to humanity as a whole. Yet, his living example of strength and high courage shows us what it means to have peace of mind and character even in the midst of a world that wants to embrace cruelty and hatred.