Lincoln and Euclid Elements...

5fish

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Did you know Lincoln was a self taught mathematician in Euclid's Geometry...

The Elements” of Euclid taught Abraham Lincoln the art of reason and logic, which he used as a power tool throughout his life, to win cases in court, to debate against slavery and to guide our country through the civil war

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When Abraham Lincoln debated slavery against Stephen Douglas in 1858, Douglas gave a long list of reasons why slavery was justified. But following Euclid, Lincoln made his most powerful argument by starting from the most basic ideas, by going back to the postulates of morality.
Lincoln asked Douglas: “Are you a Christian?” Douglas replied, “Yes.” Lincoln asked, “Do you know and practice the Golden Rule?” Douglas replied, “Of course: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Then Lincoln asked one simple question: “Would you like to be a slave?”


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"He studied and nearly mastered the Six-books of Euclid (geometry) since he was a member of Congress. He began a course of rigid mental discipline with the intent to improve his faculties, especially his powers of logic and language. Hence his fondness for Euclid, which he carried with him on the circuit till he could demonstrate with ease all the propositions in the six books; often studying far into the night, with a candle near his pillow, while his fellow-lawyers, half a dozen in a room, filled the air with interminable snoring." Abraham Lincoln from Short Autobiography of 1860.

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"Euclid wrote thirteen books," says Dan Van Haften, co-author of Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason. "The first six books covered plane geometry," Van Haften says, "and that's what Lincoln studied."

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Van Haften's book, written with David Hirsch, isn't the first to prove Lincoln's fascination with Euclidean geometry. But it is the first to draw a direct connection to how Lincoln used Euclid in his Cooper's Union Address, the Gettysburg Address, and other speeches pivotal to his career -- and the nation

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they have a copy of Proclus's commentaries on Euclid. And on page 159, it says that a proposition, if it has all its parts, has six elements -- an enunciation, exposition, specification, a construction, proof and conclusion."
 

5fish

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Here a good article... about Lincoln lessons from Euclid... its a great little short article... from Lincoln thoughts on Euclid...


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Lincoln wrote about why he decided to study Euclid:

In the course of my law reading I constantly came upon the word “demonstrate”. I thought at first that I understood its meaning, but soon became satisfied that I did not. I said to myself, What do I do when I demonstrate more than when I reason or prove? How does demonstration differ from any other proof? I consulted Webster’s Dictionary. They told of ‘certain proof,’ ‘proof beyond the possibility of doubt’; but I could form no idea of what sort of proof that was. I thought a great many things were proved beyond the possibility of doubt, without recourse to any such extraordinary process of reasoning as I understood demonstration to be. I consulted all the dictionaries and books of reference I could find, but with no better results. You might as well have defined blue to a blind man.

At last I said,- Lincoln, you never can make a lawyer if you do not understand what demonstrate means; and I left my situation in Springfield, went home to my father’s house, and stayed there till I could give any proposition in the six books of Euclid at sight. I then found out what demonstrate means, and went back to my law studies
 
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