Abraham Lincoln and the One-Armed Man


  • ·         I don’t know the name of the One-Armed Man. I’d love to be able to tell you his whole story. Maybe someday I’ll find the information.
  •       Did you hear the sound of the wind right before I referenced “rumble and roar”? Interesting coincidence of sound, word, and meaning. A brush of spirit, perhaps.
  •       The story of the One-Armed Man comes from a book entitled “The Gettysburg Gospel” by Gabor Boritt. It’s about the ceremony, Lincoln’s speech, and the entire day. Excellent book.
  • ·         In case I didn’t mention it in the video, it’s a Thursday when Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.
  • ·         I think days of the weeks are important in historical events, don’t you? Think about it. In our lives in the 21st century, it’s definitely different for something to happen on a Friday as compared to Monday. I suspect there were differences in the days during previous centuries.
  • ·         Here are the fundamental blocks within my concept of Bonded Communication—a) it is built on the relational, the relationship between the leader and follower; b) it is two-way, give-and-take, reciprocal; c) it is rooted in an event-place that means something to both the leader and follower; and d) it shows a higher or transcendent meaning for that event-place.
  • ·         Leaders communicate. But that’s not enough. Leaders of consequence engage in bonded communication when it is important to do so. Thus, to be a leader of consequence you need to know bonded communication and its appropriate usage.
  • ·         Just remember that Lincoln could have chosen to say anything in his Gettysburg Address. His actual speech is a result of his choice.
  • ·         Speaking of choice, Lincoln chose to add two words to his speech before delivering it to the crowd. He added the words “under God.” He may have added them in his room before leaving for the cemetery. I think it’s more likely he added them while on the speaker’s platform as he listened to Edward Everett.
  • ·         I use two pairs of photographs in my new session on Lincoln and the One-Armed Man. Both photos were of the ceremony yet were only discovered in 2007. They almost make you feel like you’re there.
  • ·         I think it changes the nature of the Gettysburg Address when you think of it from the perspective of the One-Armed Man. I guess it’s the same as saying that it changes history to adopt the viewpoint of the One-Armed Man. Too often we think of the Gettysburg Address as having connections to Lincoln and the nation alone. Note the nature of that phrase “…Lincoln and the nation alone.” Too much of our history, our historical understanding, and our approach to history itself ignores the role of people like you and me. We concentrate too much on the Big Leader and the Big Group. There’s a lot of great stuff in between, just like the One-Armed Man.
  • ·         In my new session on Lincoln and the One-Armed Man I tell the story of what happened to Lincoln on his way to Gettysburg. He has a communication and leadership mishap at the train depot of Hanover, Pennsylvania. It’s been fascinating for me to listen to my alumni wrestle over the Hanover incident. You’d love to be part of it, too, I suspect. And here’s your chance–go to Activities elsewhere on this website and click on Challenge Your Thinking. Looking forward to your thoughts!
  •       I shot the video about a half-mile behind the home of my eldest neice and her husband. The railroad line runs south of their property. Big thanks to Libby and Mike Manship.
  • ·         We know about the One-Armed Man because a newspaper reporter stood next to him. The reporter observed his reactions to the Gettysburg Address.
  • ·         What do you think the One-Armed Man would say about church-state relations in the American experience?
  • ·         The Gettysburg Address is generally considered one of Lincoln’s two best speeches from the Civil War. Do you know what the other is?