The American Spirit Is Defined by Character

Abraham Lincoln Exemplified the American Spirit We Cherish

Take responsibility for the American Spirit our forefathers envisioned.
What Characteristics Do You Believe Best Embody the American Spirit?

There has never been a time in the history of this country when we could all agree on everything. And yet, we could agree that these different viewpoints and the solutions we have manufactured are the foundation of the American Spirit. 

Opposing viewpoints and discussions are the underlying strength which allowed us to reach decisions benefiting the growth and development of this great nation.

We are blessed our American history is filled with men and women whose actions, beliefs, and values have solidified the American Spirit. It guides us in periods of turmoil and indecision.

The 16th President of the United States embodies those character traits necessary to our growth and continued success on the world stage.

What are those character traits? What was it about Abraham Lincoln that continues to inspire us and defines the American Spirit we are searching for today?

1. Honesty

Honesty is a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes. These attributes include integrity, truthfulness, candid behavior, including sincere conduct. It also displays the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.

“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

2. Forgiveness

The intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense. And then, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness or punishment of the offender (however legally or morally justified it might be).

“You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

3.  Compassion is Critical to the True American Spirit

A feeling of sincere sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

“He has a right to criticize, who has the heart to help.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

4. Fairness

The quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination.

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

5. Respectfulness

Full of, characterized by or showing politeness or deference: a respectful reply.

“I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.”  Abraham Lincoln

6. Integrity

Integrity means following your moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching you. Having integrity means you are faithful to your virtues and would do nothing that demeans or dishonors you.

Integrity is the Cornerstone of the American Spirit

7. Perseverance

The continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition: the action or condition or an instance of persevering: steadfastness. It is the continuing thread in the American Spirit, which keeps us moving forward.

“Adhere to your purpose, and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

8. Responsibility

A duty or obligation to satisfactorily perform or complete a task (assigned by someone. Or perform a function created by one’s promise or circumstances. This obligation is one that one must fulfill, and which has a consequent penalty for failure.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

9. Politeness

When the American Spirit is at its best, we exhibit behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people. Sometimes our best choice is to remain silent when confronted by dissenting opinions.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

10. Reliability

The quality of being trustworthy or performing consistently well. The degree to which the result of a measurement, calculation, or specification can be depended on to be accurate.

“Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

11. Values

Important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad, and desirable or undesirable

Others judge our American Spirit based on our values.

12. Self-Discipline

The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

“It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.”  Abraham Lincoln

13. Humility

The quality of humble behavior; modest opinion or the value of one’s importance, rank, etc.

 “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.
My wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” ~Abraham Lincoln

14. Loyalty

A strong feeling of support or allegiance.

 “I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me, and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

15. Optimism

Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. The process of making you feel full of hope or encouraged

16. Inspirational

Making you feel full of hope or supported.

“I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am living witness
that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

17. Trustworthy

A trustworthy person is reliable, responsible, and can be trusted completely.

 “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. In addition, I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

18. Honor Is a Sacred Requirement of the American Spirit

Adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct.

“Let every American, every lover of liberty – every well-wisher to his posterity – swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country. And never to tolerate their violation by others.” ~Abraham Lincoln

19. Authenticity

The quality of being genuine or real.

“I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

20. Kindness

The quality of being generous, helpful, and caring about other people.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

21. Courage

The mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles. ~ Abraham Lincoln

22. Generosity

The quality of being kind and generous.

“The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and generosity.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

23. Conscientiousness

The quality of wishing to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly.

“We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

The American Spirit is the last best hope of earth.

The American Spirit Is What We Make Of It

One thing we can all agree on: Regardless of the conflicts and trials we have faced, our optimism for the future of this great nation has never waivered. We are people of diverse backgrounds and cultures, and yet we consistently adhere to the values that constitute our indomitable American Spirit.

We have been blessed in this country by men and women who embody our ideals of the American Spirit. They have led the way to our growth and success on the world stage in every area of interest.

Lincoln urged those who survived the Civil War to exhibit “increased devotion to that cause for which (others) gave their last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead should not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the face of the earth.”

“Consider the phrase, ‘the American Dream.’ The words themselves reveal something extraordinary. In all the history of man, there has been only one country with the word “dream” attached to it. There is no French Dream or Russian Dream or Chinese Dream. There is only the American dream, to which people worldwide aspire and have aspired since our founding. From 194 countries, people have come to America to pursue this dream.” ~ Edwin J. Feulner

The American Spirit is a commitment to freedom and democracy created by exhibiting the character traits which make us the greatest nation in the world. This is our hope for the future.

Patriotism is part of the American Spirit

Please use the comments to share how you define the core values that make us a great nation.



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2 thoughts on “The American Spirit Is Defined by Character

  1. Julie Watson

    What an amazing human being Abraham Lincoln was and such an inspirational teacher on all the positive human traits that we can embrace. A lovely post which I will share for others to read and take in.

    • He was my great American hero when I was a child. I love his quotes. You’re right, his words are an inspiration to all of us and as relevant today as they were when he first spoke them. Sorry it took me 24 hours to get back to you, but I had to make a quick and unplanned trip to Iowa over the past two days. Thank you, for sharing.

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