“Can one man really change the world?” the young senator from Illinois was asked. He was comparatively unknown and he had only served one term in the Senate. He had defeated nominees far more experienced and renowned in his run for the Presidency. But his great oratory and ability to sense the mood of the times had won hearts and minds to his great cause for change. His memorable inauguration speech gave his intention to do just that; to change a nation when he said, “A House divided against itself cannot stand”. This of course was Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the only other senator from Illinois to be elected to the Presidency. He was referring to an America that was half-slave and half free and it was his proclamation of emancipation for black slaves 150 years ago that commenced the long and circuitous road to the election of the first Black President of the United States.
The views expressed in this D’var Torah do not necessarily reflect the position of Leo Baeck College.