Theodore Parker; his role in changing the US.

Essay by borracho151University, Bachelor's April 2003

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Theodore Parker played a large role in changing the mentality of not only his parishioners but also the entire nation. One way in which Parker was able to achieve change is through the profound influence that he had on Abraham Lincoln. Parker's ideas reached Lincoln through the medium of William Herndon, Lincoln's law partner. Articles and sermons made by Parker were sent out to Springfield, Illinois while Lincoln was practicing law after he lost his first race for office. At first, Lincoln admired this man due to their many shared beliefs. From there Lincoln took to implementing some of Parker's ideas on culture and the impending crisis facing the country. In certain instances Lincoln used Parker's words exactly as they were spoken. The first instance of this was perhaps Lincoln's most profound speech of all. It in fact instantly identified an entire party for years. It was Lincoln's usage of the metaphor House Divided. The first usage of this metaphor was used by Parker in an address in 1854 where he said, "There can be no national welfare, without a national unity of action. That cannot take place unless there is a national Unity of Idea in fundamentals. Without this a nation is a house divided against itself, of course it cannot stand." This quote which became so famous for Lincoln was not first documented in one of his speeches until May 18, 1858 when he used it in Edwardsville, Illinois. After this phrase was introduced it took on the power of, "this metaphor of a house divided became probably the single most important image of the relationship between slavery and the Union, and remains so today. It provided an instant mental picture of what Republicans stood for." Lincoln was further influenced to steal another Parker quip; this...