Today is President’s Day—a day off of work for some, a day to reflect on our 44 Commanders-in-Chief for all. If nothing else, it helps give us some perspective when we think back on decisions that our Presidents have had to make. Economic policy, judicial appointments, and whether or not to go to war make the problems most other people face in their daily lives pale in comparison. So it is fitting that we set aside a day to appreciate the 44 men who have made those difficult decisions for 222 years.
For me, the wisest President was the one who faced the most serious crisis in our nation’s history. Abraham Lincoln had to decide how to preserve the Constitution and the union it established. Before he was President, Lincoln was a lawyer. Next to the Gettysburg Address, perhaps his most famous dictum was this, from his days practicing law:
In Lincoln’s day, lawyers were held in high esteem. Today, we are more often the butt of derisive jokes. If more lawyers paid heed to Honest Abe’s advice, we might regain the respect that our learned profession formerly deserved.