Gerard Vanderleun remembers Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address for the truly great speech that it was.
Many of the people commenting at Vanderleun's blog think ill of Lincoln because of the executive power that he sometimes wielded cavalierly, but Lincoln was hardly the first or last American president to think in terms of ends justifying questionable means.
I believe that George Washington was a better man and a better president, but Abraham Lincoln deserves his almost-always-stratospheric place in any conversation about great Americans. One of the things that made Lincoln great was his carefully cultivated willingness to speak and write as often as practical within the ambit of first principles. Vision matters, and Lincoln had vision. He was a leader rather than a manager.