Abraham Lincoln was a Christian

When Barack Obama announced his intention to become the 44th President of the United States two years ago in Springfield, Illinois, he did so under the sign of the man who had preceded him from the same place in 1861 to the highest office. He spoke in front of the main portal of the venerable parliament building in which Abraham Lincoln had once warned the nation divided over slavery that a divided house could not exist. Today marks the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

The heavy mantle of history that Obama put on at the beginning of his campaign was apparently easily carried to Washington. He did not defend himself against the biographical comparisons that America in need of salvation soon drew: Both Lincoln and Obama grew up in humble circumstances and chose Illinois as their home, both worked as lawyers, were praised for their brilliant speech and were viewed with skepticism about political issues Inexperience.

Both came into office in - albeit very different - crises. Again and again in the election campaign Obama quoted the 16th President, who according to various polls and rankings is America's greatest, and called him his "inspiration".

And he tried to illustrate the historical alliance. Like Lincoln, he took the inauguration train to Washington. During the oath of office, he placed his left hand on the same Bible, bound in wine-red velvet, which his model had touched 148 years ago. Even the inauguration menu was based on Lincoln's favorite food, roasted duck and sweet mashed potatoes.

With Hillary Clinton, Obama made his fiercest rival from the primary election for Secretary of State - and thus followed Lincoln's example, who had involved William H. Seward in the same way; like Clinton, Seward was a Senator for New York State.

Now it is not surprising that presidents refer to Lincoln and his wondrous, at the same time, all-American way of life, which led him from a windowless log cabin on the frontier in Kentucky (see article below) to the White House, where he became the second founder of the republic and, assassinated at the end of the war, her first martyr. "All presidents think of Lincoln," wrote historian Douglas Brinkley, "because no matter how difficult it is, Lincoln had it harder."

Is what Obama is now staging also hubris? Or is it a homage? More on this on the next page.