I have to agree with joefromchicago that the Lincoln sketch is biased almost beyond belief. And the only reason I qualify that with an 'almost' is because one does have to consider the source. That said, Lincoln was far from the paragon of virtue which the secondary school level textbooks would have him be. There is so much nonsense in those textbooks, anyway, it's a wonder any of us learn anything accurate about American history.
I seem to remember being taught that the American Civil War was fought over the issue of chattel slavery. (Now, granted, when I went to school scarce five or six years had passed since the end of that war.
) From Lincoln's point of view, slavery had hardly anything to do with it. He openly said, in a letter to Horace Greely, the redoubtable editor of the New York Herald, that if he could keep the Union together without freeing a single slave, he would gladly do so. I also recall being taught (maybe I misunderstood; I don't know) that the Emancipation Proclamation, issued as an executive order by President Lincoln, freed a whole bunch of slaves. In fact, that order didn't free a single soul. It cleverly applied only to "those states in rebellion" against the USA, i.e. states over which neither Lincoln nor anyone else in Washington had any control whatsoever. It was sort of like our present situation in Cuba. We don't recognize Fidel Castro as the legitimate head of state on that island. Yeah, so what? Does that, somehow, depose him? The point is that the Emancipation Proclamation did not
apply to those states where the Government, under Lincoln, could have legitimately freed the people in bondage -- Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, the so-called Border States.
Slavery was outlawed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and Lincoln was long dead by then.
But Lincoln is admirable on many other counts. He was, certainly, one of the most articulate and moving orators at a time when the job of speech-writer had not yet been invented. He had great moral courage and a powerful will. And one wonders where he got his military acumen and talent for grand strategy. Working with a handful of totally incompetent generals in the field (all the good talent had gone over to the Confederate side), he managed to turn the Army of the Potomac into an actual fighting unit and impose his will on the generals in the field, discarding Gen. Winfield Scott's totally unworkable 'Anaconda Plan' early on. And, I believe, down deep he was a quite sincere and honest person. Something about the Gettysburg address rings so true, it can come only from the heart. There is no artifice, no bombast, no grandstanding here.
Now, Washington. Well, he had already died when I was born, so I am less familiar with his accomplishments.
But I see great similarities between the two men. Both had that iron will and the ability to impose it on others. Washington's command of his army in the field is impressive, as has already been pointed out. And there was a typically American sense of humility about him, despite the fact that, by the standards of his day, he was to the purple born.
As for who had the best sense of humor, Letty, I don't know. They've all been funny in their own way. Nixon's declaring "I am not a crook," for example, is a hilarious throw-away line. So is Clinton's insistance on knowing what the dinition of 'is' is. Side-splitting. Bush is funny in his won way, too, but he's too much the buffoon for my taste. Except for Charlie Chaplin, I never did enjoy slapstick all that much.