Nothing better illustrates the elasticity of American democratic life than the fact that within a span of forty years Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were Presidents of the United States. Two men more unlike in origin, in training, and in opportunity, could hardly be found. Lincoln came from an incompetent Kentuckian father, a pioneer without the pioneer's spirit of enterprise and push; he lacked schooling; he had barely the necessaries of life measured even by the standards of the Border; his compa-nions were rough frontier wastrels, many of whom had either been, or might easily become, ruffians. The books on which he fed his young mind were very few, not more than five or six, but they were the best. And yet in spite of these handicaps, Abraham Lincoln rose to be the leader and example of the American Nation during its most perilous crisis, and the ideal Democrat of the nineteenth century.