Originally Posted by QBNCGAR
Even Abraham Lincoln, who routinely touted his youthful poverty, was relatively well-to-do. At the time of Lincoln's birth, his father owned two farms of 600 acres along with several town lots, livestock and horses. Five years later, Thomas Lincoln was listed among the richest 15 percent of property owners in his Kentucky community.ABC News: Can Only Rich People Be President?
"Relatively well-to-do" is leagues away from a life of privilege. And it wasn't tough for people in that era to have 1200 acres of land in the middle of KY. The richest 15% of landowners in KY was still not hopping rich by comparison. (For example, there are lots of millionaires in CA, but they're broke anyway, there home and lot have just appreciated that much.)
Point being he was a standout in more ways than one, no way was he elite or grew up with the proverbial silver spoon. We could certainly use a few like him today. Where's cloning when you need it most?
The son of a Kentucky frontiersman, Lincoln had to struggle for a living and for learning. Five months before receiving his party's nomination for President, he sketched his life:
"I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks.... My father ... removed from Kentucky to ... Indiana, in my eighth year.... It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up.... Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher ... but that was all."
Lincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. His law partner said of him, "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest."
Clearly he didn't live in abject poverty, but it was his drive and integrity that got him to the Presidency.