Abraham Lincoln, Peacemaker

Michael Rebrovich, M.A., L.P.C.C.


“Four score and 7 years ago…”Americans remember the beginning of the Gettysburg Address, a speech that transcends their nation. Now, at the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the civil war, the wounding of America, it is indeed a time to commemorate the faith of its forefathers. The Battle of Gettysburg, marked by the heaviest casualties for both sides, is generally seen as the turning point of the war. However, it was Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that was the landmark symbolic act that changed everything. That is, Lincoln’s personal transformation, which led to the Gettysburg Address and generated a new context for the nation.


Now, with the wisdom of the enneagram, we can better understand the measure of this symbolic act. With the wounding of the young nation came the devolution of the country’s enchanted state of oneness. That oneness was brought forth by the vision of the nation’s forefathers of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, the existing level of unconsciousness combined with hypocrisy, misguided survival mechanisms and the war was corrupting and dividing the nation. The country crept to the brink of disintegration. By explicitly exploring the peacemaker or type 9 of the enneagram, we can better understand the process that President Lincoln, type 9, had gone through. Following the path of type 9, we will see that Lincoln’s personality reflected the issues of the country. With Lincoln as our guide, we can understand the integration of a nine and see why he wrote the Gettysburg Address, generated the reunionization of the states and lead the abolition of slavery.  


Developmentally, type nines experienced wholeness, oneness, and peace and then lost it.   In desperation to find the oneness, nines abandon themselves. They split their awareness from their bodies and feelings, and above all learn to avoid conflict. Put simply, survival requires peace at any cost. Nines separate from themselves and merge, trying to recreate the peace or oneness. Choices are avoided in an attempt to prevent internal and external conflict. Type 9 becomes destined to a life of double mindedness if they refuse to take a position. The result is an internal civil war.


Typical of a nine, Lincoln was a mild mannered man who loved to tell stories. He strung numerous career failures and in doing so, demonstrated a keen ability to persevere.   Prior to being elected President, he was on the fence about slavery and probably would not have been elected if he advocated abolition. By naturally avoiding conflict, he could appear neutral with the increasing polarization of the time. Yet his reticence helped states stay involved.


Initially, Lincoln blended in, a favorite nine trait, until he was forced to choose unity or separation. The future of the country was at stake. With secession of the southern/confederate states, Lincoln made his choice. His mission now became preservation of the union, sending armies into battle not only to fight until their death, but to win at any cost. Lincoln remained steadfast and unwavering. Not an easy task, especially for a nine. But what he did was to exhibit a nine’s greatest skill. Lincoln maintained his vision of “a more perfect union.” He would use the power of the government to end slavery but the government cannot be used to end inequality. That would take even greater vision. He saw beyond the country’s focus on slavery that was dividing it. Yet the conflict regarding slavery provided the passion that could bring it closer together. Lincoln began to embrace conflict.  


Most people think slavery was the cause of the civil war. Slavery was desired more by the southern states which “owned” more slaves. It was the conflict over slavery that triggered the fight/flight response of the southern states, which led to their secession, i.e. if you don’t like something just leave. Amidst intense conflict, it is natural for humans to fight, take flight or freeze. This mechanism is especially what motivates a type 9.   Conflict triggers a perceived loss of oneness, which must be avoided.  


It is only after entering into the conflict without fleeing or abandoning oneself, that the type 9 is free of his/her internal bondage to their personality drive. By entering into conflict, type 9 is able to experience their experience and with perseverance the truth comes into view. All there is is love. All that is required is a commitment to move from willfulness to willingness and surrender to a higher will. The truth is always, always revealed. This is the gift that emerges for nines when they go beyond surviving. When a nine can feel abandoned and honor the feeling, then they can be abandoned and then live their life with abandon. This became President Lincoln’s journey.


Turning to the Gettysburg Address, we see truth coming through Lincoln. First, referring to the Declaration of Independence, another symbolic act, Lincoln writes “… our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Lincoln realized the war was a fight for equality. He then asked, can any nation dedicated to this proposition that all men are created equal endure? Amidst the battlefield where 51,000 “gave their lives that that nation may live”, Lincoln told the story of the men that lived and died there. He saw the battle providential as it was fought on July 4th, America’s Declaration of Independence Day. Could the North and the South who entered into conflict with such resolve advance a nation? Lincoln was able to envision this. He states: “for us the living”, inspired by their resolve, have “to be dedicated here to the unfinished work.” In order for the country to unite there would have to be a shift of consciousness. For Lincoln, this meant being willing to honor and resolve intense emotions like anger, despair and powerlessness without submitting.


Lincoln felt the tragic loss of humanity and it’s suffering. Out of the hopelessness and sorrow came a luminous hope. Lincoln was transformed. He realized the focus of the war could change from abolition to freedom and equality. Surely people felt what he felt. He stated, “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” The burden of the war changed from blaming the other side to everyone feeling responsible.   There was no real division. Lincoln recontextualized the conflict from one of exclusion to one of inclusion. All that was required was a willingness to open. This is the essence of the Gettysburg Address. Oneness still existed beyond the separation, like blue skies beyond dark clouds. Lincoln could hold the oneness when others could only see the parts.


Lincoln then declares, as if from a state of direct knowing, “that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom”. Under God is standing under or understanding the true nature of freedom. Beyond the intense emotions of loss and sorrow are born the sacred states of compassion, love and oneness. To sense your body and your feelings that run through it is freedom. Type nines uniformly report this when they stop abandoning themselves. However, the process can sometimes feel as violent as the Battle of Gettysburg. By facing fears of annihilation and abandonment that lie at the heart of a nine and humanity, wholeness is found and people endure. Appreciation, respect and conviction of self and democracy manifest. A new nation could be born free without slavery or domination. This rebirth could also transcend the world so that any” government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”


The civil war was the wounding of America that required a healing that has taken all of the last 150 years. Uniting a nation, the civil rights act and the election of a black president have been among the fruits that have come from this healing. More is clearly needed. It is Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that was the symbolic act that transformed. Willing to stand alone, Lincoln took the right action to lead his nation out of its own self abandonment. The divided country was reunited.


This return to oneness has to be done consciously while being beckoned by a higher consciousness. “Nines remember the Essential quality of wholeness and completion. They remember the interconnectedness of all things—that nothing in the universe exists separate from anything else.” (pg.339 Riso) The transformation of a nine leads them to wholeness, as it did with Abraham Lincoln, and brings peace to the world.     






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Berenson, David (3/11/06-3/12/06)   Seminar: Theory and Practice of Everything


Constitution of the United States, The (1787) Webster’s New World College Dictionary 4th Edition (2004)   Cleveland, Ohio Wiley Publishing, Inc. (p.1701)  


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Gettysburg:   The Speech that Saved America. Documentary, History, 2008.   Military Chanel


Lincoln, Abraham, “The Gettysburg Address,” (11/19/1863), Civil War Encyclopedia>> Documents Blueandgraytrail.com/event/Gettysburg Address


Riso, D.R. and Hudson, R (1999)   The Wisdom of the Enneagram:   The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types,   New York, Bantom Books




Michael D. Rebrovich is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. He is President of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the International Enneagram Association and has maintained a private practice for 30 years, presently at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Michael is trained in marital and family counseling, facilitates ongoing small groups and leads workshops. His passion is infusing spirituality into his work, which is why he has enjoyed his study of the enneagram over the last 20 years. Currently, he is offering a workshop, “Uncovering Your Enneagram Transition Emotion” that combines the enneagram and the theory and practice of emotional healing. He also enjoys ballroom dancing with his wife, Margaret.