However, Darwin and Lincoln did not meet. And, while a review of credible sources indicates that the two did not mention one other by name in writing, there is evidence that they were aware of one another's activities. In 1839, just after Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species, Alexander von Humboldt sent him a copy of his own work on Latin American plants, describing it as "a real contribution to science." A few months later, on April 15, 1839, Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech, in which he discussed the controversy surrounding the expansion of slavery into the western territories. He may have been referring to Darwin's book when he said: "I am not a naturalist, but I believe I understand enough of the theory of evolution to justify me in saying that no species has ever changed or been transformed within its own boundaries."
Lincoln was certainly familiar with Darwin's ideas. In fact, according to one account, he met with a group of abolitionists in New York City who had brought a copy of Darwin's book with them so they could discuss it with him. After the meeting, one of the participants wrote an article for a newspaper defending slavery and criticizing Darwin's work.
Overview On the same day, February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born. Lander's overarching point is that Lincoln and Darwin had similar perspectives on the major concerns of race, science, and religion. Both men came from poor families, were educated by private tutors, and developed interests in literature and science at an early age. They both rebelled against their religious educators by attending lectures by prominent scientists (Lincoln by dissecting corpses; Darwin by reading scientific books). Both men showed an interest in politics which led to careers in law or academe. And finally, both Lincoln and Darwin suffered serious illnesses as young men that may have affected them psychologically.
Lincoln and Darwin had many things in common. They were both smart and curious children who read extensively. They both attended prestigious universities and met famous people while they were students there. They both had strong opinions about slavery and civil rights for blacks. And most importantly, both men had great ideas about how evolution works through natural selection. Lincoln put forth a theory called "selective extinction" to explain why some ancient species have been preserved even though others have not. Darwin proposed several different mechanisms by which evolution could happen over time, one of which was natural selection.
Both men took pride in their knowledge of history and politics.
Darwin, according to Rogers, was unaware of genetics, continental drift, or the age of the Earth. He'd never seen a species transition before. He didn't know if it was even conceivable for a species to divide in two. He was unaware of any transitional fossils and nearly none of any human fossils. He thought all the species were fixed and stayed that way.
But he knew enough about evolution to be able to explain it. He just couldn't understand how it happened naturally without any help from humans.
So, what did Darwin not know? He wasn't aware of most modern discoveries in biology but he explained much about evolution through natural selection much earlier than they were discovered. His ideas on the origin of species have been improved upon over time but he was still thinking deeply about this issue in 1842 when he published his book On the Origin of Species.
Darwin and Wallace were not present at the conference because Darwin was at home burying his young boy and Wallace was unwell in a hut in New Guinea. (Photo courtesy of the Linnean Society of London; www.linnean.org.) It was, however, mostly a letter-based connection. Wallace wrote to Darwin on several occasions but never received a reply.
Wallace's work on natural selection had been published five years before Darwin's book came out so they would have known of each other's work. However, since they were separated by time and distance, it is not surprising that they did not meet until after their deaths.
It is interesting to note that both men worked on the idea of natural selection for its own sake - not as a mechanism for explaining some particular phenomenon or other. This shows that even though they were working on the same topic, their approaches were still very different. Wallace wanted to know why things are the way they are while Darwin tried to answer more practical questions such as "How can we use this knowledge?" and "What does this mean for humans?".
Even though they didn't meet face to face, it is clear that they were both driven by the same interests and ideas. This makes them similar rather than different and it is important to remember that when scientists find similarities between their works, it doesn't mean that one person copied from another - it means that they were all looking at the world through similar lenses.
They also lived through a major war - the American Civil War - that changed their countries forever.
Lincoln freed the slaves, while Darwin proposed an evolutionary theory for how species develop over time. These two great men should not be measured by just one day!
Lincoln's birthday is celebrated on February 11, while Darwin's anniversary falls on February 24. Both dates are important days in their countries' histories; they just aren't equal grounds for celebration.
Lincoln grew up in a small Illinois town where his father was a lawyer and his mother was a housewife who cooked and cleaned. He had six siblings, four brothers and two sisters. His family was poor, but he enjoyed reading about history and science when he could get it for himself from local bookstores.
Darwin was born into a wealthy English family. His father was an attorney who lost most of his money during the financial crisis of 1792, but managed to keep them out of debt. Darwin attended Cambridge University where he studied biology under Robert Brown who developed the study of plant morphology.
Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day, February 12, 1809, in the same year. They were both born in Mid-17th-century England.
Lincoln grew up in a small town called Hingham, which is near Boston, Massachusetts. He had two brothers and one sister. His father was a blacksmith and his mother was a housewife who also cooked when needed. They had little money but owned several acres of land that they worked together to grow wheat, corn, and peas.
Darwin was born into a wealthy family. His father was an attorney who died when Charles was only nine years old. After this tragedy, his mother moved the family to Wales so that he could be educated by private tutors. When he was 23 years old, he came back to Britain and started working for the British Navy as a naturalist. This job took him all over the world for about seven years where he observed and recorded facts about plants and animals.
When Lincoln learned that Darwin had traveled all over the world, he decided to do the same. In 1846, at the age of 30, he bought a ticket for $735 and set out to visit every state in America.