On this day in 1809, just a few hours apart, Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born.
What are the odds of historic coincidences like that?
Lincoln’s birthday is still listed in law as a date to fly the U.S. flag, though we’ve changed the celebration to the following week and the generic President’s Day, closer to George Washington’s real birthday, February 22. President’s Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February.
So, you may certainly fly your flag today. (You may fly your flag any day, but you get the idea.)
News will feature more celebrations of Darwin than Lincoln, today, I predict — Darwin Day is a worldwide celebration by science nerds.
Both Lincoln and Darwin worked to end slavery. Darwin probably had more of an idea that racial discrimination had no science basis. Lincoln had more political sway. After Lincoln and Darwin, science and human rights advanced greatly, because of their work.
- “How Lincoln and Darwin shaped the modern world,” Adam Gopnik, Smithsonian Magazine, February 2009
- Lincoln and Darwin born hours apart, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, February 9, 2014
- “Darwin on Lincoln, and Vice Versa,” Laura Helmuth, Mark Strauss and Terence Monmaney, Smithsonian.com, January 22, 2009
- “Who is older, Lincoln or Darwin? Trick question; they were born on the same day,” Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, February 10, 2009
- 6 things Lincoln and Darwin had in common, Mark Mancini at Mental Floss, February 12, 2014