Two hundred years ago today, both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born. Both men dragged the world reluctantly into modernity.
Lincoln is remembered most for ending slavery in the U.S. in connection with the U.S. Civil War. It took a hundred years and the Civil Rights movement to fully realize his accomplishments on the law books. The divide between the South and the rest of the country remains one of the deepest in American politics and the economic legacies of slavery continue to endure. Ironically, the Republican party of which Lincoln was a pivotal founding figure is now largely a regional party of the South (with Mormon enclaves thrown in for good measure), while the Democratic party which was long dominant in the South precisely because of ill feelings over the Civil War and subsequent military occupation of the South, is now weakest in that region especially among the white voters who were once its mainstay.
Darwin's theory of evolution has survived with remarkably modest modification, although we now know much more about its mechanism. No industrialized country in the world has more evolution deniers than the United States, although some developing countries (like Turkey) and undeveloped countries, surpass it.
Both the legacy of slavery and discrimination which Lincoln battled, and the evolution denial that persists in spite of Darwin's discoveries, are larely a result of America's evangelical Christian tradition, which is absent from most of the rest of the developed world. Lincoln's own religious feelings are a study in ambiguity, he made some vague religious statements which are well remembered, but was certainly nowhere near our nation's most devout President.
Both men are likeable figures whom it isn't clear would have gotten very far in today's world. Darwin, by the standards of modern science, was more an avid amateur and travel journalist, than a professional scientist. Lincoln had nothing close to the education required to be a lawyer today, and lived in an era that long predated the invention of large law firms.