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Nearly every year, especially since the Lincoln Centennial, 1909, something new has been added to the universal knowledge of one of the greatest, if not the greatest man who ever lived his life in the world.

  1. Does the word greatest describe Lincoln?
  2. Does this sentence "if not the greatest man who ever lived his life in the world" relate to the whole passage/paragraph and what does the whole paragraph mean including the sentence?
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It means

Since 1909, each year has added to our knowledge about Lincoln, in my opinion the greatest person in history.

While not disputing the sentiment, it is verbose and bombastic.

Yes, it refers to Lincoln.

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