Photograph of President Abraham Lincoln sitting in a chair.

Abraham Lincoln

(1809 - 1865)

President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, to dedicate the national cemetery near the battlefield where over 3,100 Northern and 4,500 Southern soldiers had died the previous July. The speaker who preceded him, former secretary of state and senator Edward Everett, read an address that was over ten thousand words long. Lincoln’s was just 267 words. Everett noted the discrepancy when writing to Lincoln the following day: “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself, that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.” Lincoln was assassinated during a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in April 1865.

All Writing

No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens. 

- Abraham Lincoln,

Miscellany

President Abraham Lincoln on November 21, 1864, sent a letter to Mrs. Bixby, who, the War Department informed him, had lost five sons fighting for the Union. “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.” In fact, two of Mrs. Bixby’s sons were killed in action, a third either deserted or died while a prisoner of war, a fourth was honorably discharged, and the fifth deserted.

Miscellany

At a seance in the White House in 1862, Nettie Colburn Maynard, the medium, recalled that, after losing consciousness, she, channeling Daniel Webster, spoke for over an hour, during which President Abraham Lincoln was assured that the Emancipation Proclamation he had written but not signed would be “the crowning event of his administration and life” and that he needed to “stand firm” against dissenters. Arthur Conan Doyle later speculated that it “may have been one of the most important [moments] in the history of the United States.”

Miscellany

“A horrid-looking wretch he is, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse swapper, and the night man,” declared a Stephen Douglas–leaning newspaper of Abraham Lincoln during the presidential race of 1860. 

Miscellany

As a London-based correspondent for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, Karl Marx wrote about Abraham Lincoln’s issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, “Up to now we have witnessed only the first act of the Civil War—the constitutional waging of war. The second act, the revolutionary waging of war, is at hand.”

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.

- Abraham Lincoln,1861

Issues Contributed