Abraham Lincoln is a cult personality for American history. He was the 16th president of the country, becoming a national hero. Lincoln became famous for his struggle with slavery, having managed to free the black slaves and forever change the history of the country. This president led America through the Civil War, including even his opponents in the new government.
Under Lincoln, a transcontinental railway passed through the country, he decided the agrarian question. The speaker’s bright speeches inspired contemporaries and even today are a cultural heritage. In 1865, Lincoln was killed, becoming the first deadly violent death of the president of this country.
Such a bright personality has not been ignored by historians, biographers, writers. Recently, even came out a fantastic film, depicting Lincoln fighter against vampires. The president in general is one of the hundred most learned personalities in history.
Nevertheless, it is worth noting that there are myths about him. Those who created them and believed in these speculations simply did not bother to study documentary materials, which there are many. But who wants to lose a beautiful fairy tale about smart and decent politics? Based on the facts, we will try to debunk the main misconceptions about the greatest in the history of America’s president.
Lincoln was a simple rural lawyer.
This strong legend has been confirmed by the film “Young Mr. Lincoln.” At one time Lincoln’s partner in law practice, William Herndon, for the sake of improving his reputation, launched a duck about the work of a partner. Allegedly, the young lawyer paid little attention to cases, joked with the judge and the jury, and sometimes could not even claim his fee. Indeed, Lincoln’s ambitions lay in politics, and not in the legal business. But in the 1850s he skillfully represented the company “Illnkois Central Railroad”, which built railway bridges. Thanks to this case, Lincoln earned a reputation as one of the best lawyers in his state. Documents on his work during this period speak of a diverse and lucrative practice. For 23 years of his legal career, Lincoln participated in more than 5,100 cases, he spoke to the Supreme Court of the State more than 400 times. There is no doubt that if it were not for a career politician, then the lawyer would earn his fame and fortune in this field.
Lincoln was gay.
Gay rights activist, Larry Kramer, has long believed that Lincoln was an adherent of same-sex love. Yes, and Professor Tripp released the book “The Intimate Life of Abraham Lincoln,” in which he cited several ambiguous facts. Allegedly in 1999, the love letters of the politician to the former roommate Joshua Speedu were found. The couple maintained a warm relationship for four years in the 1820s-1830s. And Speed himself said that the men did not have such warm ties as he had with Lincoln. In his youth, he also wrote a poem about a certain Billy, who could not marry a girl and eventually went under the aisle with his friend Natt. This work is considered very frank for Puritan America of those times. Another close friend of Lincoln, Billy Green from Illinois, once noticed that the hips of a friend are not inferior to the hips of the beauties. And even in Washington, the politician was secretly betraying his wife to Captain Daville Derrickson, one of his guards. And after the murder of Lincoln, his stepmother said that in his youth he was not interested in girls and talked more with the guys. Tripp even suggested that the president’s sexual indifference contributed to his wife’s mental illness. And the first lady of the country and the friends of the politician had no idea about his secret, though for almost 150 years she remained hidden. This theory has less opponents than supporters. But what’s the truth here? The same William Herndon recalled that his partner had a strong attraction to women, he generally spent a lot of time in brothels before he married. The first son of Lincoln was born nine months after the wedding, which speaks of the love of a man.Historians argue that Lincoln and Speed were just close friends, bachelors of the same age. Yes, men can be asleep in the same bed, but not because of tender feelings, and to be trivial to keep warm – then there was no central heating yet. In any case, Lincoln’s sexual orientation is clearly not the central part of his historical heritage.
Lincoln was constantly depressed.
Four generations of biographers said that Lincoln was sullen, as he was constantly depressed. They say that she formed a great image of politics. In the life of Lincoln, there were times when he felt extremely depressed. So, in 1835, his first great love, Ann Rutledge, died of a fever. It was hard for him to endure a break with Mary Todd in 1841, on the eve of the wedding. The couple, fortunately, still made peace. Classical depression in the XIX century was incurable, the victims either slipped into insanity, or committed suicide. It is impossible to attribute this to Lincoln, who worked tirelessly, being an effective president. People with clinical depression sometimes can not get out of bed, what there to speak about the command of the army. Was Lincoln sad? Of course yes! So, his son Willie died in the White House in 1862, when the president himself waged a war that killed 600,000 people. The times were not easy, and it would be absurd to see the head of the country constantly cheerful.
Lincoln was very compassionate.
Biographer policy Karl Sandberg did much to idealize the image of the president. In fact, he was not at all a person who let go of indulgences and forgave his enemies. Lincoln approved the punishment of deserters, on his order in Minnesota on December 26, 1862, 38 Scout Indians were hanged. This remains the largest mass execution in the history of the country. Whatever it was, but it was Lincoln spent the bloodiest war in American history, he authorized the use of new types of weapons: mines, battleships, nitrate (version napalm to the XIX century). Having chosen his way, Lincoln walked along it, despite the numerous human sacrifices. Recently, a scandal in the National Archives broke out in America. The document, according to which Lincoln managed to pardon the deserter in the last hours of his life, turned out to be counterfeit. So historians will have to reconsider a lot of pardon cases by the president, putting this part of the truth on one scales. The other must be given to the many death sentences signed by Lincoln. And it is not known yet what will outweigh. Lincoln was mortally ill.
Today it is difficult to diagnose Lincoln’s health, after 150 years have passed. Some say that the politician suffered from cardiovascular diseases, others that he had Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disease. There is an opinion that Lincoln had cancer in the last stage. Some medical historians believe that if the president were not killed on April 14, 1865, he would have died soon enough. But if the body of a man was so exhausted by illness, how can one explain his excellent physical condition? Of the series of illnesses in the war, Lincoln received only a weak form of smallpox, although she killed his servant. How can a sick 56-year-old man demonstrate his favorite trick of skilful handling of an ax shortly before his death? Like many other presidents, Lincoln looked haggard, staying in a responsible post. He lost weight. But the doctors, examining the president on his deathbed, were surprised at his muscular arms and chest. The doctors said that a weaker person would die from the shot at once. Lincoln, however, resisted death for nine hours, which clearly speaks of his good health.
Lincoln was killed by a madman.
John Wilkes Booth is considered a madman, because he killed a national favorite. In fact, some unknown persons were probably behind the attack. Booth himself during the Civil War was a secret agent of the Confederation.He participated in the conspiracy, which was aimed at first the abduction of Lincoln, and then his assassination, as well as the main comrades-in-arms. Reconstruction of the South was not liked by all. It is likely that Bout’s actions were led by Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederation. The irony of fate is that the killer’s actions had the opposite effect. Lincoln became a cult figure, he began to idealize. But this was an ambiguous politician, who had many shortcomings and enemies. And death made him almost a saint.
Lincoln did not believe in the supernatural.
Lincoln once said: “When I do good, I feel good, and when I do evil, I feel bad. This is my religion. ” In fact, it is likely that the president had to do with the occult. There is evidence that he, along with his wife, was conducting spiritual meetings in the White House to communicate with his deceased children. Lincoln turned to a popular medium for help, so that he helped him to realize the project of slave liberation and thereby get into history. The stories that Lincoln had several times had visions of his premature death sounded eerily tiring.
Lincoln believed in freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is enshrined in the First Amendment of the American Constitution. But Mark Twain once said that freedom of speech is the most valuable treasure of fools. Lincoln, although he received the nickname “Honest Abe,” did not really care about the truth, nor about freedom of speech. During his reign, all opposition newspapers were suppressed, and the editors were put in jail without observing their rights. Lincoln simply believed that in wartime, he has the right to do so for the welfare of the country.
Lincoln respected human rights.
The last US presidents are often criticized for treating prisoners of war and even excessive torture towards them. But they are all far from Lincoln in the part of neglecting constitutional rights. In two cases, the president essentially stopped the action of the classic “Chabes Corps of Act”, which defines the rules for arresting and bringing the accused to trial. First Lincoln ignored the judicial system in 1861 in Maryland, and then across the country. Tens of thousands of American citizens, sometimes just protesters, were imprisoned without trial and investigation, appearing before a military tribunal. There were cases when even senators and congressmen got into jail. All this does not fit in any way with the attractive image of a politician-champion of freedoms.
Southerners started the war.
The Constitution stated that Congress had the right to declare war. In this regard, the power of the President was limited, but Lincoln ignored this. In fact, he provoked hostilities. Confederate States of America existed already a month by the time the 16th president came to office. The new country declared itself sovereign and did not claim to the territory of the United States. Today, historians are learning that it was Southerners who started the war, forcing the northerners to respond. Immediately after Lincoln’s accession to the post, the Confederation sent a delegation that was to conclude a peace treaty with the United States. However, the president refused to communicate with the “illegitimate” authorities. Lincoln’s actions provoked the Southerners to start shooting near Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The president, using his authority, declared war on the Confederation, ignoring the Congress and the Constitution. Politicians could only raise their hands and say that Lincoln simply wants to preserve the Union.
Lincoln was a great commander.
Among the military presidents, Lincoln looks like the greatest strategist, although there is clear evidence to the contrary. He did not see real fighting, even serving in the militia captain. At that time, Lincoln spent more time with the onions than many Indians. But his opponent, Southerner Jefferson Davis, graduated from the Military Academy of West Point. Lincoln’s professionalism is evidenced by the fact that he could promote officers only on the grounds that they have a loud and euphonious surname.It was thanks to the president and his closest assistants that the plans for supplying Fort Sumter failed, which unleashed a war.
Lincoln won the war.
Lincoln quickly studied and appointed to lead an army of effective officers Ulysses Grant and William Sherman. Both believed in the doctrine of total war, which turned out to be effective against the southerners. Sherman’s March to the Sea put pressure on Roberta Li, on the other hand Confederate army was in a state of deadlock in Virginia against Grant. Sherman decided to make the war a new form, through pressure. Departing, his troops destroyed most of Georgia’s infrastructure, interrupting livestock and forcibly evicting southerners to other states. Even the slaves, accustomed to horror, saw that the northerners would not stop. Sherman inflicted losses of 100 million dollars (1.4 billion in modern prices). But many historical books assess the contribution of the general as a catastrophe. But Sherman’s excesses were the basis of the victories attributed to Lincoln.
Lincoln advocated racial equality.
After Martin Luther King, it is Lincoln who sees the main fighter for racial equality. Even some former slaves called him the greatest man for blacks. But Lincoln also had very ambiguous phrases on this issue: “I believe that it is impossible to ensure the social and political equality of white and black. I do not consider it necessary to give them electoral rights, the right to occupy certain positions and to marry white people. ” This side of Lincoln is not particularly advertised. Even before the start of political activity, he supported the “Black Laws”, which confirmed the rights of the owners of slaves and returned fugitives from the north. And what are the future plans for black people? Lincoln planned not just to release them, but also to evict them to their historical homeland.
Lincoln started the Civil War to free the slaves.
Most people believe this is the main reason for the outbreak of the Civil War. But there were also economic reasons. The northern states, industrially developed, insisted on high taxes for the rural South. Those could not pay more and decided in the end to secede. And even the proclamation of the liberation of slaves was a kind of military tactic. Thus, the southerners received an internal conflict and began to tear apart, and the northerners acquired new recruits who wanted to fight for their freedom. Many newspapers of those times, even allied, subjected Lincoln to criticism of the desire to destroy the Confederation at any cost. He himself tried first of all to preserve a single country. In a letter to the New York Tribune, the politician wrote: “If I can save the union without releasing at least one slave, I will do it.” Lincoln conducted an honest election campaign.
Today, presidential elections are known for their meanness, slander, information throws. But people would be surprised to learn that in the XIX century everything was absolutely the same. Among the chaos that prevailed in the country during the Civil War, Lincoln decided to re-election. And modern politicians would envy him and tactics. It turns out that the president used the money of taxpayers to pay the troops of northerners leave for a trip to the elections. Technically, any soldier could vote for any candidate, but only those who sympathized with Lincoln were released on leave. Today it is known that in the polling places some military voted for themselves and for friends who “can not do this”. In some cases, soldiers even frightened civilians to vote for Lincoln.