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Abraham Lincoln at 200: Emancipation Chic?


Kempt does an analysis of a recently-uncovered photo of Lincoln, taken a few months before he died, in which it's been noted that #16 is sporting a "surprisingly contemporary hairstyle." Adds Kempt: "There’s a lot more to like here than just his hair. Check out the peak-but-not-too-peak lapels, the floppy cravat, and the duster-style double-breasted jacket, for starters. And given the proliferation of ironic facial hair, we’re amazed the chinstrap hasn’t had more of a revival."

ObamafordToday, as you may know, is Lincoln's 200th birthday. It's being celebrated in Washington D.C. as well as the state of Illinois, and this week there are no less than three major documentaries about Lincoln on TV.

Obama paid tribute to Lincoln at an event last night at Ford's Theatre, standing below the flag-draped box where Lincoln was assassinated. Said Obama: We know that Ford’s Theatre will remain a place where Lincoln’s legacy thrives, where his love of the humanities and belief in the power of education have a home, and where his generosity of spirit are reflected in all the work that takes place...The American people needed to be reminded, he believed, that even in a time of war, the work would go on; that even when the nation itself was in doubt, its future was being secured; and that on that distant day, when the guns fell silent, a national capitol would stand, with a statue of freedom at its peak, as a symbol of unity in a land still mending its divisions...It is this sense of unity that is so much a part of Lincoln’s legacy. For, despite all that divided us -- north and south, black and white -- he had an unyielding belief that we were, at heart, one nation, and one people."

Linccover184In 2004, C.A. Tripp published a controversial book suggesting Lincoln was gay:

According to the NYT review, among Tripp's assertions are that Lincoln had a "youthful affair" of four years with Joshua Speed, had a homosexual relationship with bodyguard David V. Derickson, shared a bed with a man named Billy Greene who told Lincoln's law partner that the president's thighs "were as perfect as a human being Could be," and "wooed" fellow lawyer Henry C. Whitney "to close intimacy and familiarity."

The book argues that it was Lincoln's homosexuality that led to his volatile relationship with Mary Todd Lincoln and describes an account by bodyguard Derickson's commanding officer: "Captain Derickson, in particular, advanced so far in the president's confidence and esteem that, in Mrs. Lincoln's absence, he frequently spent the night at his cottage, sleeping in the same bed with him and — it is said — making use of his Excellency's night-shirts!"

Every known photo of Abraham Lincoln, from 1846 to his death in 1865, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously on Lincoln...
Obama-Lincoln Gets the Rainbow Treatment in Boston [tr]
Is it Abraham Lincoln? [tr]
Abe Lincoln's Intimate Encounters [tr]

Also, the penny is getting a makeover in Lincoln's honor:

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  1. Lincoln was born in Hardin County, KY.

    Posted by: john | Feb 12, 2009 9:52:57 AM

  2. Greatest president even with his flaws (early life racism etc)

    The first and LAST real republican president. Modern repub party would never allow him as a member.

    FDR 2nd greatest

    Obama already in top 10 just for ending the Bush cheney F up


    Happy 200th B-day Charles DARWIN!

    Feb 12th 1809

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Feb 12, 2009 10:01:07 AM

  3. Ending one fuck up with another hardly merits "top 10 president" status.

    The fact that Lincoln and Darwin were born on the same day kind of seems to lend credibility to astrology though, doesn't it?
    Like Madonna and Michael Jackson being born on the same day. Weird coincidence.

    Posted by: paul c | Feb 12, 2009 10:38:52 AM

  4. Uh...Madonna was born August 16th, 1958. Michael Jackson was born August 29th, 1958. On what planet is that the same day?

    Posted by: Ugh | Feb 12, 2009 10:49:20 AM

  5. First up:
    "Like Madonna and Michael Jackson being born on the same day" Elvis died on that day as well. STRANGE....

    Regarding Lincoln, he inherited policies of a string of the very worst presidents in US history. However, the United States revisionist history regarding Lincoln and the Civil War disturbs me. Over the years, it has become the way to shoulder the guilt of slavery and racism elsewhere.......but, truth be told, the slavery was a miniscule aspect of the War. Lincoln did not free the slaves, as it continued in the North until after his death. The Civil War was about states rights and extremely high tariffs on the South's cotton industry. I have often wondered why Lincoln didn't end the tariffs in exchange for freeing the slaves, allowing plantations the funds to hire workers. Perhaps he came in the fold just a little too late. Lincoln, no doubt, was a great thinker and a great man, but did he jump to war too soon? Were there alternatives that would have preserved the Union beyond war?

    Posted by: Greg | Feb 12, 2009 11:07:08 AM

  6. Totally agree with your comment, Jimmyboyo.

    Lincoln would never be in the Republican party now and I doubt he would ever want to be.

    Obama is now certainly up there for even what he has done so far to try and clean up the awful destruction that Bush left in his wake.

    Posted by: sam | Feb 12, 2009 11:42:34 AM

  7. I heard that Lincoln was in fact more racist that people realize, as the Civil War was more about states' rights, tariff's, etc. than about abolishing slavery. Is that true?

    Posted by: Cj | Feb 12, 2009 12:15:48 PM

  8. The civil war had nothing to do with freeing the slaves. It was about preserving the union of the United States and stamping out a rebellion. The US was built on the cheap labor of slaves, however, the South was getting a little big for its britches which meant they had to be put in their place for the benefit of the nation as a whole. Promising the slaves freedom was an effective way of keeping millions of men from fighting for the south.


    Posted by: Derek Washington | Feb 12, 2009 12:30:25 PM

  9. Derek, the main cause of the civil war was preservation of the union. But that would never have been an issue if not for the controversial institution of slavery which even the Founding Fathers knew was destined to divide the country. So, at root, you can say the cause of the civil war was essentially slavery.

    Posted by: lwoolf | Feb 12, 2009 12:43:02 PM

  10. let's not overrate Lincoln please.

    Posted by: Joannie | Feb 12, 2009 1:21:56 PM

  11. LWOOLF:

    I can't disagree with you, I stand corrected.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Feb 12, 2009 1:27:28 PM

  12. Thanks for the intelligent post about a great man who inspired the whole world. I travel widely in far away places and there are two people who are known in almost every culture: St Francis of Assisi, and Abraham Lincoln. Something captures the ideals of the human spirit in their stories. I am sure some of the details are foggy avout St Francis, too - it does not detract from their positive influence on the world.

    Posted by: JH | Feb 12, 2009 11:00:37 PM

  13. CJ, you are correct, and even more importantly, Lincoln had the tough decision of war vs. diplomacy. He seems to have chosen war due to the fact that along with the South, New York state, Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland were near secession as well. Diplomacy may very well have given those state time to organize. Lincoln wisely sent the US military to New York - where black men were being hung in the street to protest abolition - and Maryland, quickly squashing the growing calls to leave the Union.

    Posted by: Greg | Feb 13, 2009 1:10:15 PM

  14. LWolf, suggesting the slavery was the reason for the civil war is like saying that WWII was about saving the Jews. It just isn't true. While they were benefits of winning both wars, the slavery issue was not in anyway the reason for war. It was not even the reason that states were leaving the Union. The percentage of people that owned slaves in the South were very small, and take away the plantations, about the same as the North.

    The slavery issue was truthfully about evolution of thought. The entire country was shifting to the realization that it was wrong, but it was an institution that had been in place for 1000s of years and supported by the bible. The entire country did not wake up with the realization about slavery at the same time, but the momentum was there. Had Lincoln not needed to preserve the Union and go to war, slavery would have been abolished soon anyway as the evolution of progressive thought was rapidly increasing. It in many ways parallels the progressive attitudes toward gay and lesbian rights, and the decades it has taken to win many many battles for those rights.

    Posted by: Greg | Feb 13, 2009 1:26:48 PM

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