The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) about the restoration and conservation of the carriage which carried Lincoln to his fate at Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865.
Welcome to The Abraham Lincoln Blog! This blog serves as a source of information about Mr. Lincoln, covering every aspect of his life plus his continued legacy. Included is a smattering of commentary about modern-day events and politics but only as they pertain to Lincoln. It's hoped that this blog will encourage readers to seek out more information about this complex man. Comments are both welcome and encouraged.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 2:06 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 8:28 AM
News broke this afternoon of the arrest of a New York state archivist who was selling rare American documents on eBay. Daniel Lorello has been accused of stealing the documents from the New York State Library and then selling them on eBay in order to raise money for his daughter's credit card debts.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 6:40 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 3:28 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 11:41 AM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 3:21 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 2:40 PM
Just yesterday, I posted about the archaeological dig going on at Knob Creek, the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln in Kentucky. I had speculated what archaeologists might find, including glassware or plates, or even the footprint of the original cabin.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 8:08 AM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 3:53 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 11:32 AM
Just a couple of months after the recent discovery of the "new" photographs of what is potentially Abraham Lincoln in the crowd at Gettysburg, comes the announcement tonight from the Library of Congress that "new" photos of the crowd at Lincoln's Second Inauguration have been discovered!
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 10:04 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 11:52 AM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 3:05 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 8:48 AM
In every presidential election cycle, much is made about the "experience" that candidates bring (or do not bring) to the table in order to sway voters. This is especially true during our current election campaign. For the first time in many decades, neither a current U.S. president nor a current U.S. vice-president is running for election to the nation's highest office.
In our current cycle, Hillary Clinton touts her experience as a "doer" in Washington and claims that she had many influences in the Clinton White House. John McCain reminds voters that he is strong in foreign policy experience. And Barack Obama is almost daily compared to Abraham Lincoln because of Obama's same lack of experience in Washington which Lincoln lacked, the implication being that limited experience is good.
Just how much should experience count in the country's decision for president? When Abraham Lincoln ran for President of the United States, his total political experience was limited to a single term in the U.S. Congress, and a handful of terms in the state legislature in Illinois. (for a more detailed recounting of his political experience, click here). He ran for U.S. Senate and was defeated. He was involved in failed businesses (although their failures were not his fault). He was a successful lawyer, but there was nothing in his background to suggest to the nation's electorate that he would go on to become such a towering figure in American history.
Other men who served as U.S. President brought enormous political experience to the White House, but were considered to be ineffective at best during their term or terms in office. A classic example is John Quincy Adams. JQA was by all accounts brilliant. He served as Secretary of State, as foreign minister (ambassador) to Russia and to other countries in Europe. Yet from the beginning of his term in office (after being elected by the House of Representatives), his presidency was a failure. Congress ignored his initiatives, supporters of Andrew Jackson were furious that Adams was chosen by the House over their candidate, and government was more or less paralyzed for four years.
Today's issue of the Albany (New York) Times Union newspaper contains a well-written editorial which addresses this very topic. It starts off talking about a man who was poorly dressed, awkward in appearance, and who had a nearly total lack of political or leadership experience. The man was of course Lincoln. It also describes how John F. Kennedy brought almost no experience to the White House as well, but how his strong and determined leadership forced the Soviet Union to remove its Cuban Missiles. Kennedy also established the Peace Corps, a true example of the good which America can do. It also tells the story of Harry Truman, a former haberdasher, and selected for office by a corrupt political machine. He had no experience, yet was selected to be Vice-President and then ascended to the presidency when Franklin Roosevelt died. Truman showed a refreshing honesty and strength of leadership during his presidency. Today, many historians consider Truman to be one of the "near-great" presidents.
I agree with the conclusion of the editorial: experience (or lack thereof) does not mean everything when we select a president. As the editorial states: "...experience is in the final analysis no substitute for vision and character."
What do you think? Feel free to add your comments.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 9:26 AM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 11:48 AM
Even in death, Abraham Lincoln could find no safe haven from the plots which plagued him during his life. Body stealing was a fairly common occurrence in earlier times, with the stolen bodies either used for ransom money from the deceased's family or even being sold to unscrupulous medical schools. But the plot to steal Lincoln was organized by counterfeiters, of all things.
Seems as if this gang of counterfeiters had a compatriot in prison, one Ben Boyd, who was a master counterfeiter. So "Big Jim" Kenally, the leader of the gang, cooked up the plot to steal Lincoln's body and demand both $200,000 and the release of Mr. Boyd.
Thanks to some fine detective work by the fairly new Secret Service, the plotters were thwarted in the act. (It should be remembered that even today, the primary purpose of the Secret Service is to deter counterfeiters from polluting the U.S. money supply with bogus money. )
The thieves actually escaped the law for a time, but were finally captured on November 16, 1876. Unfortunately, there were no state laws against grave robbing at that time in Illinois, so the robbers were charged only with trying to steal the coffin itself. They were sentenced to one year in prison.
The photo I've included is a historical marker in Illinois on the spot of the gang's headquarters.
I had known about this plot thanks to other sources I'd read, primarily Candace Fleming's fine article in the Lincoln 140th Assassination Anniversary issue of American History magazine published in 2005. In that article, Fleming detailed not only this plot but the other struggles on how to properly bury Lincoln in his (finally) final resting place in 1901. It's a fascinating story.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 2:46 PM
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 2:49 PM
Today's Washington Post contains an op-ed piece from Michael Gerson which claims that Democrats are in denial about Iraq. Mr. Gerson was the chief speech writer for George W. Bush until 2006, at which time he joined the editorial board of the Post.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 12:04 PM