Wednesday, February 11, 2009

USA Today Cover Story On Revising Lincoln

USA Today has yet another story about Mr. Lincoln in today's edition. This time, the story is the main cover feature on the front page. It's a very thought-provoking piece and one which should be of great interest to Lincoln enthusiasts. especially those who are just beginning to learn more about him.

The point of the article is that 200 years after his birth, there is a more complex picture emerging of Lincoln than what was the case many decades ago. Recent years (and books) have seen claims made that Lincoln was gay or that he was racist or an atheist. Some upcoming books even claim he was henpecked and a crybaby in public.

The article quotes leading Lincoln scholars like Harold Holzer and Michael Burlingame along with many other authors and professors. The theme is that Lincoln was human like the rest of us, complete with failings and foibles, and not a demi-god like people so believed at the time of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922. For example, Lincoln may have shown racist beliefs early in his life, but he exhibited such an extraordinary capacity for growth that after his death, Frederick Douglass called him the "black man's president."

Take a look at this article. It's an excellent synopsis of today's complex views of a very complex man.

5 comments:

E. Tahlib Disney-Britton said...

There are certainly complex view about Abraham Lincoln. You've cited some and he may have been the first American to write about a same-sex couple getting married. Americans need to consider what Lincoln woould say today about gay couples getting married? http://tinyurl.com/marriageandgays

E. Tahlib Disney-Britton said...

Views on Abraham Lincoln are indeed complex. One is that he may have been the first American to write about a same-sex couple getting married. What would Lincoln say today about gay couples getting married? http://tinyurl.com/marriageandgays

Geoff Elliott said...

Yes, I've read that poem that Lincoln wrote about two people getting married. The name escapes me now.

It seemingly was written as an insult or revenge against the Grigsby family, the in-laws of Lincoln's sister, Sarah. He blamed them for her death in childbirth and he wrote the poem as a form of revenge.

It's certainly not a fit piece of writing for publication in a childrens' book.

But it shows us that Lincoln was a real person, and it's a piece of his life story.

I don't know what he'd say about gay marriage, a subject which I'm not close to being an expert about.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Lincoln! I would also recommend this Lincoln article at pacificvs.com. It touches similar themes...

AbruzziQuattro said...

No, Americans do not need to consider what he would think about gay marriage. Lincoln never thoyght about it because it was never even conceived of bakc in the mid-19th century.

What Americans need to consider when thinking about Lincoln is how much thought he put into his decisions and how he was magnanimous towards his foes. Those are the lessons we should take from Abraham Lincoln.

 
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