This past week on April 15th, 156 years ago President Abraham Lincoln died. He was assassinated on April 14th at 10:15pm at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. by actor John Wilkes Booth and passed the next morning at 7:22am on April 15th.
Immediately upon his passing, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton who was at his bedside, said those famous words; "Now he belongs to the ages." How true that statement rings.
Lincoln has been long remembered for preserving the Union and ending slavery at a costly price. The Civil War (1861-1865) had more casualties (620,000) that WW1, WW11 and the Vietnam War combined.
Lincoln was the first U.S. president to be assassinated. America's 16th president was also the tallest U.S. president at 6 foot 4 inches tall. When he wore his top hat he stood over 7 feet tall.
Lincoln grew up poor in a Kentucky log cabin. His mother passed when he young, just 9. She was just 34. He was self-educated and propelled himself to become President.
Why is Lincoln so remembered and revered by Americans? Is it that he kept the Union together under the most difficult of circumstances? Is it that he ended slavery? Or is it because of Lincoln's family tragedies; losing three of his four sons at such young ages; Edward was 4, Willie 11 when they both passed of typhoid fever and Tad 18 who died of TB. Only his first son, Robert Todd lived into adulthood.
Robert lived to be 82. His middle name Todd was as in Mary Todd. Todd was his mother's maiden name who ironically was a Southern Belle from Kentucky. Mary lived to be 63 and had mental health issues.
Robert Todd had his mother Mary committed to Bellevue Place, a private, upscale sanitarium 10 years after Lincoln's assassination. A Chicago court declared 56-year-old Mary insane.
Mary worked hard to get her release. After just three months in the sanitarium she was released thanks to the help of outside friends. A 2nd jury trial in 1876 declared Mary sane. She lived her remaining years with her sister Elizabeth Edwards. Mary died of a stroke in 1882.
Robert Todd Lincoln was a graduate of Harvard Law School and served in two presidential administration from 1881 to 1885. Robert was Secretary of War under President James Garfield and then under Chester A. Arthur after Garfield was assassinated. He also served as the Minister to London. That position was changed later to Ambassador to Great Britain
Robert Lincoln died wealthy in Vermont. He served as President of the Pullman Palace Car Company from 1897-1911. After he retired from this position in 1911 he served as Chairman of the Board until 1922. Robert lost his only son Abraham Lincoln II at age 16 who went by the family nickname of "Jack."
What is about Lincoln that fascinates us still? Is that he was so driven to keep the Union together and he succeeded? What is that he at times planned military strategies and was actually on the battlefield himself?
Or was it his determination to free the slaves at all costs? Or was it his memorable speeches at Cooper Union in New York that helped him get elected or his speech after the famous battle of Gettysburg?
Lincoln is forever remembered for many good reasons. His image is minted on the U.S. penny and printed on a $5 bill we still use today. Lincoln's image is chiseled into stone on Mount Rushmore along with three other presidents. His image is printed on many stamps.
In High School I was interested in history and now so much more so. I took the time recently to watch a number of good movies and programs on DVD. While refreshing my memory and knowledge of the man they called "Honest Abe" and "The Great Emancipator". I became more interested and fascinated about Lincoln all over again.
For anyone interested in Lincoln, I would recommend they watch "The Conspirator" which covers the Lincoln conspiracy and the tragic events and outcomes of those infamous conspirators. Other memorable DVDs I recommend are; PBS Home Video productions of "Abraham and Mary; a house divided" and "Looking for Lincoln."
America will forever remember Lincoln as so many Americans still consider him to be our nation's greatest president.
jameswritesbest (author) on April 09, 2021:
Thank you taking the time to read my article.
MG Singh from UAE on April 08, 2021:
Very informative article. I didn't know about the sad story of his sons. He was certainly a great man.