|Hi----My name is Tom Mach, and I've taken a keen interest in Abraham Lincoln ever since I did some intensive research about him for my new book ALL PARTS TOGETHER A good portion of this copyrighted material that I wrote may be found on my website, http://www.AllPartsTogether.com
Here it is
“Abraham Lincoln” may be a household name, but how many of us really know him?
Lincoln was a complex individual, and while he seemed to project an image of being an awkward and crude individual, a kind of “country bumpkin.” But he wasn’t that at all, and he had a keen mind and quick wit. He never stopped studying or learning, and in fact, one lawyer who knew Lincoln well said he frequently saw him carrying school books. Noah Brooks, a Washington reporter, was impressed by Lincoln’s “swiftness and the correctness of his intuitions, rather than by originality and profundity of his reasoning.” He was a deep thinker, preferring to sort things out carefully before making a pronouncement. Lincoln often used humor when he needed to make an important point. He described humor as “an emollient” because it helped him cope with dissension and stress. He agreed that he made jokes even concerning serious matters, but he explained that “I laugh because I must not cry.” Once, when walking with William Steward, his Secretary of State, he noticed a sign in a proprietor’s shop that said “T. R. Strong.” Lincoln turned to Steward and said “T. R. Strong, but coffee are stronger.”
Lincoln’s stance on slavery changed over time. Initially, he would have allowed slavery to exist if it would mean the preservation of the Union. His attitude toward slavery changed, but he didn’t swing toward full emancipation until sometime after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Actually, the Emancipation Proclamation was more symbolic than substantive since it freed the slaves only in the rebel states. While the Confederates obviously paid little heed to this, it did send a signal to France (which was weighing its options about joining the Confederate cause) that it ought not support the cause of states who supported slavery. In All Parts Together, Lincoln is consulting with Kentucky Governor Thomas Bramlette, who objected to the recruitment of colored troops in Kentucky. Lincoln admits to Bramlette as well as to former U.S. Senator Archibald Dixon and Albert Hodges, the editor of the Frankfort Commonwealth, that he had shifted from his policy of not interfering with his stance on slavery in his inaugural address to his later position of emancipation. But Lincoln leans forward in his chair and utters the words that everyone where he now stands on the issue:
“What I am also saying, gentlemen,” he goes on, “is that I am against slavery, and if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.”
Lincoln’s changed attitude toward slavery created many enemies for him. Ward Hill Lamon, the U.S. Marshall for the District of Columbia, as well as a self-appointed bodyguard of the President, feared for Lincoln’s life. In All Parts Together, these fears surface in Lamon’s mind…
Although a Southerner himself, Lamon knew it would not bother his conscience if he had to use a pistol or Bowie knife to protect the President from any Southerner who dared try to harm Mr. Lincoln. He only wished that the President was more concerned about his own safety. In 1860, while he was in his Illinois chamber in Springfield, Lincoln told Lamon of an eerie vision he had experienced while looking in a mirror. Lincoln mentioned seeing a double image of himself—one being a vibrant image and the other taking on a ghostly pale white. He told Lamon it concerned him a little. It seemed to convey the possibility that he would not complete his second term as President. But later, Lincoln dismissed the whole idea as an absurdity.
But my favorite story about Lincoln, which I have recounted in All Parts Together, goes back to July, 1864 when Confederate General Jubal was within calling distance of the nation’s capital and Lincoln rode out to Fort Stevens as Union shells fired against a Confederate position. Lincoln stood up at a parapet to view the action, unconcerned about his own safety when suddenly a voice sputtered:
“Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!”
Lincoln, of course, got down immediately, and he must have been shocked that someone had the audacity to address him in that manner.
When one of the men asked the President if he was all right, Lincoln grinned back at him. “Yes, “ Lincoln said, “but that man who shouted at me just then—is he a Democrat?”
“I don’t know his politics, Mr. President, but that man’s name is Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes.”
“Well, Captain Holmes ought to be congratulated for speaking his mind. We need more men like that in our government.”