My favorite Lincoln painting
I just watched a great documentary on Abraham Lincoln. In case you haven't heard, but today February 12th 2009 is his 200th birthday.
Looking for Lincoln - Henry Louis Gates Jr. investigates myths surrounding Abraham Lincoln. The next airing will be on PBS 2/15/09, 12am, but check what time it will air in your area.
Here are some interesting things I've learned from the documentary:
- Lincoln suffered major depression
- He visited a prostitute
- Some believe Lincoln was a white supremacist (especially historian Lerone Bennett, Jr.)
- He didn't believe in the equality of the races
- Lincoln didn't really want to free slaves.
- Lincoln wanted to compensate slave owners and ask the newly freed slaves to leave the states and go to colonies in Panama or Liberia
- He only freed the slaves as a "game changer"; a political move to cripple the economy of the south (because they were losing the war)
- The emancipation proclamation only freed slaves in the confederacy. The confederacy wasn't acting under the direction of the union (Lincoln) at that time so they ignored the law (hence it did not free a single slave). The slaves in the union still had to be slaves (yeah, there were still slaves in the north, let us not forget) so I can only assume they were happy but a little pissed off at the same time. The logic is he didn't have authority to take property from law-abiding citizen's but could take property from the southerns who succeeded from the union.
- The Gettysburg Address is seriously one of the greatest speeches ever
- His second inaugural address was spoken before a integrated crowd
- No matter how you feel about Lincoln, he did the right thing
I highly recommend this documentary, it really touches on all aspects of Lincoln's life.
Learn more about Lincoln:
Free Library of Philadelphia - Abraham Lincoln - Librarians from the Social Science and History Department presents a list of resources at the Free Library and online about the 16th President’s life and presidency.
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress - The Library of Congress holds the original papers of Abraham Lincoln and has digitized many of the 20,000 documents and made them available online.
Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln - The Library of Congress’s webpage on the assassination that includes a timeline and an image gallery
Lincoln Bicentennial (1809-2009) - Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth with writings on his life, educational material for children, timelines, a quiz, and booklists of the best Lincoln scholarship.