Everyone loves to rave about Abraham Lincoln’s role in ending slavery and saving the Union. However, some stories seem to mysteriously vanish when people chat about good ol’ Abe. These less-than-flattering tales about Abe just don’t make it to our school textbooks. Let’s get those stories out of the shadows!
The Beard That Almost Wasn’t
While we now cherish photos of Lincoln’s bearded look, he wasn’t keen on this style until Grace Bedell, an 11-year-old from New York, penned a letter suggesting that whiskers would make him more appealing. Little Grace’s pitch made such an impact that not only did Lincoln grow a beard, but he also personally thanked her. The power of one little girl’s suggestion!
When Lincoln Hit the Mat
Before taking on political opponents, Lincoln tackled foes on the wrestling ground. Standing tall at 6’4 “, young Abe was a formidable opponent with strength that surprised many. His wrestling adventures are even more surprising, considering that he was part of an elite group of top-tier wrestlers.
The Buffalo Blunder
Abe adored his feline friends, even letting them eat at the White House table. But while he pampered his cats, he overlooked the buffaloes. When he signed the Pacific Railway Acts, it allowed for mass buffalo hunting, nearly driving them to extinction. It’s a black mark on the record of a President who’s otherwise known for preservation and protection.
Nightmares with Poe
Abe might have been handling the pressures of a nation, but he was also sneaking in some creepy bedtime reading. Lincoln was reportedly engrossed by the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, especially “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Maybe it was Poe’s grip on the human psyche that fascinated Lincoln, or perhaps it was just his guilty pleasure.
More than Just a Hat-Rack
Lincoln’s hat was his personal briefcase. He stored notes, letters, and even the occasional bill within its lining. It’s said that he’d often jot down thoughts on scraps of paper and tuck them into his hat for later. Given the unpredictable weather, it’s a wonder those notes survived and didn’t turn into papier-mâché on a rainy day!
The Shadows of Melancholy
Behind Lincoln’s steely resolve lay a mind fraught with personal turmoil. Strong evidence suggests he battled with bouts of melancholy, which we’d now label as depression. Despite his significant contributions and leadership, Abe wasn’t a stranger to the dark clouds of the mind, reminding us that even great leaders have their vulnerable moments.
Business? Not His Cup of Tea
Lincoln’s brilliance shone in the political arena, but business? That’s another story. He embarked on entrepreneurial ventures like store ownership, which unfortunately tanked. Twice. While bankruptcy and debts might have deterred others, for Lincoln, they were just stepping stones to his political ascendancy.
The Lazy Lawyer Chronicles
But business wasn’t Lincoln’s only extracurricular activity. He was also an occasional unprepared lawyer. But, indeed, there were moments in his legal career where he’d show up, relying heavily on his charm and wit rather than prepared arguments. Sometimes, it worked, and sometimes, it backfired. But it always made for a good story!
Lincoln’s journey on slavery wasn’t as straightforward as some textbooks suggest. Initially, his primary goal was preserving the Union, even if it meant tolerating slavery. His stance evolved as time progressed, and the war raged on, leading to the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a complex political decision.
Superstitions and Spooky Signs
Mr. President was more in touch with the supernatural than most would guess. He believed in prophetic dreams, and one such dream saw him wandering the White House, following the sounds of sobbing only to discover it was for him, hinting at his end. An eerie premonition of events that were tragically about to unfold.
Almost a Dueling Disaster
When Lincoln wrote an anonymous piece poking fun at James Shields, he probably didn’t expect it to escalate to a duel challenge. Standing at the sandbar of the Mississippi River, both parties were ready to go. Lincoln chose broadswords, hoping this would highlight the absurdity of the problem and help end the dispute. Fortunately, onlookers intervened, making the duel a never-happened event.
Bending Freedom’s Boundaries
The Civil War brought unimaginable pressures, and President Lincoln, trying to preserve the Union, made some decisions that ruffled feathers. The Habeas Corpus suspension was one such act. It meant folks suspected of disloyalty could be arrested without specific charges. While his decision might’ve had strategic value, it’s a side of Lincoln’s leadership that sparks debate to this day.
The Truth-Stretching Times
He might be known as “Honest Abe,” but Lincoln was also a clever politician. There were moments when he adjusted facts or reinterpreted events to suit his narrative or policy. At the end of the day, he was navigating a tumultuous period, making choices that weren’t always black and white. Sometimes, this involved bending the truth just a smidge.
The Parade of Peculiar Hats
Abe’s iconic top hat was just the tip of the iceberg with his eclectic hat collection. From wide-brimmed straw hats that he’d wear during summer days to woolen caps that kept him warm during chilly nights, his headwear choices were both functional and, occasionally, bizarre. Perhaps his frequent hat changes were an early fashion statement.
Skipping School like a Pro
Lincoln’s eloquence and wisdom might paint a picture of a scholarly man, but the reality is that he had a very limited formal education—barely a year. Most of his knowledge was self-taught, from borrowed books and late-night readings. His story proves that formal education doesn’t necessarily mean intelligence or capability.
Abe’s Inventive Instincts
While his political endeavors often take the limelight, Lincoln was also an inventor at heart. He designed a system to help riverboats pass over shallow points without getting stuck. This invention earned him a patent in 1849, making him the only U.S. president with such an honor. Though the invention never really took off, it showcased his innovative side.
Now, here’s a quirky slice of history! Lincoln attended a demonstration where a mechanical man, created by inventor Elisha Gray, danced about. This proto-robot spectacle was a marvel of its time, proving that Abe had a keen interest in technological advancements, even if they leaned toward the peculiar side of things.
Champion of Chess Moves
While most know of Lincoln’s political strategies and maneuvers, few realize he was a chess fan. Sneaking moments in between weighty decisions, he’d engage in matches, challenging friends and advisors. Lincoln believed chess sharpened his mind, teaching patience and foresight.
Terrifying Prospects: 12 Moves Trump Could Unleash If Re-elected in 2024
21 Things MAGA Followers Permanently Destroyed For Everyone Else