“DEATH, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, FROM WHOSE BOURNE NO MAN RETURNS” —Shakespeare
The Paranormal Presidency deals with Lincoln’s belief in and experience of the paranormal, and while but one aspect of this many faceted man, it is one which has hitherto been overlooked.
To a large degree, how we perceive the Sixteenth President today is as much a reflection of his various biographer’s own biases and beliefs. as it is a reflection of the man himself and his life’s work.
If you peruse even a small fraction of the many biographies of Lincoln, you will find a quite voluminous literature on Lincoln as secular saint and devout Christian–despite the fact that he resisted joining any denomination until the very end of his life.
My book deals with his beliefs relating to his supernatural, irrational side; yet there is also a book out that argues that his love of mathematics caused him to be highly rational. Indeed, a good case can be made for Lincoln being, if not an outright atheist, at the very least a “free thinker” or skeptic, although the evidence is complex and subject to debate.
There is no doubt that Lincoln was personally opposed to slavery. Yet Lincoln’s detractors can quote Lincoln directly, expressing things that by any modern standard would be considered overtly racist.
Lincoln has been portrayed as shy with women to the point one writer even theorized he was a homosexual; yet his former law partner gathered testimony that as a young man long, lanky Abe had several sexual encounters; even so, Herndon may well have suppressed even more explicit accounts of Lincoln’s sexual exploits as a young man.
The bottom line to all this is that the common biographical portrait of Abraham Lincoln, which has been heavily sanitized and sanctified, is almost certainly false. He was a man–a great man–but one who had foibles and faults. Some admirers have thought to protect his memory by suppressing those aspects of which they disapproved. My view is similar to his law partner Herndon’s; that Lincoln’s character and accomplishments was great enough to endure the truth–the whole truth. In following posts we shall explore several aspects of that truth.
One aspect of Lincoln’s character which runs like a golden strand through his life and career, was his fatalism. From a very early age, Abraham believed that he was fated for greatness; but he also believed that he would not long live beyond achieving those great things.
To a large extent, death stalked Lincoln throughout his life and career; it informed all his actions and motivated him to strive to achieve his goals before he should be struck down. To what extent this fatalism was a self-fulfilling prophecy is a moot point. That he believed in his personal destiny is something which I document in depth in my book.