With the immanent release of the new Lincoln movie by Spielberg, Lincoln admirers and Civil War buffs are counting the days to what promises to be a major movie event. In honor of that–and the fact that my own Lincoln book is due out in January, I thought I would devote the next few blogs to the Great Emancipator.
While my book deals with Lincoln’s belief in and experience of the paranormal, this is but one aspect of this many faceted man. To a large degree, how we perceive the Sixteenth President is as much a reflection of our own biases and beliefs as it is of the man himself.
Thus 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. He was personally opposed to slavery in all its forms; yet his detractors can quote Lincoln saying things that by modern standards would be overtly racist. He 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 he had several sexual encounters and Herndon may have suppressed even more explicit accounts.
The common portrait of Abraham Lincoln, sanitized and sanctified, is almost certainly false. He was a man–a great man–who had foibles and faults; some admirers have thought to protect his memory by suppressing those aspects of him of which they disapproved. My view is similar to his law partner Herndon’s; that Lincoln’s accomplishments were great enough to endure the truth–the whole truth. In following posts we shall explore a few aspects of that truth.