Monday, August 06, 2012
I have over the years always enjoyed books on Lincoln. I have found that it was interesting to learn things about him. But what I have always wondered is..... Who was Abraham Lincoln?
He is not what we read about, he has become a creation of some over zealous historians. There are more books about Lincoln by the same boring authors than you can count stars in the sky.
Lincoln is a God in American myth. He was a man who was not very clean, bathing was not very important would wear rather lousy looking and probably often worn clothes and suffered terribly with constipation and gas.
He was not the clean looking man that Buchanan had been. Buchanan would bath often, but also he had other problems and that was his political office. Buchanan was said to look like a very well washed old lady while Lincoln looked like the and probably smelled like the frontier in which he was from.
Cigar smoke was everywhere and the smell of old oysters and the winds outside brought in the smell of the stagnate ponds outside in which were cows and pigs and many other types of trash and waste were everywhere bringing on ghastly smells and disease.
It must of smelled terrible in the White House in those days. All the smelly spittoons filled with tobacco juice in them and around them. No body bathed and I am sure all around there smelled of the organic and the non-organic. now we can take away all the romantic notions of how pretty it was.
Lincoln was a very calculating politician, did not mind lying about anything he felt like lying about. He was a much better liar than most politicians. Much of what he talked about was questionable. But it was clever and entertaining.
No one ever lied more beautifully than Lincoln. He learned to use religion as a good tool to gain control of the simple. He realized he had the gift of the written word and used it to his uttermost advantage.
He was not too good a judge on many matters but he was a good learner. He would in time become a master at them. He knew how to write for the strongest and longest effect and used that quality often.
He could also write in such a way to confuse everyone. This was part of his strength as it allowed him leeway to go one way or the other. He was very aware of the power of his image and was photographed often. He was also a great thinker when it came to innovation and free thought. He loved to make fun of religion and made a good farce of it often till he became famous and then he used the knowledge he had, to make him seem to be the very mouthpiece of the creator.
His Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was pure genius. It was the ultimate of double talk. It said so much and did so little and made half the people think it did something and the other half that it would. He proved you can fool all the people all the time. But I have to admit that this document of 1863 was perhaps the greatest ever written by a President. And it did nothing, but did everything!
He certainly wasn't always that smart. He told a room full of free blacks that came to see him that they should leave the country and move to areas he was working on for relocation. I am sure they all were shocked by this. But that was Lincoln. He was not at all above saying that the black man was not equal to the white. That they should not marry others, that they should leave the country. Cause very much like others in the United States he was not a fan of the blacks either. Even though we make him seem so. He wanted them out of the country. Sadly we keep making the Civil War over slavery. That was part of it of course, but much more a part of it was money and states rights.
I have been reading all of the messages between the United States House of Representatives and the state of South Carolina in 1860 and early 61 (Published by the House in 1861) and you will see it was much more about money and control than slavery. The North did not want the slaves either. So we have white washed the whole thing.
With Lincoln, sadly half of what we think he said, he did. Sadly also, lot of what we think he did say, he didn't. Sadly a lot of what we wish he did or have said in a wishful manner, is now sadly looked on as fact.
Lincoln is myth pure and simple.
To be honest, if he was not shot in 1865, there would not be this Greek chorus of PhD's singing his praises. Sadly and forever quoting each other. He is a cash cow to many of them. Also many of them like love sick girls, refuse to see his faults, or know better than to tell the whole truth.
Cause had he lived, there would be black days ahead with his silly 10% plan. Which if you think about it was really nothing the Congress would have stood for. There had been talk in Congress about impeachment of Lincoln, but it was stilled by his assassination which created the almost religious image of him.
It probably would have been very funny to him to see that a man who was not at all religious, was made into an American religious deity.
But had he lived I am sure his image would not be as it is today, for he has become America's Jesus. He was shot on Good Friday and died for the Nations Sins. In a sense he rose again and sits on the right hand side of the father..George Washington.
He was ruthless, he could be petty, he would gladly make your life less happy to gain a political foothold. He was pure and simple a very aggressive politician. Whatever he had to do, what he needed to do, he did.
This awful nonsense of the almost religious quality of his praise is scary. He was in reality nothing like what he has been crafted into. When you read these love letters, which are the books about him you almost get the feeling he levitates into a room.
The best book ever written about Lincoln was by his law partner. He knew him, he knew he had some mental problems, he knew he has some emotional problems, he knew he had some medical problems.
He knew he would babble into mirrors at times, was worried about by his friends when his lover died and kept all knifes away from him as was suicidal. That he was rather wimpy when dealing with his wife. That he had tremendous amounts of depression and morbid scariness about himself. He loved to talk about death, his death, others death, and read many a piece about death. Death seemed to give him life. he loved to make fun of religion, marriage, homosexuality, politics, virgins, blacks, and did enjoy telling many jokes about farting.
Was very careful about what political interests could gain him popularity. He latched on to slavery and saw that as a way to rise politically. He was a real person. He had lots of flaws,he was rather nutty at times. He would often just loose track of where he was and go into a trance of sorts. Lots of people are like this. He was far more common than what we make him into. He was obviously not all there. Can you imagine someone like this running today? We had trouble with something as simple as Eagleton's mental health issues in 1972.
I do not think he was gay. I do not think of him as being very sexual. But he was at times. I agree with his partner that he caught a few things in whore houses. He was a man of powerful passions and I am sure that manifested sexually too.
For so many years a lot of these writers tried their best to avoid much of what was written by his partner, and they still do, cause it does not make him seem a God. Cause he wasn't. He was man with a lots of flaws. He was smart, but certainly not at all honest.
To be honest Lincoln lied about his youth, friends, wife, family, father, slavery, his desire to be President, the war, Ft Sumter, his feelings about people, his desire to free the slaves, his feelings about his contemporaries, about his simple nature, and we could go on for a while. Of course he wasn't honest. He was a slippery politician first and as honest as Warren G Harding. Perhaps that is complement, as I feel Harding was pretty honest.
But in all of these books and God knows upcoming movie of Lincoln in which he will be a God again.. We will be treated to the same old gruel and see what the historians of Lincoln wanted him to be. I like the real person better. But that does not sell books or create a good hero worship. Lastly as I said before Lincoln is big money. There are lots of Lincolns around most looking so unlike him it is scary. I have gone to talks with noted historians saying over and over again the same dribble. I did enjoy reading the latest naughty Lincoln books stating he was ruthless and nothing like he was. The Real Lincoln was enjoyable basically for the fact it was not the same nonsense told over and over. I would say that 70% of these book show Lincoln more for what he was. 30% is incorrect. I think I can say the same about the Greek chorus of Ph'Ds A good 70 - 30 percent margin of correct and error. So in honesty Abraham Lincoln is as real as we have allowed him to be. Which means we really do not know what he was really like. We have no idea what he thought...He kept no diaries, he made sure he remained mysterious, and only a few really knew him. Most thought they did and were wrong. Every paper that Robert Lincoln could find that made his father seem human he seemed to destroy. Even the Hay - Nicolay biography was done to please Robert Lincoln, not tell the whole story. All said after the actions of many a zealous historian we really do not know who Lincoln was.
In 2015 will be the 150th anniversary of his beatification. You can be sure anyone who can find a way to make a buck out of him will and that chorus of Ph'Ds will be singing even louder! And quoting each other even more.
All of these self serving books that have come out about him and create this glorification. They don't come close the best book written by his friend and law partner Billy Herndon. Many hate the book cause it is just a little too honest!
Funny I have to use that word.