Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln - NeoPopRealism JournalLincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. His law partner said of him, "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest."

He married Mary Todd, and they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity. In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election, but in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860.

As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy.

Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Lincoln won re-election in 1864, as Union military triumphs heralded an end to the war. In his planning for peace, the President was flexible and generous, encouraging Southerners to lay down their arms and join speedily in reunion.
The spirit that guided him was clearly that of his Second Inaugural Address, now inscribed on one wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C.: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... "

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South. The opposite was the result, for with Lincoln's death, the possibility of peace with magnanimity died.

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The left side of Lincoln's face was much smaller than the right, an aberration called cranial facial microsomia. The defect joins a long list of ailments (including smallpox, heart illness and depression) that modern doctors have diagnosed in Lincoln.
Lincoln's contemporaries noted his left eye at times drifted upward independently of his right eye, a condition now termed strabismus. Lincoln's smaller left eye socket may have displaced a muscle controlling vertical movement.

Severe strabismus leads to double vision and can be treated today by surgery.
Lincoln noticed double vision only occasionally and it did not bother him.
Most people's faces are asymmetrical, but Lincoln's case was extreme, with the bony ridge over his left eye rounder and thinner than the right side, and set backward.
Lincoln's appearance was mocked by his political enemies, historians say. The author Nathaniel Hawthorne, a Lincoln fan, wrote of the president's "homely sagacity" and his "sallow, queer, sagacious visage." Hawthorne's description was deemed disrespectful and deleted by a magazine editor, said Daniel Weinberg, owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago.
Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum described the left side of Lincoln's face as primitive, immature and unfinished.
When Lincoln was a boy, he was kicked in the head by a horse. Laser scans can't settle whether the kick or a developmental defect or contributed to Lincoln's lopsided face.
The scanning technique is usually used to create 3-D images of children with cleft lip and palate before and after surgery. Life masks were in vogue in the 1860s, said James Cornelius, curator at the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill.
Lincoln cooperated with sculptors to make them twice, in 1860 before his first presidential nomination, and in 1865, two months before his assassination.

References:
www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/al16.html
www.historyplace.com/lincoln
http://home.att.net/~rjnorton/Lincoln77.html
www.target.com/gp/product/1602700648
www.whitehouse.gov/kids/presidents/abrahamlincoln.html
www.educationalsynthesis.org/famamer/Lincoln.html
http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/alincoln.html
www.enchantedlearning.com/history/us/pres/lincoln/index.shtml

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