Thursday, February 12, 2009

Do you know him, the Abraham Lincoln?

Tad and Abe Lincoln in early 1865. Look at how stylin' Tad looks.
Abraham Lincoln: the only U.S. president with no middle name? Too lazy to find out right now. So, today is his birthday! Born in one of those log cabins* gay Republicans and supporters of William Henry Harrison love so much today in 1809 in Kentucky, it is a glorious bicentennial magical day! And like true Americans, we celebrate through monetary commemoration! Abraham Lincoln's parents were named Thomas and Nancy. Tragically, Nancy died of milk sickness in 1818. This involved contaminated milk-drinking and apparently happened a lot back in the day. His stepmother Sarah Bush Johnston had three children from a previous marriage, but treated Thomas' kids as her own. Abe called her "Mother" and stayed closer to her than to his father for most of his life. They had money problems when Abe was a kid (not really going to school, but being an awesome self-educated genius dude) and moved from Kentucky, to Indiana, to Illinois. 

Lincoln grew to 6'4", enjoyed wrestling (hot), didn't approve of hunting, and was "skilled with an axe," according to the 'Pedia. As a young man, Lincoln identified with the Whig Party, studied for the bar and became a lawyer. He served in the Illinois House, and one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, voicing opposition to Principio President Polk's vanity war in Mexico. He worked hard to elect Taylor in 1848, who then offered him the governorship of Oregon Territory. He turned it down to pursue his political career in Illinois. WHAT-EVER. Just because he then became, like, "the best president EVAR." In 1849, he got some sort of patent involving buoying vessels. I don't really know what that means, but it seemed like a fun fact. Anyway, he started speaking out against that whole unfortunate slavery thing and debated Stephen Douglas, and nerdy kids across the country continue to honor their debating memory.
Sooo gay, right?
Now I am tired of writing paragraphs and will make a bulleted list:
  • He was recruited by the new Republican party for the 1860 election as a moderate. He actually didn't even appear on many Southern ballots.
  • There was that Civil War thing.
  • He totally, like, single-handedly freed the slaves.
  • Also, he gave some speech in Pennsylvania that small children have to memorize for plays in which they wear construction paper top hats.
  • He promoted our favorite drunken future president near the end of the war, U. S. Grant.
  • He suspended civil liberties during the war. But it was okay back then. Totally.
  • He instituted Thanksgiving as a national holiday during his term. THANK YOU FOR TURKEY DAY, MISTER PRESIDENT.
  • During his life, he suffered at various times from frostbite, malaria, smallpox, possibly syphilis and/or polydactyly, fits of depression (a man after my own chemically-imbalanced heart), and possibly something called MEN2B. Also, a fatal gunshot wound.... Too soon?
Anyway, he was totally martyred and is an American saint that appears on money and many monuments.** Lots of shit, including the capitol of Nebraska, are named after him. Also, his wife was supposedly crazy, he had a kid die in the White House, is incredibly intriguing, was a religious heterodox or whatever and was, you know maybe gay. That's why my friend Galynn is in love with him. Also, did you know that people kept trying to steal his body and so his son Robert had it exhumed in 1901 (23 people looked at his body, and apparently it was still recognizable--hot necrophiliac action?!) and re-entombed it, guarded with super-safe steel and concrete and barbed wire and guard dogs or something. So don't even TRY to steal that shit, fuckers. HOORAY FOR ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S 200th BIRTHDAY!!!!

*There is a "symbolic" log cabin at his birthplace memorial. 
**Including ones that commemorate the end of slavery, but usually don't actually feature black people, because how awkward would THAT be? See the book I read for class recently: Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves.

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