Abraham Lincoln is one of America’s most loved presidents. An accomplished lawyer and a great statesman, this former American president is easily one of the most famous people in history. Successfully ending years of civil war is just one of his greatest achievements. Read on to learn more about Abraham Lincoln.
Fact 1: He’s not only a good president, but he’s also an inventor.
- He invented a device to free steamboats from running aground, but it was never manufactured.
- In doing so, he became the only president to receive a Patent.
Fact 2: Although he was a great statesman, he didn’t have a degree.
- Lincoln only had 18 months of formal schooling. Much of his knowledge came from his love of learning.
- A lack of degree didn’t prevent him from practising the law.
Fact 3: He was an advocate of gender equality.
- He expressed a desire for women to have the vote, mentioned as early as 1836.
- It took nearly a century before this happened though, and he was not alive to witness it.
Fact 4: He was a huge animal lover.
- He loved animals so much that he never engaged in hunting or fishing activities.
- He once rescued a pig who was stuck in mud.
Fact 5: He was a wrestler.
- No, he didn’t wear a cape and mask to hide his identity. There are plenty of records and documents of him fighting.
- He joined around 300 matches and lost 1. He was a great wrestler at that time.
Fact 6: He lost on his first attempt to be in the higher office.
- In 1856, he lost his Vice-Presidential bid in a Republican convention.
- This was mainly because he was unpopular, but it gave him the necessary time to prepare for his comeback.
Fact 7: He was never a member of any organised Church.
- Lincoln was a very faithful man. He would read the Bible every day and use the teachings to guide his decisions.
- However, there were no records indicating that he joined any church, or any photos of him regularly attending one.
Fact 8: He had no vices, something that his wife appreciated.
- He didn’t drink or smoke. He was a simple man with a simple taste.
- In the white house, he was known for never touching a single alcoholic drink during his presidency.
Fact 9: He didn’t have any middle name.
- All his life, he only used his two names, ‘Abraham Lincoln’.
- Even in the official White House papers, you won’t find a middle name for him.
Fact 10: Never to be called ‘Abe’.
- He hated that name. He informed everyone working for him to never address him using that abbreviation.
- He prefered to be called his last name, ‘Lincoln’.
Fact 11: We should thank Lincoln for Thanksgiving Day.
- It was first celebrated in the middle of the American Civil War, in 1863.
- After that, it was celebrated yearly to commemorate Lincoln’s attempt to unite the country.
Fact 12: He set up important departments in the country, that we still have today.
- He initiated the National Banking System.
- He was also the one who pushed for the creation of the Department of Agriculture.
Fact 13: He loved his pets so much that they were treated as part of the president’s family.
- His cat ate with them at the White House dinner table.
- His dog’s name was Frido, and his cat’s name was Tabby.
Fact 14: He had simple favourite foods.
- He loved eating oysters so much in the White House, and when travelling, that they became part of the ‘official business’.
- Fruits were always served during his meals, he loved eating them too.
Fact 15: He was the first president to use the telegraph.
- The telegraph was used to send messages across distances.
- He used this to communicate with his Generals and to give instructions.
Fact 16: Lincoln had always had a complicated relationship with his parents.
- At the young age of 9, he lost his Mother to milk poisoning.
- He was also estranged from his Father. He refused to attend his Father’s funeral.
Fact 17: He suffered several losses in his life, which made him a better decision maker and a great president.
- The first business he opened failed miserably, he was forced to shut it down.
- He also argued a case in front of the Supreme Court in 1849 and lost.
Fact 18: Before he became president, he had a less than stellar career in politics.
- He only served 1 term as a member of the Congress.
- He then ran for Senate twice, and lost both times.
Fact 19: He was the first president to be assassinated.
- He was shot on April 14th 1865, by an actor he was a huge fan of, John Wilkes Booth.
- His death caused an uproar, because it was unexpected and he was loved by many.
Fact 20: His pets also suffered tragedy.
- His cat died in a fire in the White House.
- A year after his assassination, his dog was assassinated by a drunk assailant.
Fact 21: He was one of the most fashionable presidents.
- He always wore a hat. He used it to hide his important documents.
- He is also the first president to have a beard.
Fact 22: Although he had no Law degree, he was a well-known lawyer at the time.
- He defended the son of his famous wrestling opponent, against murder charges.
- He also became a judge on a circuit court in Illinois.
Fact 23: He could be considered as a jack-of-all-trades.
- Throughout his life, he engaged in several activities aside from his law and political career.
- He was a licensed bartender, a postmaster, and a general store owner.
Fact 24: Because of him, the US’ Secret Service was formed.
- The idea at first wasn’t to protect the president, but to serve as a countermeasure to the rampant counterfeiting at that time.
- He was also the first president to die, even though he had his own US Secret Service.
Fact 25: At 6’4’’, he was the tallest president ever to serve the US up until now.
- He wore the biggest shoes of all the presidents, size 14.
- His huge build meant that he needed bespoke suits done by the Brooks Brothers.
Fact 26: Due to his tragic childhood, he suffered from depression for the majority of his life.
- He avoided carrying or even touching knives, because he thought that he might misuse it on himself.
- He actually dreamt of being assassinated before his assassination.
Fact 27: There is no doubt that up until now, he was the most popular president of the United States.
- His assassination is still 1 of the hottest topics in history and politics.
- He also has more books written about him, than any other American.
Fact 28: His wife was a known opium addict.
- He married, his then 23-year-old wife, in 1842.
- At the age of 63 she passed away. She was still the First Lady of America when she died.
Fact 29: His coffin was moved 17 times and opened 5 times.
- There have been numerous attempts to rob his graves throughout the years, which is why it was constantly moved around, and checked.
- There was a gang in Chicago who tried to steal his body and ask for a $200,000 ransom.
Fact 30: Although his plans seemed fair, they were sometimes contradictory.
- He believed in fairness, so he pushed for the slaves to have a salary.
- But, he still believed that they did not deserve to vote, be in a jury, or to marry a white person.
Fact 31: He was regarded as one of the greatest public speakers in history.
- One famous speech was so powerful, that the reporters present stopped taking down notes to listen.
- It was then known as the “Lost Speech”, as there was no official record of what was said.
Fact 32: He was also well-known for his humour during speeches.
- This was evident in debates, where he would always use self-deprecating humour to engage the audience.
- He was once accused of having ‘two-faces’. He retorted ‘If I had two faces, wouldn’t I be showing my other face?’
Fact 33: His son, Robert Lincoln, seemed to be a magnet of assassination events.
- Aside from witnessing his own Father’s assassination, he was also present during the assassination of James Garfield.
- Although he didn’t witness the event, he was in the same location when President William McKinley was assassinated.
Fact 34: He almost participated in a duel with a democratic politician in 1842.
- He was given the power to choose a weapon, and he chose a broad sword. Doing so because of the huge reach that particular weapon would give him, thus providing him with an advantage.
- His opponent withdrew moments before the duel, because he saw that Lincoln was good at using a sword.
Fact 35: He has some connections with famous people today.
- He has no known living direct descendants today.
- But, he has some connections to actors Tom Hanks and George Clooney.
Fact 36: President Teddy Roosevelt was a huge fan of him.
- In fact, he was present during the burial of President Lincoln.
- The then six-year-old Teddy Roosevelt, was photographed along with thousands of other mourners, who witnessed President Lincoln’s burial.
Fact 37: He once jumped out of a building to avoid a vote.
- The Democratic Party was trying to remove Illinois State Bank, but they didn’t have the sufficient numbers to do this.
- To rectify the issue, the Democrats gathered potential voters into a room, locked the doors, and forced the voters to vote. This forced Lincoln, and other Republicans, who didn’t want to vote, to jump out of the window to escape.
Fact 38: There could have been wild elephants in the United States.
- The then King of Siam offered to give the United States Government several pairs of wild elephants.
- As an animal advocate, Lincoln turned down the offer, saying the US environment and the climate was not acceptable for the elephants to grow and live in.
Fact 39: Although he was extremely popular, he was also subjected to a lot of public ‘mud-slinging’.
- During his 2 presidential campaigns in 1860 and 1864, his opponents used a lot of name-calling in public events.
- He was called Yahoo, idiot, and Original Gorilla by his opponents and detractors.
Fact 40: He was a well-known orator.
- He was so good that his 273-word Gettysburg Address, was one of the most famous speeches he ever gave.
- But the interesting fact was, he wasn’t supposed to give that speech that day. He was only asked for a few words, hence the famous 273-word speech.
Fact 41: He was known for his comebacks when politicians berated him.
- During one of his political debates in 1864, against Peter Cartwright, he was attacked for having no religion.
- He was asked by Cartwright, “If you didn’t want to go to heaven or hell, where do you intend to go?” To which Lincoln replied, “To Congress.”
Fact 42: He is one of the top US presidents.
- Politicians and historians often rank him as the greatest president of all time.
- When it comes to the practice of law and being a statesman, he was placed 2nd behind George Washington.
Fact 43: He ordered the largest mass execution in the history of the US.
- In 1862, he ordered the execution of 38 Dakota Native Americans, through hanging.
- This was in contrast to his treatment of the Confederate Generals, who were spared from executions, although 400,000 Union soldiers died because of them.
Fact 44: Prime Minister Winston Churchill claimed to see his ghost.
- During the second World War, Prime Minister Churchill woke up in the middle of the night, to be greeted by the ghost of Lincoln.
- Nothing interesting happened, he only smiled and vanished. But Churchill refused to stay in that bedroom after the episode.
Fact 45: He technically ended slavery.
- In 1863, he signed the executive order known as, ‘Emancipation Proclamation’, changing the status of thousands of slaves in the country.
- This order was the reason for the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865, banning slavery all over the country.
Fact 46: There was a town in Illinois named after him, even before he became a president.
- In 1863, he attended a christening in the town that was using his name.
- He graced the event by cracking two watermelons. This resulted in the whole event being named, the Watermelon Christening.
Fact 47: He established the first-ever Air Force in the country.
- This was known as Balloon Force. He suggested that hot air balloons could be used against the Confederate forces.
- It was so unsuccessful that it was dismantled even before the war was finished.
Fact 48: Even if Lincoln was assassinated today, modern science would not be able to reverse the many issues caused by his assassination.
- Doctors today might be able to save his life, but he would remain in a vegetative state.
- He would likely suffer from permanent damage, paralysis all over his body, and difficulty speaking and writing. This would prevent him completing his president duties.
Fact 49: His short stint as a bartender was often a source of humorous attacks against him.
- He built his first bar with a friend. It was known as, ‘Berry & Lincoln’ but it closed due to mounting debts.
- It was always used against him, people would call him an ineffective manager, and said that he probably had an alcohol problem, although he avoided drinking.
Fact 50: He had a lousy security guard.
- The guard assigned to him, once left him alone to go and drink in a pub. Coincidentally, he bumped into John Wilkes there, the assassin who took Lincoln’s life.
- This guard had a long history of neglect during duty, but he wasn’t fired after the assassination. It took several years before he was let go.