In this research paper I am going to examine some of the mythology surrounding Abraham Lincoln, find out where some of these myths came from and discover if there is any truth in them. I am going to discuss four myths about Abraham Lincoln: “Honest Abe,” “Melancholy president or clinically depressed man,” “The Great Emancipator,” and “The Gay Lincoln Myth.” I will also discuss historians’ points of views and first-hand accounts about these myths, including Lincoln’s opinions in his own words if it is appropriate. Finally I will discuss how society views him today in movies and television and discuss if mythicizing a historical figure is harmful to the way we perceive history.
Every historian can agree that Abraham Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky ("Abraham Linco...
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.... The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free a single slave.
Most revisionist Historians like Lerone Bennett and Ludwell Johnson, even believe that Lincoln was a “reluctant emancipator” (qtd. Zilversmit) and used a letter that Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley to back up their ideas that stated “I would save the Union. … If I could save the Union without freeing any slave” (“Primary Sources”) Opposed to the revisionist view, historians like Stephen B. Oats and Constitutional historian Herman Belz, believe it “was the most revolutionary measure ever to come from an American president up to that time”
(qtd. Zilversmit). Oates and Belz focus on the idea that it inspired abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglass, and slaves, knowing that slavery will be coming to the end soon.
Although Abraham Lincoln didn’t end slavery the idea that he hated it so much inspired some
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