Essay on The Life Of Abraham Lincoln And The Timely Death Of President Harding

Essay on The Life Of Abraham Lincoln And The Timely Death Of President Harding

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The essays, “Death of Abraham Lincoln” and “The Timely Death of President Harding”, critique society’s tendency to respect the dead and glorify the presidents’ former lives regardless of their characteristics while living.
In February 1861, the people of New York greeted Abraham Lincoln with hostility because they judged him on his presidential platform, but after his death society respected him for his feats. Initially, Lincoln was not well respected by the United States and was scrutinized under the public eye unlike the beloved President Harding. In reality, Lincoln was a much more competent president than Harding during his short term and spread waves of improvement throughout the United States. Regardless of this, people expected Abraham Lincoln to succumb to the public’s ideologies and abandon his controversial platform. Lincoln’s persistence on his platform ostracized him from society as viewed in New York’s reaction towards Lincoln. According to Whitman’s recollection of Abraham Lincoln’s arrival, “the result was a sulky, unbroken silence, such as certainly never before characterized so great a New York crowd” (Whitman 275). While Abraham Lincoln was alive, people did not treat him like a human, this suggests that society does not feel sympathy for public figures that are thriving. Shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s murder, the people of Washington D.C. gained devotion to the president because they pitied his death. After the murder, the audience was immediately swept with emotion and the whole theater fell into a state of confusion and turmoil. The uproar caused by the death of Abraham Lincoln was so great that mobs of people scoured the city searching for the murderer. Whitman characterizes the public’s craze by noting, “t...


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...ll with compliments and statements that would equate him to the American hero. Harding was recognized after his death as “the idol of the man in the street, the apotheosis of the Average American, the exemplar of the triumphant commonplace” (Adams 469). In reality, Harding had a mistress, was friends with America’s greatest crooks, most of which landed in prison, and didn’t have the slightest idea about how to do his job. This suggests that it is a taboo in society to speak ill of the dead and people are willing to say anything to glorify the former life of the deceased whether or not it is true. President Abraham Lincoln and President Warren Harding are very different people, arguably good and bad respectively, but their lives were glorified in the same way. Regardless of the legacy they are leaving behind, deceased public figures are esteemed with the utmost honor.

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