Another Tack: Mary and Sara

Mary Todd Lincoln (1861): Would America have benefitted had Abraham Lincoln heartlessly driven her away?

Mary Todd Lincoln (1861): Would America have benefitted had Abraham Lincoln heartlessly driven her away?

Woe to the national leader tested sorely in a merciless existential conflict while at the same time also being worn away by unremitting troubles on the home front. He has no peace of mind, no refuge from corroding acrimony. He never knows when and in what circumstances the other shoe would drop but he expects it come down on his head with a thud.

How, say the cynics baying for their antagonist’s political blood, can he be trusted with the weighty affairs of state when he has an unpredictable liability as his helpmate? So in the guise of exposing a threat to the nation – i.e. the headliner’s distracting wife – the sideswipers distract him all the more.

Poor Abraham Lincoln had to oversee the bloodiest war in American annals without enjoying supportive stability and peace in what should have been his safe haven. Not only were many of his wife Mary’s closest kin Confederates who loathed her husband and took up arms against him, but she was exasperatingly erratic.

The media, such as it was back in the 1860s, loved to bash her. Her spotty public image provided titillating relief from the raging Civil War. Continue reading