Abraham Lincoln yearned to leave a permanent legacy. It is doubtful, however, that Lincoln, even when Confederates surrendered, appreciated just how far he had stirred hearts and minds at home and abroad. Yet his death, just days after Lee laid down his arms at Appomattox, prompted a quite extraordinary explosion of mourning around the world.
Lincoln’s ascension to the status of icon was not smooth and steady. Journalist Horace Greeley predicted in April of 1865 that the sixteenth President’s reputation would grow proportionate to the distance from his own era, and it grew steadily from his death in 1865, but soared dramatically following his Centennial in 1909. The exponential growth of his popularity built into a memorial crescendo with the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in 1922 and his likeness carved onto Mt. Rushmore in 1937. This phenomenon extended to Europe.
On August 21, 1893, a bronze stature of Abraham Lincoln was erected in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland. This article examines the story of this monument and the motivations of the men who erected it, as a way of understanding Lincoln’s legacy on Scottish shores. Further, this gift from America to Scotland can be understood as a symbol of Gilded Age transatlantic relations.
Mathew Brady’s photographs of Lincoln were one of the major sources for press illustrations in both Europe and the United States. Understanding the medium itself—the photography and the photographer—offers an important key to understanding how the Lincoln image was constructed in Europe. This paper also investigates Brady’s link to power and his role as an observer.
Abraham Lincoln has never served as a model for French politicians. He was indeed compared to Carnot, the organizer of the French Revolutionary wars. But when Clemenceau led France in WWI, when De Gaulle stood for France’s independence in WWII, nobody thought of comparing them to Lincoln. This essay analyzes French public opinion during the American Civil War with a focus on Lincoln, based on a study of the few French books published between 1860 and 1865 on the US, diaries, a sample of conservative and republican daily papers, weekly reviews and illustrated newspapers.
The celebrations of the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial revealed the continuing struggle to separate the man from the myth. Lincoln, who has long become an icon of popular culture, as a subject for teaching thus challenges teachers and students alike to divorce the historical figure from his cultural representation(s), which tends to push from view the complexities of his character and his age.