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Useful Notes: Abraham Lincoln
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Abe Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 — April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States between 1861 and 1865. That guy who won the The American Civil War, proclaimed the slaves free, delivered the Gettysburg Address, and was born in a log cabin which he built with his own two hands. (Old joke.)

He immediately followed James Buchanan and preceded Andrew Johnson. He's also known for wearing a top hat and being impressively tall (tied with Lyndon Johnson for tallest president ever, at 6'4"). When he took direct control of the Union army for a brief time, he showed himself to be a talented military strategist as well.

A genial and charming speaker, Lincoln had an uncanny ability to explain complex issues in layman's terms, and his speeches are among the most famous in American history. Considered an untested and possibly radical figure, he is famous for Growing the Beard in office. In many ways he's the only post-Founding Fathers/ pre-Teddy Roosevelt President who's thought of at all. He is almost universally considered to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) Presidents in American history.

It is also relevant, if somewhat uncomfortable to admit, that Lincoln was by today's standards a racist. He considered blacks to be inferior to whites. Though he was abolitionist, he was willing at least in principle to allow slavery to continue, if only because it was constitutionally protected in established states, believing that it would end on its own if it could be kept from spreading. Early in his Presidency he said that he would back any solution to the slavery question that preserved the Union, whether it was freeing all the slaves, freeing none of them, or freeing some and leaving others enslaved. but he had already chosen option 1 by then apart from exempting the Border States initially. His anti-slavery views became stronger over time, however, eventually crystallizing in two famous quotes: "In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free," and "Whenever I hear anyone arguing over slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."

His memorial in DC is a very popular spot for "inspirational" moments in media, and is much hardier than most other memorials. He is also the only non-British Empire citizen to have a statue in Parliament Square in London.

Was famously born in a log cabin, but not the one you can get tours of (despite what the guides will tell you); that one was built 8 years after he was born. As Stephen Fry once put it, it is dangerously close to the legendary schoolboy gaffe quoted above.

It is also said that his ghost haunts The White House. His presence is sometimes made clear by appearing, if briefly, before some Presidents and other guests during times of great crisis(such as a kung fu fight against Richard Nixon).

Incidentally, in contrast to most modern-day Badass Baritone depictions, Lincoln's voice was actually somewhat high-pitched and nasal. For something approaching what's considered to be more accurate, consider this feature, filmed for Time Magazine. Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor to break away from the deep-voiced tradition with his portrayal of the 16th President in 2012's Lincoln; this alone was considered a huge expose, nevermind that pesky 'obstruction of justice' stuff.

The last living person to witness Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theater was Samuel J. Seymour, who sat in the balcony box across from the Lincolns at age five, and appeared on the game show ''I've Got A Secret'' to relate his story 91 years later in 1956. He died several months later.

One of the things which allegedly mellowed Lincoln out on the issue of race was his unlikely friendship with escaped slave and civil rights leader Frederick Douglass, along with the extreme polarization of the public on the issue, as hundreds of thousands died During the War. After unexpectedly winning re-election in a stunning turnaround, in his Second Inaugural Address (only slightly longer than the one at Gettysburg) Lincoln famously delivered one of the greatest speeches of all time.

    Lincoln's Speech (excerpt) 
All knew that (slavery) was somehow the cause of the war... It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. ..."Woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come... and that He gives to (us) this terrible war as the woe due... Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether!"

Note that he went on to say:

The war was won weeks later. Coincidence? Probably.

Fact: Abraham Lincoln can and, if needed, will, beat you in a fight. Even if you're Batman. Or Bigfoot. In some ways, Abraham Lincoln is almost as much a Memetic Badass as Chuck Norris. In fact, this is where you can go to watch them have a rap battle. Some would count him as the only president to be more Badass than Theodore Roosevelt (and maybe Andrew Jackson, if you ignore the politics). On the other hand, Cracked doesn't even count him among the top five, though the same author later acknowledged the oversight and made an article devoted strictly to Lincoln called Abraham Lincoln: Portrait Of A Crazy Badass. It really depends on how much weight you give the Badass Beard.

Also Fact: In 1842 Abraham Lincoln was once challenged to a duel by political rival, state auditor James Shields. In dueling, the challenged party selects the place of the duel, and the weapons to be used. Since Lincoln felt the situation was ridiculous he stated that he wanted to use "Cavalry Broadswords of the largest size". He also added that he wanted the duel to be carried out in a pit 10 feet wide by 12 feet deep with a large wooden plank dividing the square in which no man was allowed to set foot over. Shields was going to go through with it, but then saw Lincoln clearing branches with a broadsword and realized how insane the situation had become and backed down.
  • NB: The fencing treatise "By the Sword" notes that Lincoln's apparently ridiculous rules for the duel belie a cunning tactician's mind: By choosing long, heavy weapons and dividing the dueling ground to prevent his opponent from closing distance, the much taller Lincoln ensured that he—with his nearly 6 inch longer reach—could attack with impunity and/or (more likely) effectively stalemate the duel without drawing blood.
  • NBB: Lincoln felt the situation was so ridiculous that, when Shields first challenged Lincoln to choose the duelling weapons, Lincoln initially chose "cow pies." Lincoln only switched to broadswords when Shields rejected this idea.
  • This has been called one of the most bizarre episodes in Lincoln's life, involving his using a female persona (with input from Mary and a friend) to write a witty letter for a widely read Illinois paper, mocking Shields' personal appearance and reputation with the ladies along with his policies. A followup letter — actually by the women — caused Shields to challenge.
    Dear girls, it is distressing, but I cannot marry you all. Too well I know how much you suffer, but do, do remember, it is not my fault that I am so handsome and so interesting.
  • Some historians think that Lincoln and Shields set this up to get publicity.

Also Also Fact: Abraham Lincoln, 140 years before its first usage by The Undertaker, frickin' invented the chokeslam. During his youth as a "wrassler", one of Lincoln's opponents made the mistake of stomping on Lincoln's instep with the heel of his boot. As recounted by noted Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg, "This exasperated Lincoln so that he lost his temper, lifted Armstrong up by the throat and off the ground, shook him like a rag, and then slammed him to a hard fall, flat on his back."note  Both men would become good friends.

Lincoln was also the other kind of inventor, also held a patent for a device intended to help boats navigate shallows. He was also a licensed bartender and co-owned a pub for a while before entering politics. Thus when Lincoln quipped that he wished he could serve all his generals what his skilled General Ulysses S. Grant was drinking, he was in a position where he could have done that legally and literally.

Lincoln is also one of the few presidents to have an aircraft carrier named after him. As well as the capital of Nebraska, a make of luxury car, and toy logs.

Tropes relating to President Lincoln:

  • The American Civil War: Dominated his presidency completely.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Very, very early in his career, which started with a run for the Illinois state legislature. People respected him as much for his ability to break up crowd fights as for his short, clear speeches.
  • Badass
    • Badass Baritone: Subverted. He had an unusually squeaky, high-pitched voice.
    • Badass Beard: He grew it after a young girl wrote him and said he would look better with one.
    • Badass Bookworm: Famously learned how to read with books he borrowed from neighbors, and learned arithmetic on the back of a shovel while doing farm work.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: He was often credited with saying, "As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless." The quote was published 20 years after his death, and his secretary immediately denounced it as a fraud. But it was used a lot in the 1896 presidential election, and came to be seen as fact. That said, it is true that Lincoln was not entirely comfortable with the rise of the corporate business elite in his time.
    • Another quote usually attributed to Lincoln is "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time." However, there is no hard proof that he ever truly said it, although again it is consonant with some things he said or clearly believed.
    • A bit of Memetic Mutation attributes to him a quote about the dangers of trusting historical quotes on the internet.
  • The Big Guy: He is the tallest president at 6"4". It is alleged that his height, which was unusual for his era, was due to an undiagnosed condition known as Multiple Endocrine Neoplisia (MEN).
  • Bi the Way: Some biographers allege that Lincoln was occasionally caught in bed with army officers during the course of the war, while his wife was in a near catatonic state after the death of their son. These are very disputed.
  • The Chessmaster: He worked behind the scenes of every major government decision during his presidency. Nothing got by him.
    • While he said that he would leave slavery in place if it would get the Union back together, he was still against the practice and made many subtle moves, waiting for just the right time to propose the abolishment of slavery.
  • Dark Horse Victory: More or less. He wasn't really well-known until his debates with Douglas in 1858. (And even then, he was largely known as "That guy who debated Douglas.", as Douglas still won re-election.)
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lincoln's brand of witty, self-deprecating humor is probably one of the most celebrated of any President's.
    • At one point, a political opponent accused him of being two-faced, to which Lincoln replied "If I was two-faced, do you think that I would be wearing this one?"
    • A story that Lincoln told about his youth had a man approach him with a gun and tell him that he had been searching for the ugliest man in the state in order to kill him. The future President looked at the man and said "sir, if I am uglier then you, then pull that trigger!"
    • Lincoln took a few well-documented jabs at the series of ineffective military commanders that led the union army prior to U.S. Grant's arrival. Once telling the overly-cautious General George McClellan: "If you are not using the army, I should like to borrow it for a short while."
      • McClellan, fed up with Lincoln's constant demands for updates on the war, sent him a telegram, saying he had found two cows, and asking what to do with them. Lincoln answered "Milk them, George."
    • After he got wind of a comment made by General Joe Hooker that what the country really needed was a dictator, Lincoln responded by writing Hooker a letter in which he said "What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship."
    • In the same general period, after Grant's army was caught by a surprise attack and suffered severe casualties before driving off the Confederates, there were many calls for Grant's expulsion. Lincoln famously replied: "I can't spare this man, he fights."
    • Later, when Grant turned out to be the best general Lincoln had in his military and certain people criticized him as a drunk, Lincoln replied, "Find out what he's drinking and send a case to my other generals."note 
  • The Determinator: Let's look at the man's record: He was born into a poor family. He only had about eighteen months of formal schooling, becoming what he was almost entirely by self-education. His mother died when he was young, and he was never close to his father. As an adult, he tried to run for state assembly. He lost. He later opened a store with a partner. It failed, and went bankrupt. He became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was considered a failure as a member of that group, and didn’t try to run for a second term. He tried to run for vice president. He lost the nomination to someone else. Yet, he never gave up, and after all that, he had a LOT to show for it.
    • Absolutely refused to allow the Union to break up without a fight, and—despite a turbulent public mood, internal riots, General McClellan's attempt to unseat him in 1864, and an incident that almost resulted in Britain siding with the Confederacy—ultimately succeeded in navigating through the crisis and reunited the States of America, and managed to ban slavery along the way with the passage of the 13th Amendment.
  • Folk Hero: A Real Life one.
  • Genius Bruiser: Famously he was a self-taught frontier lawyer, who in his youth did all the hard manual labor that living on the frontier required. He also used to wrestle in his younger days, and may very well have invented the choke-slam!
  • Gold Digger: The fact that Mary Todd Lincoln's family was one of the wealthiest in Lexington probably didn't hurt. Granted, in Lincoln's day, marriage for money and/or status was a simple matter of pragmatism for both sexes.
  • Henpecked Husband: Apparently, Mary Todd was prone to throwing dishes at her husband, among other abuses.
  • Honor Before Reason: According to Lincoln the Unknown, Lincoln only married Marry Todd because he felt obligated. In his heart, he did not love her. (Though that may have changed in the latter years of their marriage.) When Lincoln was getting dressed for his wedding, a young boy asked where he was going. Lincoln replied "To hell, I suppose."
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Abe appointed John Pope to command the army even though he and the rest of his family were liars and braggarts but he said "There's no reason a liar and a braggart can't make a good general". John Pope then proceeded to lose at Second Bull Run.
  • Ideal Hero
  • Large and in Charge: Standing at 6'4, he's the tallest US president to date.
  • Magnum Opus: The Gettysburg Address is the most quoted and acclaimed speech in American history.
  • Nice Hat: He's well-known for his stovepipe hat, which at least during his tenure as a public servant would also be a Hat Of Authority.
  • Necessary Evil: When Maryland threatened to secede to the confederacy - an act that would have left Washington DC in enemy territory - Lincoln defied the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (the author of the notorious Dred Scott decision, incidentally) and suspended habeas corpus to arrest the Maryland secessionist John Merryman to prevent the decision from being made. Any other time, this would have been an impeachable offense, but it was necessary during the crisis.
  • Noble Bigot: Like many people of his time.
  • One Head Taller / Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Lincoln was 6'4'', his wife was around five feet tall.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: In fiction, Lincoln's voice is almost always depicted as deep and sonorous; in truth, he had a high and nasal voice. (However, the 2012 film was remarkable in that it gave a more realistic version of his voice.)
  • Red Baron: The Great Emancipator.
  • Sad Clown
    I laugh because I must not weep.
  • Simple Country Lawyer: Well, no. A common myth portrays his early career in law as one (probably to emphasize his humble beginnings and honesty) but the truth is, he might have started that way, but he built his firm into a ruthless business-law juggernaut which cornered the market in Springfield. Lincoln was actually more akin to a modern corporate lawyer; he was placed on retainer by Illinois Central Railroad in 1853, he later demanded $2000 (about the equivalent of $54,380 today) per case, and, when they refused to pay, took them to court and won $5000 ($135,950 today). He also once offered to desert them and represent their opponents if they could match his fee. He was basically the Franzsisek von Karma of the antebellum legal world.
  • Simple Yet Awesome: His famous Gettysburg Address was originally told following a very long, boring speech by another speaker at the same event, and it's brevity and simplicity made it stand out as possibly the greatest speech he ever made. An Urban Legend claims he actually wrote it during the train ride to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope, but that has never been proven.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The letters Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln exchanged while he was a Congressman in DC and she was with her family in Lexington are surprisingly witty and, at times, flirtatious. They evince the couple's apparent mutual fondness for wordplay and range from expert Passive-Aggressive Kombat to affectionate Witty Banter. They did seem to genuinely miss one another.
  • Spooky Seance: Mary Lincoln attended some, to talk to her dead children. Abe came along a few times, mostly out of curiosity. He personally consulted teenage medium Nettie Colburn Mayne once, about the timing for release of the (already written) Emancipation Proclamation.
  • What Could Have Been: How would Reconstruction have turned out if he had not died? Historians have debated this question for over a century.
    • On a more personal note, Lincoln fell deeply in love with Ann Rutledge in his 20's. She loved him too, but sadly she died of typhoid. Lincoln mourned her for years afterwards. He wound up marrying Mary Todd, who was a much poorer match for him personally.
  • You Are Not My Father: Zigzagged; his relationship with his father Thomas was unpleasant. After his mother died, Lincoln's relationship with his father suffered, and as Thomas Lincoln's health deteriorated, he became stricter and harsher upon his son; historian Michael Burlingame claimed "Lincoln was like a slave to his father." While Lincoln continued to support him as an adult, he distanced himself from his father; the elder Lincoln did not attend his wedding and never met his son's wife or children. When Thomas Lincoln was on his deathbed, Abraham would not attend his funeral, but wrote to his stepbrother, "Say to him that if we could meet now, it is doubtful whether it would not be more painful than pleasant; but that if it be his lot to go now, he will soon have a joyous meeting with many loved ones gone before; and where the rest of us, through the help of God, hope ere-long to join them."

Honest Abe in fiction:


  • One of Bob Newhart's early routines, "Abraham Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue", satirically juxtaposes the cynical marketing of modern political candidates with Lincoln's honesty.
  • Negativland's Lincoln Robot — a satire on the Disney Animatronic version.
  • The Conception Corporation had a skit where Edward R. Murrow did on-the-spot reports from Heaven. When he came upon Lincoln, he asked him what he thought of the current (circa 1970) U.S. situation.
    Lincoln. I think it's a mess. The niggers are —
    Murrow. Thank you, Abe.

Comic Books

Fan Works

  • Lincoln is one of Bill and Ted's collection of historical figures in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
  • The whacked-out Chinese movie Fantasy Mission Force opens with several World War II generals being captured. One of them is Lincoln. And he clearly identifies himself as such - even in the original Chinese.
  • In 1935's The Littlest Rebel, Virgie (Shirley Temple) visits Lincoln (Frank Mc_Glynn Sr.) asking him to pardon her dad and his C.O., who are falsely accused of spying and sentenced to death.
  • In the 1939 film, Young Mr. Lincoln, he's portrayed by Henry Fonda.
  • Tyler Durden of Fight Club wants to fight him, because he's a big guy, with big reach. And besides, skinny guys fight 'til they're burger. He becomes an unlockable character in the Video Game version.
  • In Gangs of New York, an actor portrays him in a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin and he is greeted with jeers, food throwing, and shouts of "Down with the Union!" This is a pretty good reflection of how working-class New Yorkers actually felt about President Lincoln; New York City mayor Fernando Wood even proposed that the city secede from the Union and become an independent country.
  • Raymond Massey had a popular, Oscar-nominated turn as Lincoln in the 1940 film Abe Lincoln in Illinois. If you ever see Massey in anything and think "that guy sounds like Abraham Lincoln", that's because the popular conception of Lincoln's molasses-like voice stems from Massey's performance.
  • A major character, and a surprisingly sympathetic one, in the outrageously racist 1915 film Birth of a Nation.
  • In Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian the statue from the Lincoln Memorial comes to life.
  • In the Wild Wild West movie, Dr. Loveless makes a grand appearance at his party by hiding inside a statue of Lincoln, whose head explodes.
  • In CSA: The Confederate States of America, he loses the Civil War. He attempts to flee to Canada with Harriet Tubman disguised as a black man, but is captured by Confederate forces. After a two year imprisonment, Jefferson Davis, hoping to ease tension in the newly conqured North, pardons him and exiles him to Canada, where he dies a lonely man in the early 1900s. All history remembers him for is being the man that lost "the War of Northern Agression".
  • In Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Jefferson Smith goes to the Lincoln Memorial several times. Visits to the Lincoln Memorial are practically a Trope in their own right.
  • At the climax of Black Dynamite, when Richard Nixon grabs John Wilkes Booth's pistol to shoot BD, the ghost of Lincoln appears and kung-fus the gun out of Nixon's hand.
  • In The Master of Disguise, Pistachio's grandfather tells about how the Disguisey family made impact on history. Abraham Lincoln was such a boring speaker, so a disguised Lincoln helped him become elected president by partying and dancing while I Like to Move It by Reel to Real is played.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based on the book of the same name, portrays him as a secret vampire hunter.
  • Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies is a Mockbuster made by The Asylum about a secret mission where Abe hunts the undead.
  • He's played by Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's long-gestating biopic Lincoln, opposite Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Lincoln's son, Robert, and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. Day-Lewis won an Academy Award for his performance.
  • In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Lincoln appears with a variety of other dead characters when the narrator snidely suggests that the film just resurrect everyone.
  • At the end of Happy Gilmore, he's seen alongside the alligator that ate Chubbs' hand and Chubbs himself waving at Happy from Heaven.
  • In the 1994 film Quiz Show, University professor Charles Lincoln Van Doren achieves fame by winning a quiz show but secretly was getting the answers in advance. A journalist asks Van Doren how would Honest Abe (sic.) fare in a quiz show - which disturbs Van Doren, because Van Doren was being dishonest.

  • In a few of the Flashman books, Lincoln appears as a rare example of a Magnificent Bastard with completely good motives who also has some similarity with the "Atticus Finch" "simple country lawyer" type. He is notable as one of the few characters who sees right through Flashman.
  • Gore Vidal's bestselling historical novel Lincoln takes place over the span of the Civil War. The book doesn't presume to know what Lincoln is thinking, instead switching between the perspectives of his advisers (plus John Wilkes Booth's accomplice). The author caught the ire of historians for including third-party anecdotes regarding Abe's bout with syphilis, among other things. Vidal's rebuttal was that U.S. Historians tend to gloss over the imperfections of their idols, leaving us with only a faint impression of the men they really were.
  • One of the plots in the NUMA Series book Sahara concerns Lincoln.
  • In the Alternate History novel How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove, Lincoln is a main character (having been a one-term president after losing the Civil War). Inspired by the writings of Marx, Lincoln becomes a travelling speaker lecturing about the rights of man and the benefits of socialism. Lincoln also leads a faction of the splintering Republican Party into defecting to the Socialist Party, causing the Socialists to eventually eclipse the Republicans as one of the nation's two major political parties.
    • Lincoln plays a smaller part in Turtledove's The Guns of the South, where he surrenders after the Confederates, equipped with AK-47s by time travelers, win the war. The next (and last) time we see him is April 15, 1865, where he delivers a speech trying to convince Kentucky to stay with the United States; this date is, as pointed out later in the book, the day he was assassinated in the regular timeline.
  • In the novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter he...well, you can probably work out the rest.
  • Lincoln's Dreams, a novel by Connie Willis, has Lincoln's dreams of his own assassination as a major plot point.
  • Oscar Lewis' novella The Lost Years portrays a never-named president known affectionately by his staff as "The Shogun", who is badly wounded at Ford's Theater but recovers. He completes his second term, returns to Illinois and later visits California. An encounter with a little girl who is being ostracized because her father fought for the South turns into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. (Lincoln was actually known by his staff as "Taikun", the polite term of address for a real shogun.)
  • Walt Whitman wrote his famous poem "O Captain! My Captain!" about Lincoln's death.
  • Likewise, Henrik Ibsen made a poem called The Murder of Abraham Lincoln, commenting on Exactly that. Possibly the angriest poem Ibsen ever wrote.

Live-Action TV
  • In one episode of Supernews, an animated sketch involved President Obama, after running out of ideas on how to fix the economy, having his entire cabinet dig up Abe's body, insert all the stem cells they could find, and see what happened. He beat up the head of AIG.
  • Abraham Lincoln was summoned to take part in a duel to the death between good and bad factions in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Savage Curtain". Sadly, he was among the first to die.
  • From the opening of Police Squad!: "...And Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln!", which leads to a brief shot of Lincoln firing back at John Wilkes Booth.
  • Lincoln appears briefly in two episodes of the original Twilight Zone set during the The American Civil War, "Back There" and "The Passersby".
  • A whole episode of Touched by an Angel features his assassination, with Monica and Tess working as his seamstresses and Andrew meeting up with and trying to redeem John Wilkes Booth.
  • Hal Holbrook won an Emmy for his performance as Lincoln in the miniseries Sandburg's Lincoln, and later reprised the part for the miniseries North and South and North and South: Book II.
  • Gregory Peck played Lincoln in the miniseries The Blue and the Grey.
  • Sam Waterston earned considerable acclaim for his performance as Lincoln in the 1988 miniseries Gore Vidal's Lincoln, based on the abovementioned novel.
  • Waterston was also the voice of Lincoln in Ken Burns' The Civil War.
  • One of Johnny Carson's monologues on The Tonight Show essentially involved puns based on "Lincoln".
    "Every Lincoln's Birthday reminds me of my old girlfriend back in Nebraska...Gina Statutory. She went to Lincoln High, and was voted Miss Lincoln...because every guy in school took a shot at her in the balcony."
  • On Late Night with Conan O'Brien, a common skit involved Conan checking out wacky (and obviously fake) channels from all around the world. One of the most memorable of these channels is the Abraham Lincoln Money Shot Channel, which is an entire channel devoted to, you guessed it, shots of Honest Abe, a-hem, finishing his business.
  • The Red Dwarf episode "Meltdown" features waxwork creations representing various famous people from history; one of these is Lincoln.
  • In Babylon 5, when Centauri Vir Cotto sets up an "underground railway" of sorts to smuggle Narns off their occupied homeworld, he creates a fake Centauri noble named "Abrahamo Lincolni" to expedite matters. The name fools the other Centauri (most of whom don't know anything about Earth history), but the humans who run across it burst out laughing.
    • Sheridan's "good luck speech", which he gave to his men each time he assumed a new command, contained a quote from a noted speech given by President Lincoln to Congress in 1862.
    • In season 5, an assassin who is embittered by the overthrow of the Clark government at the end of Earth's Civil War, warns Sheridan that like Lincoln, he will pay the price for the death and destruction "his war" cost.
  • In a skit on the Sketch Comedy The Whitest Kids U Know, Lincoln is presented as having been very loud and obnoxious at Ford's Theatre. When John Wilkes Boothe asks him to be quiet, Abe begins mercilessly taunting him. Boothe finally snaps, and shoots Lincoln beats his ass with a hammer.
  • In Englishman it transpires that the Lincoln who was assassinated was a decoy, to cover up for the fact that he had been abducted by aliens. He makes his return and resumes his second term as President.
  • In one episode of Father Ted, Dougal, in a delusional state due to extreme hunger, sees Ted in a Lincoln costume.



Tabletop Games

  • Since the musical Assassins deals with presidential assassinations, Lincoln naturally makes an appearance.

Video Games
  • A giant statue of Abraham Lincoln, actually from the Memorial to said man, is the Antagonist in one of the Sam & Max: Freelance Police episodes. He appears later as merely a giant head and falls in love with one of Sam and Max's neighbours, Sybil Pandemik. They later marry and have a child. A running gag in the series is that he claims not to be one good for speeches; he had absolutely nothing prepared when he made the Gettysburg Address, and was just winging it at the time. At one point in the second season the real Lincoln appears as a zombie.
  • Civilization:
    • Lincoln is the leader of America in the first three games. He is added as a leader in an Expansion Pack for Civilization 4.
    • In the Beyond The Sword expansion pack to 4, the intro cinematic shows him briefly giving the Gettysburg Address. This then Match Cuts to the Lincoln Memorial, where Cold War-era spies are going about their business.
  • One of the subplots of Fallout 3 is the struggle between slavers and freedmen to control Lincoln's legacy. Several of his artifacts, including his hat and rifle, can be found and equipped in the game.
  • In Team Fortress 2, he was the original Pyro.
  • According to the backstory of Assassin's Creed, Booth was killed off by the Assassin Order, implying that Lincoln may have affiliations with the Assassins himself.
  • Dealt in Lead takes place in a very strange world, where the Lich-Emperor Abraham Lincoln has risen from the dead to continue the war against the south.
  • The ending of Conduit 2 has Abe Lincoln and George Washington in Powered Armor showing up as reinforcements for the protagonist.
  • In Bioshock Infinite, Abraham Lincoln is demonized by the citizens of Columbia for the Emancipation Proclamation while Booth is revered as a hero for assassinating him by the Order of the Raven, a Klan-like society. In turn the opposing faction, the Vox Populi, revere Lincoln, albeit for the wrong reasons, such as seeing him as a role model for glorifying violence and conflict.
  • Codename STEAM is a Steampunk strategy game featuring a group of heroes who are banded together by Lincoln.


Web Original
  • In Decades of Darkness, Lincoln's family moved from Kentucky to New England soon after his birth, and he eventually becomes President of the Republic of New England, though the fact he is limited to a single four-year term means he doesn't achieve all he wanted in office. In an Allohistorical Allusion, while he is in power, the rump United States is governed by President Jefferson Davis, and the two men are rivals. However, when Davis is assassinated, Lincoln attends his funeral.
  • He goes up against Chuck Norris in the Epic Rap Battles of History.
    • He makes a return during the Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama battle, and schools them both. "OF THE PEOPLE! BY THE PEOPLE! FOR THE PEOPLE! EAGLE!"
  • Lincoln's profile makes a brief appearance in the Homestar Runner dance mix Come On Fhqwhgads.

Western Animation
  • A clone of Abraham Lincoln is the main protagonist of Clone High. Due to the circumstances of the series, he's best friends with Gandhi and Joan of Arc and dates Cleopatra.
  • He has a lightsaber duel with George W. Bush in Robot Chicken. He's also voiced by Hulk Hogan.
  • Futurama, in a robot mental hospital:
    (Fry and another robot come upon a robotic Abraham Lincoln.)
    Fry: Lemme guess. He thinks he's Lincoln.
    Robot: Well he's supposed to. The problem is he's got multiple personalities, all of them Lincoln.
    Robo-Lincoln: I was born in 200 log cabins.
    • Not to mention Evil Holographic Lincoln, as seen when the Holoshed on the Nimbus goes on the fritz again.
    • Also, his head in a jar (and George Washington's) appear in a President's Day commercial for Malfunctioning Eddie's Used Cars.
  • He is still the President in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.
  • One episode of Dexter's Laboratory has Dexter animate Lincoln's head from the Mount Rushmore memorial into a Humongous Golem, to do battle with the giant George Washington his rival Mandark created. To make a long story short...
    Statue Lincoln: (speaking for the first time) "It appears we are evenly matched."
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: "No one can stop Time Lincoln. No one ever-"
  • Appears in the Time Squad episode where he got fed up for being so honest and starts joining prankster gangs while calling himself 'Dishonest Abe'. He got better.
    • Also mentioned in the Buffalo Bill episode as having apparently won the election by using the third eye he apparently hid under his hat to hypnotize his opponent.
  • South Park. Cult leader David Blaine brought the Lincoln statue to life. Jesus and friends defeated it by building and animating a John Wilkes Boothe statue.
    • In "The List" Kyle is supposedly voted the ugliest boy in class by the girls, and Craig (voted the handsomest) consoles him that Abraham Lincoln was ugly too. Later Abe's ghost appears to Kyle and tries to convince him that ugliness will make him a more competent adult, but fails.
  • Family Guy. There was this Biblical joke about "Abraham (Lincoln) killing Isaac (the bartender from The Love Boat)."
    • Another episode showed that Booth killed him for talking on his cellphone during the play.
    • A parody of Mentos ads involved Booth shooting through his hat. Cut to the Griffins watching it, and most of them question whether the ad even had a message. Peter then stands up, and walks off while saying (as if hypnotized), "Must... kill... Lincoln...."
    • In the episode "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater", Peter finds a bunch of photos that show Lincoln, (among with other 19th century politicans) visiting a brothel.
  • In the Adventure Time pilot, Abraham Lincoln transports Finn/Pen's mind back in time. And to Mars.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The Halloween Episode "How To Succeed In Dead-vertising" implied he was gay.
    • "Bart to the Future" is based around a vision Bart has where, thirty years down the road, Lisa is president. Living with her in the White House, Homer becomes obsessed with finding the treasure Lincoln supposedly buried on the grounds.
    • In "Mountain of Madness", Homer and Mr. Burns are trapped in a snowed-in cabin, succumbing to Cabin Fever. Before fighting, Homer asks "You and what army?", before imagining an army of snowmen behind Burns, prompting him to say "Stay back, I have powers! Uh, political powers!", imagining various political leaders including Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi behind him.
    Lincoln: (swinging a chain) IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT'S SHOWTIME!
  • Lincoln appeared in a picture in every single ending credits for Aqua Teen Hunger Force, inexplicably lighting a wooden rocket that the protagonists are riding in. This is expanded in the fictitious backstory that Shake provided for the group in The Movie, where this incarnation of Lincoln is known as "Time Lincoln," who aided the heroes after they escaped from Egypt.
  • The Venture Bros. meet Lincoln's ghost, who then helps them thwart a Manchurian Candidate-style assassination plot against the current president.
  • Appeared in an episode of Animaniacs where, after he signed their autograph book, the Warner siblings helped him to compose the Gettysburg Address. For bonus points, he sounds exactly the same here as he did in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.
  • The Cold Opening of the Series Finale of Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Batman and a parallel universe's Lincoln teaming up to defeat a steampunk cyborg John Wilkes Booth.
  • In A Brief History of the United States of America by Flickerlab's Harold Moss, when the Union wins the Civil War, the freed slaves give Lincoln a blanket toss in celebration.
  • Stalemated George Washington on Celebrity Deathmatch.
  • Earthworm Jim once got a talking sword that had the power of Time Travel. The sword ordered Jim to test it by going back into Lincoln's time and shave his beard. The sword believed the only change it'd cause would be the beard disappearing from the coins bearing Lincoln's face. Instead, it destroyed Lincoln's credibility and created a timeline where the Confederacy won. The sword angrily told Jim to get back and restore Lincoln's beard.
  • In one episode of Pinky and the Brain, the Brain, knowing that Americans crave an honest politician, devises a scheme that involves using a mechanism to speak through the Lincoln Memorial and convince everyone that Lincoln's spirit has returned and is living inside it. His plan works until the oldest living American, who heard Lincoln make a speech when he was five years old, hears the Brain talk, and realizes that it isn't Lincoln's voice. (The man claims that "the real Lincoln had a raspy voice... well, more like Tony Danza".)

Friedrich NietzscheAuthors Of QuoteRalph Waldo Emerson
James BuchananThe PresidentsAndrew Johnson

alternative title(s): Abraham Lincoln
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