Abraham Lincoln

Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s men drew Union fire in an attempt to destroy a Potomac River dam.

Frozen in Place: December 1861

President Lincoln addresses the State of the Union and grows impatient with General McClellan

George McClellan, with Abraham Lincoln at Antietam in 1862, took command of the Union armies but let the president wait.

November 1861: Flare Ups in the Chain of Command

As Union generals came and left, personalities clashed and Southern farmers set fire to their fields

No recordings of Abraham Lincoln's voice exist since he died 12 years before Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, the first device to record and play back sound. Shown here is Lincoln delivering his famous Gettysburg Address in 1863.

Ask an Expert: What Did Abraham Lincoln’s Voice Sound Like?

Civil War scholar Harold Holzer helps to decode what spectators heard when the 16th president spoke

On April 27, 1865—12 days after he shot Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.—Booth was shot in a Virginia barn. He died from his wound that day.

Documenting the Death of an Assassin

In 1865, a single photograph was taken during the autopsy of John Wilkes Booth. Where is it now?

When President Abraham Lincoln learned that Union Army Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth had been killed, the president exclaimed, "My boy! My boy! Was it necessary this sacrifice should be made?"

The Death of Colonel Ellsworth

The first Union officer killed in the Civil War was a friend of President Lincoln's

Lincoln's Whistle-Stop Trip to Washington

On the way to his inauguration, President-elect Lincoln met many of his supporters and narrowly avoided an assassination attempt

A rail fragment, believed to have been hewn by Abraham Lincoln is an early example of "political theater."

The Legend of Lincoln's Fence Rail

Even Honest Abe needed a symbol to sum up his humble origins

According to historian Adam Goodheart, the media played an important role in driving the country toward secession. When people in the South spoke, people in the North heard it and vice versa.

From Election to Sumter: How the Union Fell Apart

Historian Adam Goodheart discusses the tumultuous period between Lincoln’s election and the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter

John Wilkes Booth leans forward to shoot President Abraham Lincoln as he watches a play at Ford's Theatre in 1865.

Lincoln's Missing Bodyguard

What happened to Officer John Parker, the man who chose the wrong night to leave his post at Ford's Theatre?

Abraham Lincoln ca. 1846, photographed in Springfield Illinois by N.H. Shepherd

Abraham Lincoln, True Crime Writer

While practicing law in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln defended a man in a highly unusual case and later recounted the mystery as a short story

Bill T. Jones has become famous for creating a modern dance aesthetic that addresses major moral and social questions.

Dancing Around Abraham Lincoln

Bill T. Jones, one of America’s foremost living choreographers, tackles Lincoln’s complicated legacy in his newest work

Lincoln's watch is a fine gold timepiece that the 16th president purchased in the 1850s from a Springfield, Illinois jeweler. It has been in the safe custody of the Smithsonian Institution since 1958—a gift from Lincoln's great-grandson Lincoln Isham.

Lincoln's Pocket Watch Reveals Long-Hidden Message

The Smithsonian opens one of its prized artifacts and a story unfolds

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Secret Message Found in Lincoln's Watch

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And the Winner of our Lincoln Caption Contest Is!

The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Lincoln's Contested Legacy

Great Emancipator or unreconstructed racist? Each generation evokes a different Lincoln. But who was our sixteenth president?

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin helped shape the modern world.

How Lincoln and Darwin Shaped the Modern World

Born on the same day, Lincoln and Darwin would forever influence how people think about the modern world

Philip B. Kunhardt III, author of Lincoln's Contested Legacy.

Philip Kunhardt on “Lincoln’s Contested Legacy”

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin are two of the greatest modern thinkers in history.  What did they think of each other?

Darwin on Lincoln and Vice Versa

Two of the world’s greatest modern thinkers are much celebrated, but what did they know of one another?

President Abraham Lincoln, with officers in 1862, rarely dictated battlefield tactics.

Lincoln as Commander in Chief

A self-taught strategist with no combat experience, Abraham Lincoln saw the path to victory more clearly than his generals

James McPherson is a professor emeritus of American history at Princeton University and author of Commander in Chief, which appears in the January 2009 issue of Smithsonian magazine.

James M. McPherson on "Lincoln as Commander in Chief"

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