Abraham Lincoln

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


Secret Message Found in Lincoln's Watch


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"

The only known image of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg was uncovered in 1952 at the National Archives.  It was taken by photographer Mathew Brady.

Gettysburg Address Displayed at Smithsonian

Lincoln's timeless speech during the Civil War endures as a national treasure

During the campaign, Lincoln confided he would have preferred a full term in the Senate "where there was more chance to make a reputation and less danger of losing it."

Election Day 1860

As soon as the returns were in, the burdens of the presidency weighed upon Abraham Lincoln

An undated rendering of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Ted Sorensen on Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Words

Kennedy advisor Ted Sorensen found that of all the U.S. presidents, Lincoln had the best speechwriter—himself

Douglas expected to crush his untried opponent in the enormously crowd-pleasing debates

How Lincoln Bested Douglas in Their Famous Debates

The 1858 debates reframed America's argument about slavery and transformed Lincoln into a presidential contender

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated in seven different locations in Illinois.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Negotiations

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas engaged in pre-debate negotiations in 1858

Lincoln’s original patent model was acquired by the Smithsonian in 1908. This replica was built by the Smithsonian in 1978 for long-term display to preserve the fragile original.

Abraham Lincoln Is the Only President Ever to Have a Patent

In 1849, a future president patented an amazing addition to transportation technology

First reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln.

"My Whole Soul Is In It"

As his army faltered and his cabinet bickered, Lincoln determined that "we must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued." In 1862, he got his chance


Mr. Lincoln's Washington

The house where the conspirators hatched their heinous plot now serves sushi, and the yard where they were hanged is a tennis court

President Abraham Lincoln delivering his second inauguration speech.

Absence of Malice

In a new book, Historian Ronald C. White, Jr., explains why Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, given just weeks before he died, was his greatest speech

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